While the rest of the world is getting loved-up in French restaurants and plush hotels, parents with young kids can find it harder to get in the mood for love.
But that doesn’t mean we should miss out completely. We’ve put together a list of simple ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day with a baby or small children.
1. Shake up your routine… just a little bit
The quickest way to make a day feel special is to change up your usual habits. If you’ve got a baby or toddler, you won’t want to alter their whole schedule, but there are some small changes you can make that won’t cause sleepless nights.
You and your partner could agree to get up 20 minutes earlier so you can enjoy your favourite breakfast together. Or let everyone jump in the big bed for morning cuddles and that lovely lazy Sunday feeling.
2. Take a romantic snowdrop stroll
Known as the first herald of the coming spring, snowdrops are beginning to rear their heads all across the county. Their glorious show make pretty Valentine’s Day display and a great excuse to get outside for a family walk.
There are lots of places in Surrey to see snowdrops this season. A good choice for families with young children is RHS Wisley, near Woking. Blankets of snowdrops can usually be found at Wild Garden, as well as in the Alpine area. Follow up your walk with a bowl of warm soup or stew from The Food Hall.
To keep your little ones in a good mood, RHS Wisley are also hosting a number of children activities as part of their half-term Butterflies in the Glasshouse event. Activities run from 10am – 4.30pm and are free with normal garden admission.
3. Show your love with pottery
Get ready to re-enact the famous Ghost pottery scene! Erm, maybe not, but pottery studios are a great Valentine’s Day activity for a few good reasons: they promote quality time together, they don’t cost the earth, and you’ll all get a precious memento take home.
On February 14th, Grayshott Pottery, in Hindhead, are running school holiday pottery painting workshops, where you can paint a piece that they’ll fire for you in their kilns. The drop in sessions cost £4.50 per item and are open to both kids and adults. If you can’t make it on Valentine’s Day itself, they’re also running lessons on the 13th and 15th.
4. Dec the halls with heart and flowers
A few props can help everyone get into the spirit of V-Day. Plus it’s a handy way to help keep young kids occupied and tantrum free (for five minutes, at least).
Make red, pink and white paper chains, paint pictures together, cut out paper hearts, make tissue paper flowers or bake cookies; there’s a wealth of minimum-fuss ideas out there on web, so have fun getting arty.
5. Think GIFT
As the old saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. Never is that more true than on Valentine’s Day – the day specifically created for showing someone that you care. Okay, so your ideal gift might just so happen to come with a big price tag, but it’s important to think about what message the present is sending.
When picking a gift, remember to run it past the GIFT test: the perfect Valentine’s present should inspire a sense of Gratitude, Intimacy, Fondness and Trust. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones we don’t buy on Amazon. A foot rub at the end of a long day or romantic indoor picnic can say a lot more about how you feel about your partner.
6. Snuggle on the sofa
Kids are no barrier to this classic show of love. Piling up the sofa with a duvet and pillows before sticking your favourite lovey-dovey movie is an easy way to create a feeling of closeness.
Our top family film picks for Valentine’s Day are:
– Lady and the Tramp
– Beauty and the Beast
– Gnomeo & Juliet
– The Princess Bride
– The Little Mermaid
7. Make love notes
Keep that loving feeling burning all day by writing little love notes and tucking them into places that will be discovered one at a time. This works equally well for partners and older kids. Slightly younger children can have fun hunting for heart shaped notes that have happy drawings rather than words.