By Christine Murray, HRI Director

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! If you have a sweetheart, you may be spending time today planning how you’re going to celebrate them tomorrow. Flowers, chocolate, a special dinner out on the town…all of these can be part of a special Valentine’s Day celebration of romance. With all of the focus tomorrow on romance, our HRI team wants to encourage you today to focus on celebrating the family, and especially the children in your life.

People have differing views of Valentine’s Day. Some view it as an artificial holiday that was manufactured by greeting card companies, while other people view it as an important and meaningful celebration of their relationship with their partner. Even if you aren’t a total fan of Valentine’s Day, we invite you to view a Valentine’s Eve Celebration of the Family as an opportunity to role model an important part of healthy relationships for your children: taking extra steps to help your loved ones feel cared for! Of course, this is an important relationship skill every day, but Valentine’s Day offers you a unique opportunity to model it for your children because they’re likely already seeing and hearing a lot about relationships this week.

The skills and characteristics of relationships that your children see and experience during their early years can have a powerful impact on their relationships later in life. Your relationships with them, your partner, friends, other family members, and others are perhaps the most powerful way that your children will learn about relationships. If they experience unhealthy relationship patterns, they may come to view those patterns as normal. On the other hand, if they observe and experience healthy relationships, they will learn how to build and maintain strong, happy relationships throughout their lives.

Let’s say you aren’t a big proponent of Valentine’s Day…Even if this is the case, role modeling treating others (including your children and your partner) in a special way on Valentine’s Day can help teach them to care for others in the ways that are most meaningful for them. If you’re familiar with the widely popular book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, then you know that people vary in the ways they express and receive love that are the most meaningful to them. Even if doing something to celebrate Valentine’s Day isn’t your cup of tea, it may mean a lot to your partner. Sometimes, making your partner feel loved and cared for means doing things that resonate with them, even if they don’t make sense to you!

To help you celebrate your family on Valentine’s Eve today, we’re excited to announce the release HRI’s free, new board game, Together Time! Our HRI team developed this game to offer families an opportunity to connect and learn more about each other through playing the game. Everything you need to play Together Time can be downloaded for free at the following web-site: http://www.guilfordhri.org/togethertimegame. We hope this will be a fun way to spend time together as you celebrate Valentine’s Eve as a family!

What if board games aren’t your thing, or if you’d like to do the game and something else to celebrate Valentine’s Eve? We’ve got several other ideas to share for how to make today special:

We hope we’ve given you some ideas to make today an extra-special celebration of your family! Even just a few small, simple steps to celebrate today can help your children see the value in celebrating the important people in their lives–on Valentine’s Day and every day!