following are Valentine's Day tips from the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP). Please feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in
their entirety for any print or broadcast story with appropriate
attribution of source. Click here for the Spanish Version.
Use plenty of
positive and encouraging words with your child. Try to avoid using sarcasm
or mockery and get rid of put-downs from the words you use as a parent.
Children often don’t understand your purpose, and if they do, these messages can create negative ways of
talking and connecting with each other.
Make an extra
effort to set a good example about how to connect and talk with other
people at home and in public. Use words like "I'm sorry,"
"please," and "thank you.
- Respond promptly
and lovingly to your child's physical and emotional needs. Be available
to listen to your child when he/she wants to talk with you, even if it’s
not the best time for you.
- When your child
is angry, grouchy, or in a bad
mood, give him a quick hug, cuddle, pat, secret nod or other sign of affection he responds to, and then consider talking with him about the event when he’s feeling better.
- Use non-violent
forms of discipline. Parents should start using both rewards and restrictions many years
before adolescence to help establish ways to encourage strengths and address concerns during the teenage years. Allowing
children of any age to constantly break important rules without being
disciplined only encourages more rules to not be followed.
- Make plans to
spend time alone with your young child or teen doing something she enjoys
on a regular basis. Consider sending a Valentine’s Day card to your older
child or teen. Think about making Valentine’s Day cards together with your
preschool or younger school-age child.
- Mark family game
nights on your calendar so the entire family can look forward to having ways
to enjoy spending time together. Put a different family member's name
under each date, and have that person choose which game will be played
- Consider owning a pet if possible. Having a pet can help make some children,
especially those with chronic illnesses and disabilities, feel better by increasing
their physical activity, enhancing their overall positive feelings, and
offering another way to connect with someone they care about.
- One of the best
ways to have your child learn more
about good food choices is to encourage him to cook with you. Let him get
involved in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for
ingredients to the actual food preparation and its serving. It is
wonderful when families eat together as much as possible. Good food, good
- As your child
grows up, she'll spend most of her time improving upon a variety of skills and abilities that
she gains in all areas of her life. You should help her as much as
possible by encouraging her and providing the tools and teaching she needs. Start reading to your child beginning
at six months. Avoid TV in the first two years, monitor and watch TV with
your older children, and use TV time as conversation time with
your children. Limit computer and video games.
- Your child's
health depends a lot on the care
and support you offer during his
early years. By taking your child to the doctor regularly for well child
or preventive health care visits, teaching him how to be safe from injuries, providing a healthy and nutritious diet, and encouraging good amounts of
sleep, physical activity, and exercise throughout childhood, you help
protect and strengthen his mind and body.
- Help your child
foster positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the
community. Consider inviting
friends or neighbors to spend time drinking tea, having a meal, playing a
game, or helping others in need with you and your family.
- One of your most
important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self-esteem.
Your child needs your steady support and help to discover his strengths. He needs you
to believe in him as he learns to believe in himself. Loving him, spending
time with him, listening to him and celebrating lessons learned from his mistakes
and successes are all part of this process.
- Don't forget to
say, "I love you" to children of all ages!
Academy of Pediatrics, 2/14