First things first, let’s make one thing clear: The month of February is just the worst. The holidays are over, that I’m-gonna-conquer-the-world new year buzz has definitely fizzled out, and yet somehow IT IS STILL WINTER!
Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I wanted to share a fun February tradition that has definitely become one of my favorites. As a mother, few things bring you more joy than your children getting along. What’s even better than your kids simply not fighting? I know for me, hearing and seeing them express love and kindness toward one another darn near makes my heart explode. I’m going to share with you my secret to getting my kids to say THE SWEETEST things to each other…which in turn, gives them each a major boost in confidence.
We started this tradition 4 or 5 years ago and it has definitely been one of the best things we have done as a family. It’s quite simple with just a tiny bit of prep work.At the beginning of February, I find some sort of container and fill it with paper hearts. Now don’t get me wrong, though it is fun to create a fancy little set-up, you certainly can use whatever you’ve got on hand. Simple envelops, gift bags, shoe boxes, etc. will work just fine. You can make this as simple (or fancy-pants over the top adorable) as YOU prefer. I used my Silhouette CAMEO to quickly cut out a whole lot of hearts using a variety of pink and red paper.Before I had my cutting machine, I made my kids cut them all out. They certainly weren’t very symmetrical, but adorable nonetheless.
So here’s the deal: Each day during the month of February (we don’t stop after V-Day) my kids write a quick anonymous note to a member of our family, sharing what they love about that person.How in the world do I get my children to happily oblige?Bribery. As usual. Each time they write a note, they get a treat. It’s as simple as that and works like a charm.The kids can write as many notes (and get as many candies) as they would like. Usually at the beginning of the month, they will write a whole bunch each day. Things definitely taper off toward the end of the month, but I keep the candy jar filled and remind them about it from time to time.
As the sweet love letters come in, we read them as a family a few times each week.We randomly pass out all the notes and take turns reading them aloud. This almost always happens around the dinner table and if you could see the looks on my children’s faces as their parents and siblings read what we’ve all written about them, you would understand why I do this.
Though the younger girls can’t write on their own, they love to participate with a little help from mom or an older sibling…This year, Tessa and Jean are also my heart helpers. They “help” me cut them out and refill the container and they LOVE to hang them up. No, I don’t throw these precious notes away…after we read them, they go up on display for all to see. I used to cover our entire fridge with the sweetest hand written notes, but this year we decided to hang them on our new barn doors (built by dad! and tutorial coming soon!) At the end of the month, I put all the notes into a zip lock bag filled with notes from over the years. It has now become part of the tradition to dig up the bag and read over all of the notes from previous years at the beginning of the month…Despite being a pretty non-sentimental person who tosses EVERYTHING the second my kids no longer need it, I cannot seem to part with these sweet treasures and the memories the bring to mind.This isn’t a flawless system, but I have found it to be a great way to make sure every member of our family feels loved and appreciated. Every now and then someone will slip in a somewhat rude note (mostly Dad!!!) in an attempt to be funny… okay they usually are kinda funny…but for the most part, this has been a very simple way to help all of us express the things that are sometimes hard to say aloud. As I’ve written this post, I’ve been reminded of so many sweet memories. As tempted as I am to share some with you, I think I’ll store them away and hope you’ll create some of your own with those you love best.I hope you have a WONDERFUL February *wink *wink and feel so very loved no matter your circumstance. This little family is rooting for you. Happy February!
*In case you are wondering, John was traveling when we shot these photos, but he does fully participate in this tradition…though most of his notes are sightly inappropriate!