© Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime.com
Small acts of kindness can demonstrate how much we care for each other. Try these during the month of February, or better, practice cheer every day of the year.
Celebrate the day. Nothing says “I love you” better than spending quality time together. Turn off the phone, forget the email, ignore the chores. Instead, get family together and create a list of activities you can enjoy together. This one simple act will strengthen family bonds more than any gift.
Serve breakfast in bed. Create heart-shaped pancakes with cookie cutters, and serve with eggs and sausage. Use special toppings, like whipped cream, syrup, or strawberries. Children capable of pouring a bowl of cereal can give parents breakfast in bed, too. Keep it simple — use paper plates/bowls, disposable cups, and plasticware to reduce cleanup. Once the meal is ready, climb in bed together and munch away as you make plans for the special day.
Write a love letter. Handmade cards, poems, and love letters never go out of style. Gather leftover tissue paper, magazines, stickers, found items such as twigs, acorns, dried flowers, glue, glitter, markers and crayons. Create cards with love notes inside telling why the recipient is so special. Decorate discarded boxes with the above materials ahead of time to make Valentine’s card mailboxes. After breakfast, open the boxes and share all the special ways everyone is loved.
Be generous with hugs and kisses. After breakfast, play a game of Hugs and Kisses: blindfold a family member and spin him around several times. Everyone else moves around the room saying “I love you” while avoiding capture. Once caught, the hostage is covered with hugs and kisses before taking a turn wearing the blindfold. Continue the game until all members have been smothered in love.
X marks the spot. No one is ever too old for a treasure hunt. The night before, give everyone a small bag with goodies to hide for each family member, such as candy, stickers, unique pens or pencils — whatever your family finds fun. Leave four or five clues for each goodie leading to the hiding place. Whoever finds all of his/her treasures first, picks the next fun thing to do.
Get your game on. Playing games that involve the entire family, such as Twister, Monopoly, or charades, builds family bonds. Include games younger members enjoy as well, such as Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, or Hungry Hippo.
Pack a picnic. You needn’t leave the house. Make grilled cheese sandwiches, grab a bag of chips or veggies and dip, and throw a blanket on the floor. Don’t turn on the TV. Instead, talk and catch up on all that’s been going on with each other.
Stroll down memory lane. After your picnic, cuddle together and flip through the family photo album. Tell stories about how you and your spouse met, reminisce about the births of each child, revisit family vacations, and remind one another why your family is so special. Have the kids tell stories of their favorite family memories, as well. Make sure to take pictures of your day together and include them in next year’s story time.
Do chores for someone else. To keep the warm fuzzies going throughout the week, make a family pact. Everyone offers to do one or more chores (without complaining) for another member for the entire week. To make it simple, make a list of chores that each member is responsible for and cut into strips. Place in a bowl and have each person pick one or more.
Make it a movie night. To wind down your love-filled day, select a family favorite, make popcorn or cocoa, and curl up under a comfy blanket or two, all the while tucking memories from the day deep into your heart.