Valentines day is a difficult Canadian custom for me to get my head around.
Our first February in Canada:
I get a list from our preschool teacher with all the kids' names, just prior to the big day. I think that's a lovely thing to have, and pop it on the magnet board next to my computer.
Valentines Day comes around, my 3 year old comes home ecstatic because he has received a Valentines card from every other child in his class! The penny drops... so that's what the list is for. But hang on a sec, isn't Valentines a lovers thing, for hopeful teens and husband under pressure? No, this will "follow him right through elementary school" his dear teacher informs me.
We did thank you cards that year. He wrote a big "thank you" and we made photocopies and handed them out the next school day.
The next year we were on the game. Did some painted heart stamps on paper and wrote the kids names. Luckily it was a small group. Its a lot of work for a 4 year old.
This year I've got two in "school".
My preschooler didn't want to make 20 cards. So he made one for the class to share. Bless. He came home with about 18 cards, plus chocolates. They also had a party with lots of cakes and other sugary items. So I still don't get it. A lot of the cards were store purchased and the parents had written names on them and helped their preschooler put them in all the kids' purpose made valentines bags.
We've had a bit more prep time for our kindy boy. This is his 3rd Valentines Day experience in Canada. His teacher told me she is still grasping the idea as well but she figured "if its a way for the kids to show their gratitude for each other then its a nice thing". So with the 15 photocopied cards we got from the teacher, kindy-boy carefully wrote all the kids's names and signed his own. Then he thought of a personal "I love you because..." message to write for every kid! I scribed for him. Thankfully he once again in a small class. A lot of work. But a beautiful activity to partake in. To be able to think of something nice to say about 15 other kids is truly a gift.
So if we are going to encourage (make) the kids celebrate Valentines Day.... please, lets make it meaningful.