We give so much to our children on a daily basis-lunch money, bus fare, and free advice-that we forget to give them a Valentine’s Day present. Instead, we buy an assortment of chocolates and miniature cards for our kids to give to their classmates, dismissing the notion that we should celebrate the holiday with those we love the most-our own children. Below are just a few inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your son or daughter.

Feed their fancies

If suppertime usually involves you and your child at the table while he eats and you pay bills, redo the way you do dinner this Valentine’s Day. Instead of a rushed meal, have a special candlelight dinner just for you and your child. Prepare his or her favorite meal and set the table for two. Dim the fluorescents and light some candles. Then sit down to a lovely dinner while you and your child chat about school and/or work. If you don’t have time to cook, grab take-out on the way home from work and create the same ambience. If you have more than one child, recreate the moment for each one on a different day. Having that one-on-one time is invaluable and prevents you from overlooking your quiet child to listen to your more outspoken one. Focus only on your child for that time and really listen to what’s going on in his/her life. You may find it so interesting, you’ll plan more intimate dinners throughout the year.

Take note of their talents

Often we leave written reminders for our kids-do your homework, call Shanita, be home by 9. But seldom do we write down just how much we adore them. This month, take advantage of the pen and pad by writing loving notes to your child. Write I love you on a Post-it® and leave it in your son’s lunchbox. Write “you have the prettiest smile” on a page of your daughter’s notebook and leave it open on her bedroom desk. Write “thanks for cleaning your room” on a sheet of paper and place it on your child’s bed. These little daily messages have so much more permanency when written in ink. So utilize the lovely stationery you’ve acquired through the years and leave your child a caring note.

Frame their good traits

Instead of focusing on what your children need to do to improve this month, convey to them what they already do well. On a sheet of colored cardstock, print or type a list of your child’s good traits-“You take great care of your little brother,” “You are an excellent dancer,” or “Your backpack is always neat.” Once you’ve created your list, place it in a picture frame. They have a bunch of cute and trendy frames at discount stores throughout the city. Wrap the frame and give it to your child on Valentine’s Day. Then watch your child’s face light up while they read what you wrote.

Pour your heart in a shoe box

Put one of your old shoeboxes to great use this month by filling it with your child’s favorite things. On the shoebox, create a design that exemplifies your child. Decorate the box with photos of your child, words from a newspaper that describe your child, or the front covers of your child’s favorite magazines. Next, fill the shoebox with things your child loves. For example, if her favorite snack is nachos, don’t forget to add a bag. If her favorite cartoon is Dora the Explorer, print a picture of Dora from the Internet and drop it in. Gather ticket stubs from her most recent show outings or pictures from past birthdays, and place them in the box. On Valentine’s Day, when you give your child her special package, she will be surprised at how much you study her life.

Show your children some love this Valentine’s Day. Make this time of the month truly special for them, giving gifts that are sure to leave something substantial in their hearts and easy on your pockets.