Tips to Safely Navigate Valentine’s Day in Your Classroom

It’s coming.

Valentine’s Day. The day full of sugar cookies, red, pink, and SPRINKLES. Sprinkles. Oh, and there’s some hearts in there somewhere, too. Plus, those nasty conversation hearts. Oh, and Reese’s cups shaped like hearts (Reese’s cups are always better in shaped form, right?

Ok – clearly I’m on a sugar rush. But that led to this post.

Valentine’s Day is a commercialized holiday that’s gotten worse. When I was in elementary school, we’d decorate paper lunch bags to hang off the end of our desks. My parents would buy me little notes that were attached to a bag of M&M’s. I had to write to every kid in the classroom – regardless of whether or not I liked them (hey – don’t judge. I was in elementary school!). We then walked around, dropping notes in each other’s bags. Then, it was feast time.

[Insert sugar rush here.]

My teachers were over their head. 20-25 kids who just ate M&M’s. Yep – pretty sure I don’t need to describe that. Maybe it’s one of the many reasons schools have banned candy and cards. Regardless, I will give you some tips to make it through America’s most lovable day in your classroom. (And maybe your students will learn something)

How to make it through Valentine’s Day:

1. Eliminate the candy run-around

From the link above, you’ll notice that many schools have simply banned the whole hand-out-candy thing. You can definitely do the same thing – or at least scale it back. The last thing your students need is more refined sugar and fat. Save the sweet treats for the cafeteria ladies and get them out of your classroom. (Note: I’m just trying to explain both sides of it. I fully advocate for Reese’s Cups).

2. Let the crush play out

Ok – a non-candy related tip. Many parents may tell their kids to let their crush know they like them. While this can be dangerous, let it play out and see what happens. Yes, the girl (or boy) might be grossed out that someone likes them, but hey, that’s part of life.

3. Bring in your own candy – but watch for allergies.

You’ve got to participate in the fun (if you’re having it). Make something homemade and bring it in to share with the class. It could be brownies, cookies, bars, etc. They’ll love that you thought of them (and you don’t have to eat an entire tray of brownies yourself. One note, though: make something that’s allergy free so everyone can enjoy it.

4. Teach your students the value of friendship

Friends are like glue. They stick together through anything. Teach your students the value of friendship – that’s way more important than any sugar-rush they’ll ever have.

5. Have students write about what their parents mean to them

This is just selfless. Have students grab a pen and paper and write a quick note about why they love their parents. Have them make envelopes from red construction paper with the note inside. Then, have them bring it home in their backpacks to give to their parents. It shows appreciation and will likely make their day.

6. Have students assemble care packages for the military or elderly

Yes, you have to love yourself, but you also have to love others. Let your students know that there are people who aren’t getting the true Valentine’s Day experience – troops overseas and some elderly for example. Instead of bringing in candy, have students bring in something for a large gift box to be sent to someone who truly needs to know they’re loved. The students will enjoy helping someone out and likely not even know they won’t be getting a lot of candy this year. OK, maybe that’s a stretch.

7. Ā Get crafty

Here’s an awesome list of the best crafts for Valentine’s Day to help keep your students occupied. From heart-shaped fans, to butterflies, and cootie-catchers (hahaha), there are tons of crafts to do. Crafts are great because they give your students focus, enrich their creativity, and it’s a quick break from learning real stuff.

8. Don’t let it affect your own Valentine’s Day

I know having 20 students run around a classroom with Popsicle sticks and Sweettarts isn’t your ideal Valentine’s Day. You would probably love a home-cooked meal and a glass of wine. If so, don’t let your student’s love-day celebration get to you. Take a deep breath. After 4pm, you’ve got your own more-grown-up-version waiting for you when you get home. Focus on that.

9. Make sure everyone included

Yes, this goes without saying, but you want to include all of your students in the activities. Why? Because it’s not fun to get nothing on Valentine’s Day. Everyone should like each other, right?

10. Have a Reese’s heart (seriously, just one)

You have to. It’ll put a smile on your face. Just do it.

Do you have any tips to make it through Valentine’s Day for our readers? Let me know in the comments below!