Each of us has an emotional bank account that keeps us happy and directly relates to a healthy self-esteem. You can think of it like a gas tank too. You can’t run on empty and having over a half tank gets you where you need to go efficiently and without worry. Being able to fill our children and partner’s emotional accounts is the key to a happy family. Being able to ask for what we need to fill ours makes our day-to-day life more enjoyable.
Your kids will enjoy this activity and everyone will feel more connected, knowing what it is that makes each family member feel complete and how to help us keep our own accounts full by asking for what we need.
You can use whatever type of bag you want. Some people choose paper bags that you can decorate with crayons, markers, or stickers. Others prefer cloth bags that are soft and made of material that reflects each family member’s personality. Gift bags and plastic bags with a Valentine’s theme can also be purchased for this activity.
Once each family member has a bag to work with, they will write down on small pieces of paper things to do or say that makes them feel loved. For example, “rub my back,” or “tell me something you love about me,” or “play a board game with me.”
Parents and/or older siblings can help create love bags for children that might not be able to write or verbally communicate what it is that they want included inside. For most young children, it’ll be hugs, reading aloud to them or anything else that requires one-on-one time, down on the floor together.
When someone in the family feels discouraged or just needs some extra loving, they can bring their love bag to another family member. That person selects one item from the bag and gives them what they need in that moment. This also works great for “make-ups” between family members instead of simply saying, “I’m sorry.”
Couples can make separate “adult” love bags as well that they can use to help keep them feel more connected on a romantic level. Be as playful or as naughty as you want – just don’t be afraid to ask your partner to pick something from your love bag when you desire some passion in your day. You’ll also get bonus points with your significant other if you select something from their love bag when they least expect it.
Incorporating this activity into your regular routine makes everyone smile. In our family, we hold a Love Feast for individuals on their birthday. We also do a family Love Feast on Thanksgiving and special occasions. Of course, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to start and implement this new tradition in your home.
At the dinner table or whenever you choose to start the Love Feast, each person will be asked to share something they love with the person across from them, or next to them. It’s simple, fun and something your children will ask to do on a regular basis.
“What I love about you is…” makes a great start to any day. It is also a great thing to say to someone after you’ve done something to put a kink in the relationship. If your child or partner has a bad day at school or work, having a Love Feast will help boost them up – and you as well when you see how their spirits are lifted.
How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your little ones? Share some of your ideas in the comments section so we can help spread the love on February 14th and every day of the year.
The idea for the Love Bags and Love Feast are from the 5-week parenting course on Redirecting Children’s Behavior created by Kathryn Kvols.
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Peace Begins in the Home