Valentine’s Day & Older Kids

My kids are ages 13, 11, 9 and 4. So I have an almost freshman, an almost middle schooler, a 4th grader and a not yet in Preschool 4 year old. I have noticed a big shift in how the older two feel about certain holidays, including Valentine’s Day. They don’t seem to want to do much regarding Valentine’s Day. I am not sure if that is just because they are older, or if there’s a little bit of “I don’t want to seem like a little kid or uncool.” Kids are funny and their ideas and opinions change regularly and are greatly influenced by friends and their school.

While I have two kids that don’t seem to care about Valentine’s Day, I still have two younger ones that still get excited for all the holidays. This makes celebrating and doing Valentine’s Day activities a slippery slope in my house. I do not want to ostracize the older ones if I plan out some activities for the younger kids, but at the same time, I still need to plan something for the younger ones to do.

This year, I decided to make cupcakes – totally boxed, prepackaged icing and sprinkles! I am an avid cook, but have never been a very talented baker. I can bake breads and muffins, but cupcakes, cakes, and cookies from scratch tend to get the best of me. I have no shame in saying I used the prepackaged icing and boxed cupcake mixes. We still had a blast and it took a fraction of the time. I thought baking cupcakes that everyone would be more than happy to eat was a great way to tie some Valentine’s Day into our household. I just made vanilla cupcakes and then used pink and white icing with red, pink and purple sprinkles and decorative sugars for toppings. I am pleased to say that everyone helped make and decorate them and they definitely all helped to eat them! This week, I will make some cookies for them to decorate as we get closer to Valentine’s Day.

Since my husband and I have 4 kids and we don’t really like leaving them with a sitter to go eat a Valentine’s Day dinner, we tend to make a special dinner at home versus going out. This year I am planning on grilling (or broiling if the weather is bad) some steaks and then cooking some lobster tails in a lemon and butter sauce in the oven, Our local supermarket always runs a special on lobster tails around Valentine’s Day, and I can get them for $4-$5 each. I will probably make some asparagus. I will buy some sparkling juice for the kids to make it a little more special than just an average dinner for them. It is nice to have a dinner that is a little bit classier then our average fare and is another way to get some Valentine’s Day festivities in. Everyone will be more than happy to dig in to their Valentine’s Day dinner!

As my kids have gotten older, they have really grown out of the majority of things we would do for Valentine’s Day. My little one is 4, and she isn’t in preschool yet, so she doesn’t have a school party. The older ones aren’t having any kind of Valentine’s Day parties in their classes. My 4th grader brought a note home on Monday saying that they could exchange valentines with the class if they wanted – but it is totally optional. In recent years, the schools have become pretty strict on what is allowed to be brought in with the valentines. They do not allow any kind of food or candy, which as a mom of a child with wide ranging food allergies, is much appreciated. So this year, I will let her pick out her valentines and most likely some pencils or stickers and take those into school. I will also buy the kids a small gift, maybe a stuffed animal, some candy etc. Nothing to extravagant, just a little gift to brighten their day. It has really hit me this year how things have changed as they’ve grown up, and how what was once a highlight of February for them, has now become just another day.