It’s almost Valentine’s Day! As adults, it can get pretty complicated. But it’s SO much fun to celebrate with our kids, isn’t it? All of the pink and red hearts, sweet surprises, and seeing the smiles on their little faces make it so special. Not to mention their joy in expressing kindness and care for their friends… it’s enough to melt even the most stoic among us.
For a lot of us, it has also traditionally meant lots of candy.
Don’t get me wrong. I love any and all sorts of sweets, especially chocolate. But I don’t love having tons of candy in the house, sugar-induced hyperactivity, or thinking about how all of that candy could affect their teeth. So as we get all of those Valentines together for our kids and their classmates, let’s talk about alternatives to candy that everyone will love!
We live in a time where almost everything is instant and when we’re always on the go. So it means a lot to receive something made by hand, even if it’s simple. And that’s true for our kids, too! Handmade cards are thoughtful and meaningful gifts for anyone who receives them. Kids can cut and decorate construction paper hearts to share with their teachers, classmates, family members, and friends.
The most meaningful Valentine’s Day gift my son has yet to receive was a set of 14 red, pink, and purple hearts with positive messages from his dad and me. In fact, he still has them up on his bedroom door 3 years later. He couldn’t read them at first which gave us the pleasure of reading each one to him (sometimes several times a day!). And now that he can read it brings my heart joy to see him read those affirmations to himself. Pinterest has tons of similar ideas to get you started.
My daughter received a rock painting kit for Christmas which I thought was really different and original. This would also be a really fun Valentine’s gift or activity. Kids can paint them and give them to their friends, or have them over for a special Valentine’s rock painting party! You can also take them on a nature walk and let them collect their own small rocks or stones to paint. For even more fun, have them take pictures of their painted rocks and share them in the Miami-Dade Rocks Facebook page, and then hide them for other people to find. A sweet, simple, and special way to spread love and positivity long after Valentine’s Day has passed.
What kid doesn’t cheerful balloons? My daughter LOVES little balloon sticks like these from Target. They last longer than helium balloons and don’t pop as easily as regular balloons, so they’re perfect for the little ones. But really, any balloons will do the trick!
This one is pretty straightforward. Sticker sheets with hearts, Disney princesses or superhero characters are often a hit with young kiddos and their classmates. My kids like to make “sticker pictures” with construction paper and send them to family members, which is a sweet way to spread the love across the miles. Grandparents eat stuff like this up! And as a bonus, it’ll give them something to do while you get dinner ready after a hectic day. Gifts that keep on giving, haha.
A little girl in one of my daughter’s classes gave out some of those applesauce pouches along with little paper Valentine cards. She loved it, and I thought it was a brilliant idea! They’re gluten-free and often don’t contain anything except fruit. Check out some of these healthy snack ideas for special treats to make at home, too.
No doubt your kids will probably still get some candy. Plain chocolate is the best because (aside from being chocolate!) it doesn’t have prolonged contact with teeth. It’s the sticky candies (Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, etc). and hard candies that are more likely to cause cavities because they last longer in the mouth. Encouraging kids to drink water will help rinse the sugary residue off of the teeth in addition to regular flossing and brushing.
Ask Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist is a boutique practice located in South Miami. They offer a variety of services and treatment options for infants, children, and adolescents ranging from virtually pain-free tongue and lip-tie frenectomies, restorative procedures, and conscious sedation, in addition to routine cleanings and oral exams. Dr. Bob is also available to his patients around the clock for dental emergencies. His team is passionate about providing the exceptional care your child deserves. Schedule an appointment today! And be sure to check out our Ask Dr. Bob series for more helpful information on topics related to pediatric dental health.