Valentine’s Day is coming up and it is a great opportunity for dads to spend quality time with their children and share the warm feelings of this holiday.

When fathers are involved, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior. Even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement can have a lasting and positive impact. (U.S. Dept. of Education. “A Call to Commitment: Father’s Involvement in Children’s Learning.” June 2000).

So what can divorced and separated dads do to have a memorable time with their children on this holiday?

Here are a few suggestions to make the most of your Valentine’s Day.

Plan Ahead & Be Patient
Valentine’s Day is definitively a great time to build your children’s self-esteem with careful planning and effective communication.

Make Valentine’s Day Cards
Put on your creative caps and design your own imaginative Valentine crafts with your children. They will likely love making Valentine’s Day Cards as much as they will enjoy sharing them with their friends, family and classmates.

Go to a Movie or Museum
If you are on a budget, make it a movie night at home with your favorite family-themed DVD movies. There are also many free museums open everyday.

Throw a Valentine’s Day Party
Plan a Valentine’s party – prepare invitations, decide on some group games, get some treats together and spend a fun evening together.

Cook and Share a Meal Together
Take a cooking class or download some favorite recipes and cook a Valentine’s Day meal together. Working as a team in the kitchen can be a special bonding experience. You may wind up with a meal better than you’ll find in a fancy restaurant.

Volunteer Together
Why not give a little something back to the community while instilling voluntarism and civic duty in your children?  Volunteering will teach your children to actively connect with the community, build more trusting relationships and reap the joy of enriching lives through compassionate service to others. Your children can learn early that helping other people in need is important.  One charity I recommend is The Fatherhood Educational Institute (

Tell Them You Love Them – Often
Love can be celebrated with or without gifts.  Simply remember to say “I love you” – that is what Valentine’s Day is all about!Spending time together is the best gift of all and it can make a world of difference.

Whatever you decide to do, utilize this Valentine’s Day to let your children know that they are special.  The activities themselves are not as important as the time you spend together; these memories will last a lifetime. Always remember, love is important but not enough.  Let your children know that you will always be there for them – and be there.