Valentine’s Day is a great time to teach children about healthy relationships. Encourage children to focus on the people in their lives who are important to them: parents and caregivers, friends, extended family, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and other people who care for and teach them. Love comes in great variety. The ancient Greeks identified four types of love: Kinship, Friendship, Romantic, and Divine. In modern times, research has identified many additional types of love. Teach lessons for Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love in all its forms, so we can help children learn to give and receive love that is healthy and age appropriate.
For young people ages 9 to 12, I encourage you to avoid focusing on romantic relationships and having a boyfriend or girlfriend. This pressures kids to take on adult behaviors before they are developmentally ready. This article by Scary Mommy says it well.
One of our goals as parents, caregivers, educators, and other trusted adults is to help children learn how to socially and emotionally healthy. By developing social-emotional skills, children can learn how to form healthy relationships of all kinds. Learn more about this here.
If you are teaching Puberty: The Wonder Years, consider teaching these lessons that focus on healthy relationships:
- Grade 4: Lesson 4-2 “Families and Roles,” expressing appreciation for family and trusted adults
- Grade 5: Lesson 5-7 “Respecting Our Friends: Consent,” practice identifying respectful relationships that include consent
- Grade 6: Lesson 6-4 “Healthy Relationships,” compare friendships and romantic relationships and what makes healthy relationships
Read the Synopsis of all Puberty: The Wonder Years lessons to learn more.
For a fun story about penguin “love,” read this.