Non-custodial dads or dads who have partial custody can often feel left out of the day-to-day lives of their children, and it can be really hard to feel involved when special holidays-like Valentines Day- roll around. This holiday is especially tender, because it’s dedicated exclusively to showing love and being loved. Some grown-ups (and certainly a lot of singles) tend to brush this holiday aside, but not kids. So dads, be your kid’s #1 Valentine this year. Valentines Day is February 14, so here are 14 quick ideas we love.
And remember: Start planning EARLY. Whatever you do means more to your child if it’s obvious you put time, care, and thought into it.
1. Send a valentine a day
We’re talking a real valentine-not an email. There’s still something really special about getting something in a mailbox. Your child can keep them, too, and pull one out and read it anytime they need to feel special again.
2. Text them a reason you love them every day for a week
If your child has a cell phone, it takes very little effort and absolutely no money at all to send messages dedicated exclusively to telling them why they’re the center of your Dads Universe. Warning: These texts will lose their positive effect if you take the opportunity to nag them.
3. Surprise pizza delivery!
This one’s especially great for a teenager (boy or girl). At some time during Valentines week, personally deliver a couple of pizzas to them during their lunch period. You’ll be a hit both with your child and their friends. This is a good one whether you live nearby or far away. Check with the school first, of course.
4. Eat lunch together at school
Younger children love to show their dads off to their friends. If you live close by, surprise them by showing up to school for lunch on Valentines Day or sometime during that week. Be sure to clear it with the school first!
5. Do something ‘out of the ordinary’ together
If you go out to dinner once a week usually, then change it up a little for Valentines week. Go sledding if you live somewhere cold, or hiking if you live somewhere warm. Whatever it is, make it memorable. Make sure you invite your child at least a week ahead of time, so they know you’ve given this adventure some thought.
6. Give your child a heart attack
Cut out dozens of red construction paper Valentine hearts of all shapes and sizes and tape them all over their room while they’re away at school or at a friend’s house. Imagine their face when they come home to that!
7. Decorate their locker
This is a fun and easy one that’ll show your pre-teen or teen child (and their friends) how much Dad cares. It doesn’t have to be fancy: tie a couple of Valentine Mylar balloons to the handle, wrap it in Valentines Day wrap or cover it in red and white streamers.
8. Memory Jar
This is a great one for both boys and girls. Write as many specific memories with your child as you can onto small strips of paper. Put the papers in a mason jar and tie a red ribbon to it, if you want to. When you see your child around Valentines Day, read them aloud together: it will be a sweet experience for both of you-promise.
9. Make a video
Create a super-short video diary with your phone and talk about the day your child was born. Express how you felt, what you thought when you first saw them, and the hopes and dreams you had for them.
10. Go to the library
If you have a very small child, Valentines Day week is the perfect time to head to their local library. Many libraries offer free crafts for the holiday and parents are invited to play along. You can also take the opportunity to cuddle up and read some Valentine-themed books while you’re there.
11. Cook dinner together
If this isn’t already part of your visitation routine, why not try cooking together? Strap on some aprons and make homemade pizza together (let your child pick the toppings). A meal’s always more fun when it’s made togetherÃ¢â‚¬Â¦laughs are guaranteed, too!
12. Use conversation hearts to make homemade valentines
Make silly sentences using candy conversation hearts. Turn them into valentines for friends and family by pasting them with glue or rubber cement to plain index cards. This is a fun, creative and affordable little craft that doesn’t take much advance planning.
13. Do something kind for someone in need
Teach your child by example that lifting the hearts of others is a great way to celebrate Valentines Day. Together, deliver a meal to an older shut-in or be someone’s ‘Secret Valentine:’ Secretly deliver little gifts or a card to someone who’s alone.
14. Help your child do something nice for Mom
Even if your relationship with your child’s mother isn’t a particularly friendly one, remember that she is everything to your child. So put your own feelings aside and help them do something really nice for her Valentines Day. Showing their mother respect demonstrates strength of character to your child and they’ll remember this kindness and selflessness more than any other gift you give them.
Do you have other great ideas? Share in the comments!
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center.