How to Help Your Anxious Kid Have a Happy Valentine’s Day

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Valentine cakeValentine’s Day can be more cursed than blessed for some, but you can do a few small things that help ensure big blessings are what shine through. The cursed part of Valentine’s may hit anxious children especially hard if they fear they may not get any Valentine cards from classmates or they are already wrapped up with worry about love.

Love can be the exact thing that turns their day into a glorious one, and you can start by showing your unconditional variety of it right at home. Here come six tips that can help reinforce your love on Valentine’s Day or even any day of the year.

6 Ways to Make Valentine’s Special for Your Anxious Kid 

Do the food thing. We’re not sure who first invented “the food thing,” but we’re sure it was somebody’s very creative mother. “The food thing” involves making a meal that matches the holiday, such as green food coloring in the mashed potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day and orange and black foods for Halloween. Well, you may want to skip the black mashed potatoes.

Psychology Today writer Susan Newman suggests cutting bread slices into heart shapes for a morning of heart-shaped French toast and a lunch with heart-shaped sandwiches. Heart-shaped dinner rolls anyone?

Bake cupcakes or a cake. A special Valentine’s dessert can become a tradition that also backs up the food thing. Make a heart-shaped cake or make cupcakes with pink frosting. Just make it every year and make sure the family takes time to enjoy it together.

Get crafty. Holiday-oriented craft projects can always be a blast and they also show love in several ways. For starters, they allow you to spend one-on-one time with your anxious child, free from cell phones, TVs and all those other distractions. Kids’ craft projects also give you a chance to encourage their creativity and compliment them on a job well done (even if the heart comes out a bit lopsided or crooked). 

Decorate. Decorating can go two ways. You can involve your crafty kid in the decorating process or you can surprise everyone by decorating after they go to sleep so they wake up on Valentine’s morning with a big boost of love. You can perhaps do a little of both. The latter can be something as simple as heart cut-outs stuck around the bathroom mirror with your anxious child’s name and the words “I love you.” 

Write love notes! Writing love notes may be even more fun than surprising your anxious child with a decorated mirror. Again, the notes need not be anything fancy, just a quick thought on a napkin that says how much you love and appreciate your child. Stick one in her lunch. Hide one in his shoe. Put one in a jacket pocket.

Go for a card (and a small gift). A special card, either store-bought or one you make yourself, is like a formal version of the small love notes. Couple it with a small gift if you wish, as kids and gifts are always a good mix. Make it a meaningful present that reminds your anxious child how much you love her every time she looks at it.

Give hugs, hugs and more hugs. Newman recommends an extra-long Valentine hug to start off your child’s morning. And you can continue the feel-good vibe with others throughout the day, every day! A hug can make your anxious child feel comforted, safe and truly, truly loved.

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