Daddy, be my valentine! Valentine ideas for dads

Kids love receiving valentines, even from their parents. Expressing love might not come as easily for fathers, but they have a unique opportunity to make daughters feel special on Valentine's Day. Here's a little help getting started.

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  • When I was about 8 years old, my dad made each of his four daughters a simple handmade valentine and bought each of us a carnation. He may have used construction paper and markers for the valentines and chosen the least expensive flower from the store, but my eyes widened when I saw that flower just for me. I put it in a special spot on my dresser and I kept the small note for years.

  • Valentine’s Day isn’t just for adults. Kids enjoy celebrating too, and they are naturally good at expressing feelings of love. Expressing love might not come as easily for fathers, but they have a unique opportunity to make daughters feel special on Valentine’s Day. Here’s a little help getting started.

  • Dads, first, think about your daughter. What does she enjoy? How does she feel loved? Does she like thoughtful gifts, kind notes or one-on-one time with you? Tailoring your valentine to your daughter’s personality will make it extra special.

  • A daddy-daughter date around Valentine’s Day is one idea. The date could be something very simple and inexpensive, like enjoying a bowl of popcorn and playing a game together. You could be more elaborate as well, taking your daughter to dinner at a restaurant and presenting her with flowers. Time alone together offers an opportunity for discussion, so plan ahead what you might want to talk about.

  • Give your daughter a playful “heart attack” by placing hearts on her bedroom door. Write on each heart reasons you love your daughter or good qualities she possesses. If you want to draw out the fun, put one heart on her door each day for several days leading up to Valentine’s Day, and add a special treat on the 14th when you place the final heart.

  • Make a homemade valentine for your daughter. Chances are, she’s a pro at crafting up a card. Surprise her by making one just for her. Sites like Pinterest have endless fun ideas if you aren’t sure where to start. My husband likes to write funny jokes or puns and then draw little cartoons, even though he’s not a great artist.

  • Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without chocolate. If your daughter likes sweets, find her a unique one at a local chocolate shop, or make something yourself. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, homemade truffles, and frosted sugar cookies are relatively easy to make. If you need an assistant, have your daughter help. The two of you will enjoy the time together, and you can share your treats with the rest of the family.

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  • If gift-giving makes your daughter feel loved, you could get her a small piece of jewelry, flowers, a book or journal, or something else that fits her personality. If there is meaning behind the gift, explain it to her. Engraving a gift or writing in the front of a book will make it a treasured keepsake.

  • Feeling really creative? Put together a treasure hunt of heart-shaped clues that lead to a special gift, or right to you. Small notes hidden throughout your daughter’s room, or places she will be during the day, would also work.

  • It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort or expense to show love on Valentine’s Day. Your daughter will enjoy any valentine because it is from you, a person she cares about. Surprise your daughter this year with something just for her and the love will last well beyond February 14th.

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Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.

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