Remind your kids that while kindness towards friends and family may come naturally, Valentines Day is also an opportunity to show kindness toward people you don't know very well at all. Reinforce the message by telling them about Saint Valentine, a man who was thrown into prison a long time ago for helping people get married, but who was so kind that he healed the blind daughter of the man who was his jailer.
All kids are capable of this kind of love, but their natural empathy can be suppressed in the face of social struggles like sibling rivalry and peer pressure.
Remind your kids that showing compassion is not as simple as giving someone a card or some candy. Reaching out to someone who didn't receive as many Pink hearts, on the other hand, is a great way to show compassion. True kindness requires paying attention to others and their feelings. Ask yourself: What can I do to help him/her feel better?
If you read books to your children, there will be opportunities to explore their natural compassion. Ask what the characters in the story might be feeling, and if they are struggling with sadness, loneliness, frustration, or fear, what might make them feel better? This is a good place to start.
While other people are busy with the mushy version of Valentines Day, you and the children in your life can be quietly paying attention to opportunities for emotional growth. Happy Valentines Day!