It is a kind gesture to give a friend or peer a Valentine. Some children make Valentine cards and others purchase packs of them at the local CVS. It is a great occasion to work on fine motor skills. Valentine's Day crafts are a favorite amongst my occupational therapy staff as they can make cards to give out and this activity addresses a plethora of skills from fine motor to visual perceptual abilities. It provides an opportunity to use social thinking and encourage our children to consider the feelings of others around them; feelings of other children. Let’s expand on that last point.
While there are certainly a lot of positive merits to celebrating Valentine's Day, this day is not always filled with the same excitement and admiration of everyone. For some it can be a very anxiety provoking experience. Many children and particularly those with special needs can feel excluded and isolated when other children in the room are receiving Valentine’s cards and they are not. It can become a popularity contest that only serves to further perpetuate an imbalance between those who are different and those who are considered part of the “in” crowd. So I feel it is important that teachers, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles foster social thinking in our children and have them consider the thoughts and feelings of others. If you are going to give out cards at school, have enough cards for everyone in your child’s class. Do not contribute to another person’s “Valentine Blues”.
Parents, if you have a child who does not receive a Valentine's Day card this Sunday, respond to this blog and my staff or clients will send them one. No one should be excluded on this occasion.
Dr. Randal FEdoruk
I am a pediatric occupational therapist. I have worked with children in various settings for over twenty years. I am a professor and I teach pediatrics and mentor Doctoral students completing research with a pediatric focus.