Love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is near. Yet, holidays that put an emphasis on certain foods, like heart-shaped chocolates and other treats, can be tough for kids with food allergies. Finding other ways to celebrate this holiday with the littlest loves of your life may present a challenge to parents. But love is not measured by candies and treats—you can celebrate Valentine’s Day in other fun ways that do not focus on food!
Make Homemade Valentines
Skip out on the cheesy, cardboard Valentine’s Day cards and make homemade crafts for friends and family instead. You just need a little colored construction paper, glue, scissors and perhaps a little glitter (along with any other fun crafty things you want to incorporate). Real Simple offers some great homemade valentines ideas, like making a valentine card that incorporates real birthday candles and reads, “You Light up my Life.”
Have a Scavenger Hunt
Make or buy a fun gift (like a pair of socks, game, book or fun cup) and hide it in a sneaky spot. Write out clues on paper hearts and scatter them in hidden places throughout your house. Hand one card out with the first clue on it at the beginning of the game and enjoy following along as your kids try to figure out the clues.
Participate in Random Acts of Kindness Week
Random Acts of Kindness Week extends from February 9th – 15th. Celebrate Valentine’s Day all week long by showing love to others by performing kind gestures to each other and your community. Deliver flowers to a neighbor. Strive to smile at anyone you see. Challenge each other to see who can commit the most kind gestures. Celebrate the winner with a special gift!
Write Letters of Appreciation
Tell your children how appreciative you are of them. Letters of appreciation are often more cherished than store-bought gifts. Be specific in your letter: “I love that you run up to give me hugs when you feel shy” or “I appreciate the way you want to help me cook dinner every day.” Specific statements like these are more gratifying than a more general “You are special.” Do not hesitate if you are not a great writer. Your letter does not have to be poetic in order to tell your child how much you love and appreciate her.
Play Games Together
Although table games are becoming more obsolete as they are being replaced by electronic ones, those Normal Rockwell-esque moments you experience as a family are a great way to make lasting memories while showing your little one how much you enjoy spending time with them. Let your child choose a game to play!
When Your Child Brings Treats Home
Your food-allergic child will probably come home from school with Valentine’s Day treats from classmates or teachers. Inevitably, devastation ensues when you take them away. Counteract this problem by offering friendly substitutes. Keep a hidden stash of safe treats and sweets to replace those that contain allergens.
Baking Treats for Valentine’s Day
If you are asked to bring treats to a party or you just want to have some at home, you can always make your own! We have gathered some fun, festive recipes for the ones who hold your heart. Each is free of the top 8 food allergens, which are wheat, peanut, egg, milk, fish, shellfish, tree nuts and soy.
Valentine Rice Krispy Treats: These classic and fun treats can be cut into any shapes you like!
Be My Valentine! Mini Pies: Adorable heart-shaped pies are fun to make and taste delicious! Purchase a vegan or gluten free pie crust or make your own and fill with cherry pie filling (or any other of your choosing)!
Allergy-Friendly Red Velvet Cake: For the cocoa lover, this red velvet cake is delicious and comes in a festive Valentine’s Day shade of red!