Just so we’re both clear here, I feel the need to say – I am not a candy miser.
We let the kids have Halloween candy. Easter candy. Candy in their Christmas stocking.
I don’t feel the need to run a candy free zone here because frankly, it’s not necessary.
To combat my husband’s fear of the kids being ‘abnormal’ & going off to college to find themselves in a Butterfinger induced coma, we make sure they know that candy is around. It’s going to be there. You just don’t need to eat all of it. You don’t even need to eat some every day. Or for breakfast.
While I like candy on occasion, what annoys me to no end is the complete sugar obsession we are thrust into every holiday. Honestly, you can’t walk away from one holiday into the next without getting an onslaught of candy thrown in your face. And I don’t get it…
My kids come home from school with entire goodie bags full of candy – from just one other classmate. Are we really saying that it’s great to give 3 & 4 year olds (or even older grade schoolers) an entire goodie bag full of candy in the name of holiday giving? I’ve even had my oldest son come home from pre k with multiple sachets of Fun-Dip. While I appreciate the gesture in the spirit of giving I’m also curious… are people really letting their kids eat all of that candy anyway?
I know I can do what I choose with the candy (the majority of it hits the trash) but I also think that’s what a lot of other parents do as well. A quick conversation around the school yard usually lends itself to a few mom’s lamenting the gigantic candy stash headed back to their homes. So if we’re all going home to throw most of the candy away… what was the point of buying it, stuffing it into bags & sending it to school for our kids to pass out?
Typically, I try & do something clever (& easy) with the kids, like their picture on a card. I let them give a sucker as well. But this year I wanted to try something different. I wanted to try a candy free Valentine’s Day. It’s not that my kids won’t be coming home with candy – I am certain they will be. But for this year, at least, they won’t be giving any candy & so far, they haven’t even noticed. I think they are even more excited about their Valentine’s (I know I am)!
1. Find Something They Like
Honestly, I couldn’t believe it was so easy to get the kids into giving non candy gifts this year. My son is really into MineCraft & it probably took me all of 5 minutes to find his clever craft. He was really excited when he saw the figures & since he’s really into building I thought it would be perfect. My daughter just got a Rainbow Loom for Christmas & since she’s been so efficient at making those bracelets I figured I’d help her clear as many of those rubber bands off her bedroom floor as I could with the Valentine bracelets. And then there was the little guy. Man, I completely forgot that pre schoolers do Valentine’s parties but since he’s obsessed with dinosaurs this dino craft couldn’t have been more perfect. Even better – he had so many of these dinos around the house his gifts cost me nothing. We bagged up a few we had here & he is super excited about giving them to his friends.
2. Let the Internet Help You
Thank God for the glorious people who are so crafty & clever. Seriously, I am not creative (as far as Valentine’s go) but a quick Pinterest search will turn up a whole host of FREE printables for whatever you might need. I found all 3 bag topper printables via Pinterest from Lolly Jane, 30 Hand Made Days & Simmworks Family Blog. Brilliant, crafty geniuses, all these people are! I could never, ever in a million years have come up with these clever things!
3. Have the Activity Be Age Appropriate
Honestly, while I wanted to help my kiddos make these tiny things, I didn’t really want to make them all by myself. I figured my choices were very age appropriate. My 3 year old collected & counted the dinosaurs & helped put them in bags. My daughter made all but 4 of her classmates bracelets herself (I made the other 4). She cut & helped bag the bracelets & I did most of the stapling. My oldest son was actually the one who needed the most help! I blame myself for that one as he really only wanted to make these for his close friends but I insisted he had to bring the same Valentine for all his classmates. But I enjoyed the painting & gluing & just the fact that we did an activity together that was something out of our usual routine.
4. Let Them Do It
As I mentioned, I wanted this to be their Valentine, not mine. And in all honesty, this is the first year I’ve helped them make any Valentine’s. One year my son cut out, decorated & glued all 20 some cards for his classmates. He was super determined & I wasn’t about to stop him! I also wasn’t about to do the cards for him once he lost interest. Having activities like this is sometimes a good reminder to kiddos that, as long as it’s age appropriate, it’s ok to stick to a task that might lose it’s luster after you’ve begun. There was a point we got kinda tired of painting bricks & weaving rubber bands but after we were finished, the kids were so excited to see what they’d created. They’ve been telling their friends about their Valentine’s all week!
So what did your kiddos give for Valentine’s this year?