I’ve frequently written about the importance of not spoiling kids and not going overboard when it comes to their birthdays or Christmas. I don’t believe that buying things shows your kids you love them, and I’m assuming many of you reading this agree.
That said, with Valentine’s Day coming up around the corner along with its $19 billion in spending, I was thinking of several ways I could show my children some extra love without going overboard or spending too much money. Here are some ideas:
1. Make Their Room a Party
Many people have leftover parties supplies in their house whether it’s streamers, a bag of balloons or tissue paper. Before your kids come home from school or if you’re quiet enough to decorate their room without them waking up, put some balloons on their bed, hang streamers and toss around some tissue paper.
The point is to do something surprising and silly, something you usually don’t do. Kids love balloons and parties, so if they go in their room to see you totally decorated it, they’ll absolutely love it.
2. Play With Them Outside
I love sitting down on the back steps of my house and watching my kids play outside. It’s an easy way to keep them physically active without paying to enroll them in extracurricular activities. I usually check my phone and hop up when one of them has started running towards our driveway. However, in order to show my kids how much I love them, I want to play, actually play, with them when they go outside.
Whether that’s squeezing myself into their play house or chasing them down the slide at the playground, I know that if I put in a little bit extra effort, they’ll feel the love.
3. Make Them Their Favorite Snack or Meal
There is one dinner my husband makes me that is my absolute favorite. It takes a long time to make so I usually only get it on special occasions, but I’ve come to realize, food is a really amazing way to show people you love them. If your kids are old enough to ask for a specific recipe or a certain kind of cookie, make it for them “just because.”
They’ll love coming home from school to see their favorite snack or waking up on a Sunday morning to smell cookies (that you let them have for breakfast.) Occasionally, I think you can show your kids you love them by letting them break the rules and eat chocolate when it’s not time for dessert.
4. Read to Them
Reading is a gift, and although I let my kids watch Frozen, all the time (John warned me this would happen,) I do love to read to them each and every day. My son especially loves books and will constantly bring them to me to read.
Sometimes it gets a little irritating when he flips the book back to the front and wants me to read him the same book over and over and over again but in the spirit of love, I’ll strive to read it as many times as he likes.
5. Make Believe
We all have a million things on our plate. There is work to be done, dishes to wash and clothes to fold. So, I’m sure we’re all not jumping at the chance to have a tea party or be superheroes. But, one great and totally free way to show your kids you love them is to play make believe with them.
Let go, put aside your work (which is extremely tough to do when you work from home) and be silly. Forget about the dishes and bust out your imaginary lightsaber instead.
6. Speak Kindly of Others
Even though my kids are barely talking past saying “DaDa!” constantly (and ignoring the fact that it was I who gave them birth), I still think it’s important to speak kindly about others when I’m around them. If my kids grow up hearing me talking about someone’s weight or other personal characteristics, it might make them self-conscious about their own appearance and that’s not a good way for me to show them I love them.
7. Just Say It
The easiest way to show your kids you love them is, of course, simply to say it. Tell them you love them. Give them a hug. Kiss them and hold them and cuddle them. I grew up in a family that was not affectionate at all, and while I know my parents love me, I know I already shower my kids with so many more hugs and kisses than there were in my home.
Everyone has a different style but I know my daughter, who is very affectionate like I am, really feels my love most when I’m paying attention to her and holding her. It doesn’t cost me anything and its amazing how much good it can do in my life even though it’s 100% free.
What are some other great ways to show someone you love them without spending a dime? What do you do for Valentine’s Day for your kids that doesn’t cost a fortune? What is one of your kids’ favorite make believe games to play?