February is all about love. We even have a day dedicated to it this month. So take a moment to tell the people you care about how much they mean to you. I’m not talking just romantic or familial love — it extends beyond that.

Who you would like to thank or tell them how much it means to you that they are in your life/the live of your family. Is it a best friend? A new friend? A distant relative? Who walks through your world otherwise unnoticed, but to whom you are extremely grateful? Here are a few key people that I’ve seen through my time working with families who are sometimes the unsung heroes outside of the familial unit.

TEACHERS/CARETAKERS – Drop your child’s teacher or caretaker a note to let them know how much it means to you that your child is happy in their class/loves having them/or how great it makes you feel knowing your child is in good hands. It’s a simple gesture that holds great meaning.

FAMILY CARETAKERS – Is there someone in your extended family who takes care of your child? Perhaps it’s a cousin, second cousin, great aunt? To show them your appreciation, invite them over for dinner and cook their favorite meal. Or sit them down over tea and tell them, face-to-face, how much it means to you that your child has them in their life.

YOUR NEIGHBOR – Has your neighbor ever saved your life in a pinch? Gotten then kids off the bus from you whilst you’re stuck in traffic? Holds your spare set of keys? Fed the fish while you’re on vacation? Tell them how much you appreciate having them in your life as someone you can rely on. Whether it’s in person, or while bringing over their favorite coffee or a homemade treat, this small recognition makes them feel appreciated and loved.

YOUR GP/NURSING STAFF/HEALTH VISITOR/HOME HELP – how many times (especially when you are a new parents) have you called your GP in the middle of the night panicked and worried? And how many times have they calmed you down or told you when you should be worried? Or when they’ve accommodated you last minute by squeezing your child in for the school physical you forgot to schedule? Or the last visit of the day? Send your GP an email of gratitude for everything they’ve done (and continue to do) to help make your family’s life a little easier and healthy. And maybe that front desk nurse or health visitor could use a Starbucks drink on you.

PRIEST/PASTOR/NUN/RABBI/RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY LEADER – Whomever you turn to in your religious community when you need guidance, it’s nice to recognize what they do for your family. A home-cooked meal, a handwritten note, or even a hand-knit scarf, gloves, or hat — whatever gesture you feel best fits their personality or needs, will brighten their day and remind them why they do what they do.

YOUR CHILD’S “PEOPLE” – Yes, your children have their own people, too. And they might be the same or very different than your own. So while they make their class Valentines, have them think of other people in their lives that they might want to make cards for. Get them thinking about all of the people who makes their lives and days happy.

This simple act of family mindfulness is a great reminder to both ourselves and to our children, how important it is to respect, appreciate, and love one another.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

x Jo

Copywritten by Jo Frost

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