• Leah Soldner

CATCHING KINDNESS




Just when the blur of Winter Holiday’s and Lunar New Year is coming to a close, along comes Valentine’s Day and the focus on “stuff-love.”


Depending on where in the world you are, this can range from a simple romantic evening spent with your S.O. to a high-stress event that involves strenuous baking, frantic trips to the grocery store for candy hearts and other V-day paraphernalia, and the competitive need to out-craft other parents with intricate home-made valentines.


For all the build-up this commercial holiday gets, it seems to end in a flood of tears (your preschooler didn’t get the same amount of paper hearts they gave out, or your middle-schooler’s crush wasn’t reciprocated) not to mention an unnecessary sugar rush, and hurt feelings.


What would St. Valentine have to say about all the malarkey?


This year, try bypassing the usual traditions and use the time to teach your children about the value of friendship, compassion, love for family, concern for those less fortunate and, while you’re at it, a little reminder about self-love.


DK Schoolhouse first coined “Friendship Day” in 2013, when the craze of Valentine’s Day was so strong that it caused routine bumper to bumper traffic jams, a spike in crime and such general mayhem that it finally prompted a public warning resulting in military police being stationed at guesthouses & nightclubs to ward off the inevitable flood of young people sneaking out past curfew.


Our team at DKSP decided to shift the focus towards friendships, creating a niche celebration where children were encouraged, along with the help of their teachers, to do something special for their parents and siblings, team up with a classmate to help someone else, get involved in charity ventures and understand the true meaning of love.



Sounds rather refreshing, doesn’t it?




5 TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP


1. Sprinkle Kindness like Confetti

Write “I love you” notes and leave them under your child’s pillow, in their backpack, taped on the mirror or in other places they can uncover as a surprise. If your child is learning to write, encourage them to write a simple message of love for their sibling or family member and tuck it away somewhere the recipient is least expecting. Don’t save the tradition for Valentine’s Day alone; practice it year-round!


2. It’s About Time

As a parent, it’s natural to want to provide your children with material items that make them happy, and tempting to load them up with extra gifts and treats.


The age old saying “People may never remember the words you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel” is 100 percent true. Your children will remember the moments spent doing things with you, or together as a family, far more than the material value of gifts.


Take a moment out of your hectic schedule, put down your phone, delay that pressing email or lunch appointment and choose to spend quality time with the family instead. Trust me; your children will thank you later!


3. Compassion Takes Action


Don’t just ‘be grateful’ for the life you have; show it by doing something to help those less fortunate than you. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or a project that breaks the bank; there are plenty of ways you can reach out to those less fortunate than you, and teach your children the importance of showing care for those around them.


Leave a case of drinking water outside of a supermarket, donate gently used toys, blankets or clothing to a provincial school, drop a box of books outside a coffee shop with a “Free For All” sign taped to it, smile at a stranger.


Roll down your window and offer snacks, clean water or a meal to the kids peddling roses at a stoplight, or let someone else have the right of way at a busy intersection during rush hour.


4. Make It Happen

Make something with your child for V-Day. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or complicated project. Keep it simple: do a Valentine’s Day craft for kids using everyday objects: make up a song while driving in the car, write a poem with Lego bricks, or cook a meal together.