How about no? Valentine’s day and kids

Prompt: How to make Valentine’s Day fun/meaningful for kids.

Don’t.

Kids don’t care about Valentine’s day. And that’s the way it should be.

I always find it kinda creepy when kids are pushed to do “romantic” stuff, like those You’ve Been Framed clips where tots have clearly been told to kiss.

Romantic love is something that comes later. Kids’ idea of romance is based on movies and stories, and rather superficial. They don’t care that Snow White and the Prince barely know each other, or see that as a problem for them getting hitched.

Some kids have boyfriends and girlfriends but these aren’t like proper relationships, they’re just a name they give to a male or female friend. I remember a mate of mine in primary being the boyfriend of a girl in our class. He seemed confused by this development and all it involved was them holding hands briefly at break.

My little sister had a couple of these, although her allegiances were fickle. A Valentine’s card from one boy earned him the boyfriend tag, but he was dropped when another boy, who’d been ill on V-day, presented her with chocolates. You can pull that at 7, but in a real relationship? No dice.

Valentine’s Day in primary is weird. I get that for teachers its an easy way to pass the time, getting the kids to make cards or whatever, and there are probably morons parents who think it’s cute for Junior to give a card to a girl in his class.

The problem is that kids might be upset when they don’t get a card and others do, which may happen when they’re older in secondary, but you’re slightly better prepared then. As a kid that rejection would sting.

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The alternative is that everyone gives everyone else a card, but this is bollocks too. For one, it devalues the whole exercise, and it also could make some kids think more is going on than there is, like when Ralph got a card from Lisa.

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The main reason this “cards for all” idea fails is because Valentine’s Day teaches us about rejection and that’s important, if painful. It ain’t always gonna be sunshine and rainbows, and you need to know that.

Cue the violins.

I didn’t get a Valentine’s until I was 22. Twenty two!!!

Did I enjoy going through my teens without getting any? No. Did it destroy me? No, it just taught me that you’re not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Sometimes you won’t be anyone’s, but when you finally are it feels all the better.

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How I felt during my teens

Don’t try to make Valentine’s fun or meaningful to kids because it’s not meaningful and it won’t always be fun. You hear parents whinging about kids growing up too fast, but then they push Valentine’s Day on them.

Maybe it’s the parents who need to have it made meaningful for them? So that they understand it’s about longing and romantic love. About exchanging tokens of affection or confessing your love.

That has nothing to with kids. Well, I guess it leads to making kids, but that’s it.

Let kids enjoy the time before crushes, rejection, awkward first dates and all that jazz. That time will come, there’s no need to bring it forward.

Oh, and parents who get their own kids cards? I find that weird as all hell too.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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