The 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.
- 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. Ask your
child “How was your day?”and listen to the answer.
- 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. Encourage your child to be active by going on walks,
bicycle riding, or playing ball with your them 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 conversations.
- 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 one topic for 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. Encourage your child to play sports or
be involved in activities that show teamwork.
- 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, 2/15