Chocolates, roses and jewelry are classic Valentine’s Day gifts for grown-ups, but let’s face it – they’re not really practical presents for infants and toddlers. ZERO TO THREE has 10 ideas to help parents and caregivers show their love to their littlest valentines.
1. Pick the right toys.
Want to give your infant or toddler a new toy for Valentine’s Day? Check out some tips on how choose toys that will grow with your little one, challenge her and nurture her overall development.
2. Read together.
It may feel like you’ve read “Goodnight, Moon” or “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” a million times, but make it a million-and-one this Valentine’s Day. Developing language and literacy skills begins at birth through everyday loving interactions like reading books together. Bonus: You’re preparing your child for future school success!
3. Practice positive parenting approaches.
As a parent, you make child-rearing choices every day that reflect your beliefs and values, your child’s age and stage of development, and his temperament. Positive parenting means being sensitive to your child’s individual needs and addressing typical challenges – like picky eating and testing limits – with empathy and respect.
4. Learn about early brain development.
Learn more about the crucial role you play in building your baby’s brain, get your questions answered, and find some fun “brain-building” activities to share with your little one.
5. Help your child develop self-esteem.
Building self-confidence starts at birth. There are many ways parents can help their babies and toddlers learn to feel good about who they are and to believe in themselves and their abilities.
6. Be a Big Voice for Little Kids™
We all have a stake in whether babies have a strong start in life. Join Think Babies to advocate for what babies and toddlers need to thrive.
7. Practice early math skills with your little one.
No, you don’t need a calculator for this one. You can incorporate early math skills – counting, patterns, addition and subtraction – into every day moments.
8. Enjoy your favorite songs together.
For very young children, music has power and meaning that goes beyond words. Sharing music is a great way to show your love and support the formation of important brain connections that are being established over the first three years of life.
9. Have a multi-generational get-together.
Grandmas and grandpas have a lifetime of knock-knock jokes to share and bring fresh eyes to a story your toddler wants to read every day. Set aside some time to visit with grandparents and other extended family members this Valentine’s Day.
10. Just play together!
When your children play with you, they learn that they are loved and important and fun to be around. Simple playtime sets a foundation of a lifetime of loving and supportive relationships for infants and toddlers.