How long has it been since you’ve sat down and told your family members what is so special about them to you and why you love them so much? I know we don’t do it enough. That’s why I love this Valentine’s Game. It allows us to stop and think about all the wonderful things that we find special about each other.
This game came into our lives a few years ago. I was reading an article discussing the role of praise in children’s art. “Great job!” or “That’s the best piece of art work ever!” were considered bad statements because they were judgmental, person-oriented, discouraging and unhelpful in every way. The process-oriented praise was not only more meaningful, but also inspiring, “I love how you used color blue in your painting.” Or “This is an interesting composition. Tell me more about it.” But isn’t it the same with “I love you” I thought. I remember thinking as a child that “I love you” were three meaningless, little words that stood for nothing and were uttered by people who felt guilty about wronging you in some way. What do we really mean by “I love you” when we say it from the bottom of our hearts? Probably, “I love you for being here because without you a piece would be missing in my heart.” “I love you for you because there has never been and there will never be another person like you and I’m so lucky to have you in my life.” “I love you for your smiles. When I see you smile, I can’t help smiling too.” “I love you for your stories because I have never looked at the world that way before.” “I love you for every day spend with you is a day worth living for.” Not finishing the sentence after “I love you” but really building up on it provides depth and extra layer of meaning.
We have been playing this game on Valentine’s game for a few years now and it became a dear family tradition. In fact every year when I put together yearly Shutterfly book and ask kids what family activity they enjoyed most this year, they always say Valentine’s Game. (I swear we do lots of other fun things together as well). If you want to add an element of “meaningful” to your relationship with family members, give it a try this year. You have plenty of time before Valentine’s Day to put it together!
Valentine’s Game – I Love You For …
What to do
For a few weeks preceding the Valentine’s Day all family members need to write down (and the kids who can’t write can dictate to you) a couple of notes to each other family member. Each note usually starts with “I love you for…,” but it’s totally fine when kids write things like, “I love you because you read so many books to me.”
Notes don’t specify who it is addressed to! Or who wrote it! The fun comes from guessing who wrote the note and to whom it is addressed. Our animals are included in the game. That’s how I end up reading notes like, “I love you for sniffing my butt.” Who can it be address to? Hmm.. Dog, of course! And “I love you for licking my sandwich.” Cat! You still need to guess who wrote it. (I can guess by handwriting, but I never tell).
Don’t forget a cute container to display in a prominent place for a few weeks prior to the holiday. Next to it place some colorful post its/ note book and pencils/pens. If the kids love it, they will use it. Last year we used Valentine’s Day truck (a paper craft from Oriental Trading Company).
This year I was cleaning up my Scrapbook closet and came upon a stack of Valentine’s Day backgrounds. We decorated two containers: one for the kitchen and one for the bedroom floor.
As you can imagine, little kids enjoy putting the notes in and taking them out.
When to play
We save the game all the way till after the Valentine’s Day dinner. Then we read each message in turn, guessing who it was about and who wrote it. (laughing like crazy). And laughing together is always a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!