Take a look at the marketing out right now and see the images that they are trying to project so that we will buy or spend money. Furthermore, they love to put ideas into our heads about how certain gifts will make our partners feel. Not to say gifts are bad, but do they TRULY represent what love is all about? Do they TRULY show our partners how we feel about them and why we appreciate having them in our lives? Not really.

How then do we make Valentines Day more meaningful for our partners as well as our families? Here are five ideas that are sure to do the trick!

1) Cook pancakes using a heart-shaped cookie cutter to form the heart. Dollop vanilla yogurt on top of two pancakes and drizzle slightly heated strawberries all over the plate. Add a little maple syrup to make it easier to pour. Decorate the table with red heart place-mats cut from red paper and place a card on each person's chair describing what you love and appreciate about them. Remember to be specific! Create suspense for this by placing a little note on everyone's pillow at night saying, "Meet me in the kitchen at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning" Love, Mom/Your name

2) Create a "Love Day". Choose three things to do during the day and early evening. Pick activities your family loves doing together or that you know they would like. For example: Do you all love to go swimming? Take long walks in the country or along water? Eating at a favourite restaurant? Making and drinking homemade hot chocolate? Watching a favourite movie? Playing a sport? Visiting grandparents or special friends? Be sure to announce the day's plan in an interesting way such as in an extra-large Valentines card.

3) Spend one on one time with each child for an hour or two. Maybe a mother can take her daughter to have a manicure together or her son to watch a new movie he'd enjoy. Or, simply pack a lite snack of Valentine treats and take each child for a "walk and talk" or play in the park.

4) Spend time together as a family then hire a babysitter for a couple of hours and go for a long walk with your partner. Stop somewhere for a warm drink or sweet dessert and talk about the things you appreciate about each other. (Be specific) Also, you might talk about all of your blessings, even if everything isn't going the way you'd like it to right now. Hold hands and enjoy being together, without children, and in a different environment.

5) Invite good friends over with their children and plan the menu for the dinner together. Discuss decorations, what to serve for dinner and what would make a nice dessert. Have your children phone the friends to invite them over, then cook and decorate together. Nothing has to be extravagant, it's simply the thought that matters and those simple little "Valentine" touches.

Snuggle up in bed with tea and croissants for the adults and strawberry milk and croissants for the little ones. Pass out Valentines to everyone telling them why you appreciate them (Be Specific) and then just talk and giggle for a little while.

Author's Bio: 

Erin Kurt, parenting & life coach to working mothers, and founder of ErinParenting, is also the author of Juggling Family Life and creator of The Life Balance Formula and the How to Get Your Child to Listen program.