Forever Valentine

If Valentine's Day teaches us anything, it's that we should have more than a single day to celebrate those we love. Here are six ways to make your kids feel special every day.
1. Say thank you. From a very young age, we instill good manners in our kids. But how often do we extend those common courtesies to them? A genuine "thank you" for something; even when it's a regular chore a child is expected to perform — can go a long way. Show appreciation and respect for your children, their actions and their words.
2. Cultivate inside jokes. When you get together with your best friend you probably laugh yourselves silly, talking about memories and inside jokes nobody else in the world truly "gets." Build that kind of relationship with your children. Whether it's a funny family memory that gets brought up regularly or a secret handshake you make up together, foster the kind of family relationships that herald your history together as something truly special.
3. Never stop being affectionate. Hug them. High-five them. Put your arm around them. Exchange winks. Follow their lead, but do whatever it takes to keep affection in your family, no matter the age.
4. Read to them, read with them, read what they're reading. Reading together is a powerful way to bond. Carve out a few minutes before bed for reading. Dive into the Harry Potter series with your elementary or middle schooler. Get the book list from your teen's English class and keep up with what he or she is reading — not as a way to check up on your student, but as a way to stay in tune with the worlds his or her mind is visiting.
5. Make up a reason to celebrate. The 14th of the month seems to work in February, so why not celebrate your kids on the 14th of every month? Make heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Eat at the family's favorite restaurant. Do something out of the ordinary at least once a month to show them how much you care.
6. Single them out. Find a way to share one-on-one time with each child. It doesn't have to be a huge undertaking, just work that time around part of your normal day. Bring your daughter on an errand with you, then stop off for ice cream. Or let your son pick what the family eats for dinner — as long as he helps you make it. And when you've got them alone, don't spend the time nagging or trying to pry, just enjoy the moment you're in together.

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