Valentine’s Day Cards that Build Empathy

February is just around the corner and that means it is time for Valentine’s card writing. For some kids this is a joyous occasion, my daughter for example.  She could spend hours in the Valentine’s aisle at Target searching for the right ratio of candy to fun card. For my son, on the other hand, it was just one more writing assignment.

This year, we challenge you to use this opportunity in a more meaningful way. Use it as a way to help your child (and you) build empathy and boost emotional intelligence. This doesn’t require a glue gun and shopping spree at Michael’s (unless you want it to!).  It is about the moral lesson and looking at it in a new way.  Here are 3 easy ways to help your child get more out of their Valentine’s giving (and build empathy along the way):

1. Selecting the Card: When selecting or creating a card for someone on his/her list, have your child take a moment and really think about what card that person would like to receive. Does the recipient like playing soccer as recess? Then pick or create a card with a soccer ball. Sounds like common sense to us but thinking about things from another person’s perspective is a skill that takes practice and the cornerstone of empathy.

2. The Message: Instead of the same message for each child, encourage your child to think of one nice thing about each child and include it on the card. It doesn’t have to be a novel in size, just a simple “I really like it when you share your crayons with me.” or “You are really funny.”. The recipient will really appreciate it (we all love hearing nice things about ourselves) and it will boost your child’s own mood. Just thinking about nice things that people have done for us, or positive things about people in our life, makes us all feel happier.

3. Skip the Candy and Do Something Nice: Candy is easily forgotten but a nice deed can be remembered forever.  Encourage your children to do one nice thing for each person in their class during the month of February.  Each day have them look for an opportunity where they can help someone in the class. It can be as simple as asking the shy kid to play with them at recess, cheering up someone that is sad or letting someone go in front of them in the lunch line that is very hungry. The key is for them to look for opportunities to help those around them. In order to do this they need to be aware of how people are feeling and think about ways they can make it better (basics in empathy). Have them share their good deeds with you each day (I bet they will do it with a big smile!). Our bet is that they will quickly learn how good it feels to help other people.

Looking for a meaningful Valentine’s gift for that special child? Our NEW Power Pack Gift Set comes with a book, fun activity and small toy that teaches social emotional skill development.  What better way to show love than through skill empowerment… and it will last much longer than a box of chocolates!

Power Pack small

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