St. Valentine’s Day

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*download FREE Golden Days at Home Valentines below

St. Valentine’s Day will soon be here. Your child may be seeing and hearing signs of this sweet, pink and red-bedecked holiday and pose the question, “What is Valentine’s Day?” The best way to teach your child the meaning of Valentine’s Day is to emphasize the meaning of love.

The origins and traditions of the day are unclear and include both Christian and pagan traditions. Saint Valentine was a 3rd-century clergyman who ministered to persecuted Christians. He was eventually martyred and his body buried on February 14th. The pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture, took place in the middle of the month at the ides of February. It included the pairing of bachelors and maidens for the year, often ending in the couple’s marriage.

Today, St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in only a few countries including the U.S., Australia, France, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. While living in Australia, I also learned the Aussies treat the holiday more as a couple’s celebration. They do not include festivities at school nor in the community.

In the U.S., Valentine’s Day is a fun and simple holiday for adults as well as children. Teach the meaning of the holiday by keeping love as the common thread. This concept is easy for children to understand and gives them the opportunity to participate.

To encourage your child to take part in the celebration of Valentine’s Day, take a few minutes to sit down together and chat. Encourage your child to think of, then name, those he loves or is grateful for. This list could include friends, a pet, grandpa or teacher.

Acknowledge the fact that we like to make those we love happy. Encourage him to think of a way to let those on his list know they are special to him. There are many ways to celebrate and express love. Ideas include making a card, baking cookies, collecting flowers or simply telling them. A simple act helps your child learn to enjoy making other people happy and encourages giving without expecting anything in return.

It takes on deeper meaning when a child is involved in a project. After he has chosen how to let those he loves know, let him take the lead in preparing the gift. Lend a hand only when needed. This independence will help your child personally experience the true meaning of St. Valentine’s Day.

I remember a time when my preschooler had a crush on a girl in his class and he told me he wanted to give her something. I suggested he go outside and gather a few flowers and pretty things from the garden. He trundled off and came back with a small collection of grasses, a couple of wild flowers and a few twigs clutched in his hand. I tied them together with a ribbon and we set it in a glass of water to give to her the next school day. Supporting his heartfelt request, luckily I took the time to listen, gave him an opportunity to experience the true joy of giving.

When your child’s gift is ready, let him deliver it to the recipient. This enables him to experience the reaction of the receiver. Be an example yourself by letting him see the smile it brings to your face.

Take the opportunity this St. Valentine’s Day to teach your child the meaning of love. It will encourage his natural desire to make those he loves happy. You will not only help your child learn to bring happiness to others, he will also realize he has the power to do so with simple tokens of affection from the heart.

Make the most of these precious, golden days with your preschooler. Teach your little one at home supported by our Golden Days at Home February Lesson Plan bundle. You are your child’s greatest teacher.

Childhood Gem written in black on a white background with a gold star to the left


Materials: white card stock, scissors, red and/or pink ink pad

  1. download and color print valentines onto card stock
  2. use scissors to cut out valentines just outside red border
  3. child presses fingertip onto ink pad then onto valentine, print fingertip again and again to fill in heart
  4. deliver heart-touching valentines, with love
Janet Nicole Meyer

Janet Nicole Meyer

The founder and author of Golden Days at Home preschool curriculum savors all opportunities to play and travel with her now grown children. She and her husband hike, bike and enjoy living on a stream in Boulder, Colorado with their elderly English Mastiff, Roxy.

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