Make February 14 special with one of these easy, heartfelt family Valentine's Day ideas.

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Now that you’re a parent, Valentine’s Day is less about romance and more about making the day special for the entire family. There’s nothing like showering your children with a little extra love during this cold, dark, post-Christmas and pre-Easter stretch on the family calendar

Here are some of our favorite Valentine’s Day ideas for kids, which will guarantee lasting memories for years to come.

Whip Up Dessert for Breakfast

Your child will flip when she sees chocolate or whipped cream on the breakfast table. Amy Palanjian, the lifestyle director at Family Fun, makes chocolate heart-shaped pancakes for her girls on Valentine’s Day. Other sweet breakfast ideas include a whipped cream-topped smoothie, chocolate waffles, or a powdered sugar-dusted Dutch baby pancake. Even a small box of chocolates will make your child's morning!

Pack a Fun Lunch

Bring the festive spirit of Valentine’s Day for kids to school! If the holiday falls mid-week, it’s the perfect opportunity to add extra love to the lunch box. That might mean sending a sweet handwritten note, cutting a sandwich into a heart shape, or including an extra cookie. 

Wear Festive Clothing

Let you child wear her heart on her sleeve—literally! Marisa LaScala, the news editor at Parents, gives her daughter Eloise a piece of clothing with a heart on it every year. “Last year it was little moccasins,” she says.

Leave a Surprise Gift

Want to say “Happy Valentines Day, son or daughter!” without embarrassing them? Parents editor Leslie Corona remembers, "My mom used to leave little boxes of chocolate on our pillows after my brothers and I left for school. We came back home in the afternoon to a sweet, surprise treat." Take a cue from Leslie’s mom with your own Valentine’s gift for children.

Serve a Special Valentine's Dinner for Kids

Catherine McCord of Weelicious and One Potato, a family-friendly meal-kit delivery company, says, “My favorite family Valentine’s Day ritual is to throw a special dinner party for my husband and my kids. It’s something they look forward to every year.”

Here are some of Catherine’s ideas for making the meal extra-fun:

  • Pull out your fancy china and cloth napkins for the meal.
  • Put a stuffed toy, a box of chocolates, or another Valentine's day treat in front of your kid's place.
  • Write a special Valentine's day love note and put on their plates.
  • Talk about love! Foods you love, friends that make you feel good, things you love to do with your mom and dad, or things you love most about school. Or ask your kids to name five people they love most in the world and why (animals included).