Make this Valentine’s Day Family Day

Fun ways to show share your love with your family on Valentine’s Day:

valentinesdaybreakfasthearteggsinabasket_zps3ce6de6e1. Love your breakfast

Grab yourself a heart shaped cookie cutter or toast press and enjoy spending time chatting with your family before your day begins.

2. Rethink the gifting thing

These little ideas below are special, unique and will not blow the bank – we found them on the internet just for you:

  • Send A Letter Of Appreciation:  How about sending a simple letter to your loved ones detailing how grateful you are to have them in your life. Kids feel loved when we notice who they are and what they contribute to us, our family, and the world.  
  • Make a Homemade Valentine:  Kids feel loved when we spend time making something for them, rather than buying it.  Why not make Valentines? 
  • A gift certificate for a back rub or foot massage every night for a month:  Kids feel loved when we listen to them and give them an opportunity to talk through their daily challenges.  Every single day, spend 15 minutes snuggling with each child before bed.  Most kids love a back rub and hand or foot rub.  

3. Keep the momentum going

  • Send the kids to school with little paper hearts with love notes into their school bags, or lunch boxes.
  • Plan a fun dinner for all the family. 
  • Play the praise game. Round the dinner table, or maybe after dinner on the sofa, take a minute to pass on a few words about why you all love each other.  


Praise Pointers for Parents and Teachers

Search Institute

The Search Institute Offers Praise Pointers for Parents and Teachers

The ways parents and teachers praise young people makes a lot of difference in whether that praise is encouraging and motivating. Effective praise helps develop a “growth mindset” in which young people recognize that they can learn and grow through effort and practice. The following chart spells out six tips for praise that encourage youth to develop a growth mindset.


Example Why?
Purposeful, specific, and sincere “Great game! You really passed well to your teammates.” is more encouraging than, “Great game!” Being concrete reinforces those behaviors. If, however, you both know the player didn’t pass well or it wasn’t a great game, then this isn’t sincere. The praise won’t help the young person learn.
Reinforce behavior and effort, not “natural” intelligence “Congratulations! I know you studied really hard.” is more encouraging than, “Congratulations! You’re really smart.” The first option focuses on an action that can be maintained or improved. If you praise someone because of something fixed (such as “being smart”), it’s harder to cope with failure.
Attainable and realistic “That is a beautiful picture. I love the colors you picked!” is more encouraging than, “That picture is amazing! It could go in an art gallery.” Inflated praise can backfire. It gives the impression that you have to meet exceptionally high standards, which you know you can’t always do. That undermines motivation.
Information rich “I love the salad you made. It has a nice mix of flavors and colors!” is more encouraging than, “I love your salad!” Giving more detailed information reinforces strategies that can be used when similar situations come up in the future.
Self-focused, not in comparison to others “You made a lot of progress in correcting grammatical errors.” is more encouraging than, “You did much better on this than many other students.” Praising in comparison to others may motivate when we always win. But we feel defeated when we don’t always win, so we aren’t motivated internally to learn and grow.
Effort more than achievement “I like how you took deep breaths to stay calm even when you were upset at your sister.” is more encouraging than, “Thanks for not pushing your sister.” The focus on effort emphasizes being able to grow and learn.

Tips to Help Your Child Kick a Bad Habit

child thumb suckingWhat’s behind your child’s bad habit? Figuring out potential causes is key to breaking the bad behavior.

The University of Michigan Health System advises:

  • Offer praise when your child engages in good behavior. But consider that your child may need to be older to want to stop the bad behavior and gain the motivation to do it.
  • Don’t push your child to make too many changes at once. Focus on one or two behaviors that are the most bothersome.
  • Think about what may be bothering your child. Discuss the behavior and listen carefully to what your child says.
  • Redirect your child when you see her engaging in the bad behavior. Set rules that are fair, firm and kind, and always follow through.

Six Characteristics of Effective Praise

high fiveSix characteristics of effective praise, using a simple acronym: PRAISE


Reinforces High Expectations


Independence Is Promoted


Effort and Progress Are Noted