What Valentine's Day traditions can single parents establish? #I've got a parenting question!#holidays#single parents February 7 2012 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. Photo by Matija Grguric, used under Creative Commons license. I'm a new mom — and newly single. This will be my first Valentine's Day with my eleven-month-old son — who I adore and love with all my heart. Since I'm planning for it to be just the two of us for a while, I want to do something fun and special. I thought it would be cool to start a mother-and-son tradition of some sort for the holiday, but I'm stumped. I'm trying to think of something that would be fun for him at this age… and something we can continue to do as he gets older. Any suggestions? — Cara What do you do with your kids on Valentine's Day? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS 3 quickie ideas for unconventional room dividers NEXT 3 things I wish I'd done differently when I was pregnant Show/Hide comments [ 25 ] I'm married so we do the dinner thing, but I think it's also an important time to reach out to friends or family who might feel isolated and let them know they are loved. You could make little cards together to tell them that they are loved. Maybe when your son is older you can together donate your time at an animal shelter because animals need love, or work a soup kitchen, make cards for people in hospitals, send cards to the troops because many of them get NO mail… Basically show your love to the people you know and then share it 😀 3 agree Reply My toddler and I are making little valentines for all her friends and we are going to go pass them out. Also making special breakfast and sushi, which we both love. I would say do something you love to do, like date night with your little man. 1 agrees Reply I'm a single mom and I always make Valentines with my boys for Valentines day to give out to eachother and other people we love. We also sometimes bake cookies to celebrate holidays. You could make it a tradition to volunteer somewhere or make care packages for people to share love with those who need it. 2 agree Reply We always do a Valentine's breakfast! We make pink or red pancakes with whipped cream and Valentine's sprinkles. If I'm feeling festive (and have planned ahead!) I put down a red tablecloth and sprinkle it with Valentine's confetti. 1 agrees Reply My (single) mom always did this with me! When she was working sometimes it was an afternoon or dinnertime brunch, but we always had waffles and red fruit and flowers, and I loved it. Sometimes we gave each other gifts or made cards for people, but the festive, decorated meal was a constant. It was one of the few mother-daughter traditions that survived through highschool. 1 agrees Reply As a single mom, I always took my son on an age appropriate date – to a museum or park with a picnick, or one year we went to a movie. I also tried to make the holiday about platonic love, or love for family, rather than romantic love. With an 11 month old, maybe something as simple as a special picnick on your floor would be fun , and a tradition that could evolve as he grows. 3 agree Reply This is what I did with my son, I didn't always make it on the actual day but we always had some sort of fun date, as a bonus, he was learning how to treat his significant other someday. Now that I am married and he has a little sister too, I still do special days with just him, both kids and whole family, sometimes for a specific holiday but also just because. Reply Maybe take him to a children's museum? I know some of them have a water room that a little guy could splash in, but plenty of other exhibits for when he gets older. Depending on where you live, you could take him to a park which he should enjoy for a few years. It's hard to think of activities a person would enjoy from age 1-?? Reply I agree with all the previous posters who suggested that the two of you use V-day to "spread the love" making cards for loved ones, or volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen. What a beautiful idea! 3 agree Reply I always took my kiddo out for dinner and dessert, and did his valentines for school with him. We gorged on candy. I have never thought of the holiday as something for couples, and I've always hated the cheez factor, but enjoyed lavishing attention on my kid, as a break from the week, if nothing else! Just enjoy your time! Save the candy and baked goods for a couple more years tho 🙂 1 agrees Reply I was lucky enough to have married parents. (There were only 5 girls in my grade in elementary school) But every year my daddy bought me a card, and a Stuffy. Even when i was in college. He stopped when i got married but I have an awesome teddy bear collection. My mom always got me something to but it was usually a shirt or something to wear… I loved those cards and bears they are very special to me. 1 agrees Reply I would say dress in red or any other color you want to be for Valentine's day and watch a movie together. As he ages the movies you choose to watch can mature as well. 1 agrees Reply I loved cooking heart-shaped pizzas with my mother when I was a kid… 2 agree Reply I only have my son (5 years old) every other week, and will have him on Valentine's Day this year. The plan for us and my husband is to go to our favorite pizza place and have one of their special heart-shaped pizzas. 😀 1 agrees Reply When I was a child I remember waking up every Valentines day to a special treat on the kitchen table. Usually a handmade card with some special chocolates and candy hearts or something special from my Mom. I always looked forward to it and actually miss it now. 1 agrees Reply While I am married, my husband and I have decided that Valentine's Day is for our children. In the past, we have taken them on "dates" to the playground, the Children's Museum, movies, and the like. Since our oldest is just now started Kindergarten, we haven't felt the need to explain that Vday is a day where romantic love is embraced. Rather, we treat it like any other holiday,Easter, Halloween, Christmas — another extraordinary ordinary day where children are doted upon. 1 agrees Reply My mom used to get each of us (me and my sister) a rose, a small box of chocolates, and we'd dress up and go out to dinner some place fancy. If it was a tight year, she might skip the rose and just cook a fancy meal at home. It was never much but it created fond memories. Also, I appreciate that I don't have high expectations of the holiday now. It's so stressful! I never know what to get my husband. This year I'm just baking him cookies. I mean, it's never been a big deal holiday for me and it never fails to amaze me how big a deal it is for others. I used to be in the National Guard and people would really get bent out of shape if we had drill on Valentines Day. Big deal! No one cares if we have drill on St. Patricks Day or Halloween. What's the difference? Actually, I got bent out of shape if we had drill on Halloween. 🙂 3 agree Reply Second (or third or fifth or whatever!) on celebrating the day as one of family/platonic love. It's funny, I don't generally like Hallmark-y holidays, but I love Valentine's Day, though it doesn't take much to make it special. As a kid we always did awesome crafts (making valentines from those paper lace doilies) and making heart-shaped cookies and decorating them with icing. One of my students (high school) just told me that every year her dad gives her a rose. I think that is so sweet! By the way — anyone can make a heart-shaped cake with a square cake and a round cake, by cutting the circle cake in half and putting each half on two adjoining sides of the square! 1 agrees Reply My parents were married and so am I but I will share the tradition my dad started with us. He took my sister and I out on a date, separately. He opened doors, pulled out chairs, and even danced with us. Basically he taught us how a man should treat us, and it was great to get one on one time together. It was really special. Now that I'm married he doesn't do it with me but he still keeps up the tradition with my younger sister. Over all I learned how to be respected and loved. I'm sure you can do somethig similar that will let your son feel special and most importantly loved. 🙂 I'm sure if he is having fun and smiling that's all that will matter. 1 agrees Reply There was just a diy on making homemade crayons… I plan on making heart shaped crayons with all kinds of colors, and then drawing with them to make valentines to eachother—- also pre-cut shapes, etc to glue onto the paper, sparkles..anything like that put a tablecloth down so you dont muck up your table, and let him go to it for you, for gramma, or grandpa, or his daycare teacher— anyone he feels is special in his life! You make one for him, and always keep it, that way when he's older he can look back on them and remember how special of a craft day it was to you! P.S. I wish I lived in a place where I could take mine to the park in the middle of february….. 1 agrees Reply http://offbeatmama.com/2012/01/diy-crayons 🙂 1 agrees Reply I agree that making cards for loved ones would be a great tradition. My (single) mum used to play this game when I couldn't sleep where I'd try to name as many people as I could who l loved and who loved me. So every Valentines day we would send cards to those people. Even the year that Megamunch, the museum's animatronic dinosaur, was on that list! My mum also threw a Valentines party for me and my friends every year til I was about 13 (and Easter and Halloween…). These weren't expensive, we usually just had themed balloons and colour-coordinated candy, but the memory of my mum spending all of February 13th picking pink and red smarties out of the box still makes me smile! The first year I lived away from home when I was 18 my mum sent me a box of Valentines smarties and I bawled my eyes out! It was such a special moment! It wasn't until I was in high school that I realised Valentines was about something other than making your family and friends feel appreciated! 1 agrees Reply Thanks for all the lovely and thoughtful suggestions. I love the focus on platonic love and family love. I think we will bake cookies and have picnic in his room. I'm really looking forward to it!! It really helps to hear other stories of positive experiences of non-traditional V-day stuff. I never really got into the holiday anyway, but now that I have babe, I want to make every holiday special, at least a little bit. As he gets older we'll look into volunteering, too. What a great way to show that you love the world. Cara Marie. BTW, sorry for the belated response to your kind and thoughtful posts. Bad timing, I was out of the country for work (my first time away from my babe, what an emotional time!!) 1 agrees Reply I say go on a "date" together. Especially when your son is older, he can be the one to take you out to dinner or a movie. It can be a great way to teach him how to treat anyone he takes on a date. 1 agrees Reply My son is 8 now- his dad and I have been divorced since he was 5, and I've been single the whole time. So I address Valentine's Day this way. I teach him that its a day about loving others and being loved- not just in a romantic sense. So I take him to the store and he picks me out flowers, because that makes me feel loved, and I do something special for him that makes him feel loved (usually its playing some video game that I don't typically play with him while snuggling on the couch with a bag of goldfish crackers between us). We do random acts of kindness and little mystery gifts to friends and family to show our love for them. It helps me keep the focus off of the "single feeling", too! Added bonus! 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.