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5 tasks you *don't* have to do to be a good parent this Valentine's Day

Your kids will have a great day no matter what, because there's a lot of love between you all—on Valentine's Day and every other day, too.

5 tasks you *don't* have to do to be a good parent this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day, now celebrated not only at home and at school but also at every extracurricular a kid is involved in, has gotten big. Where a foldable Valentine from CVS may have cut it when you were a kid (BIG bonus if there was an off-brand tootsie roll taped inside) there now seem to be a whole set of things we "have" to do.

Sure, it feels good to make our kids feel good and it can be fun to make the holidays special but, if all your hard work's not bringing you some major joy, it's probably time to cut it out.

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This Valentine's Day feel free to skip obsessing about what you “should" do and keep it simple by crossing these chores off the list.

1. You don't have to buy your kid a Valentine's Day outfit

In order to be a good parent this Valentine's Day you don't have to buy your baby a “my first valentines" onesie. Your daughter doesn't need ruffle bottom pants. Your son is not required to wear a “little heartbreaker" shirt. No one needs a bow or a bow tie or anything in any specific shade or red or white or pink. Sibling sets (even twins!) don't need to match or coordinate or even look half decent standing next to one another.

On February 14th, in order to be a good parent your child should wear clothes, something weather appropriate if they'll cooperate. Shoes are a bonus.

2. You don't have to craft anything

You don't need to paint your baby's feet and try to angle them just right as you press them to paper so they make a little heart you can Instagram and toss in their keepsake box. You don't have to glue googley eyes or pom-poms or shaped cut-outs onto anything at all. You can leave the glitter tucked away and the colored pencils in their case.

This Valentine's Day, in order to be a good parent you should compliment your kid's art. Or hang something they made on the fridge. Or look at the “art" they brought home from school for more than five seconds before hiding it under yesterday's paper in the recycle bin.

3. You don't have to bake a special treat

Your kids don't need to wake up to pancakes in the shape of hearts. They don't need a pink smoothie or a sprinkled cupcake. Their friends don't need caramel corn wrapped in red cellophane with a handmade tag that says “you make my eyes POP!!!" They don't even need a Valentine's Day little Debbie in their lunchbox. This February 14th your kids should eat. Regular food is fine.

4. You don't have to have a photo session

This Valentine's Day you don't have to photograph anything to be a good parent. You don't need to book a session with a photographer, you don't need to “hurry up as mini sessions are filling fast!" There's no need to strip your baby to their diaper in cover them in lipstick kisses or dress your toddler in a tutu and cupid wings. You don't have to shop for coordinating-but-not-matching family outfits for your session on the farm or pick out the perfect boots for your snapshots on the train tracks.

This Valentine's Day, if you're worried that your kid won't have access to their childhood memories, pull up Facebook and remember that you've been posting their picture online since they were a fetus. Take comfort in the fact that your timeline is easier for them to take to college than any sort of baby book.

5. You don't have to be involved at all in the class party

You don't have to send in snacks. You don't have to send in crafts. You don't have to arrive early or stay late or take a long lunch to pass out cupcakes and wipe up spills. You don't even have to apologize for not doing any of it.

If your kid is too little for school, then you don't have to organize a Valentine's Day themed play date or tea party or picnic. If your kid is too little for school you don't even have to tell them it's Valentine 's Day. This Valentine's Day, in order to be a good parent you do whatever it is you do with your kid on any regular Thursday.

You CAN do any of this, of course, if you WANT to. But all I'm saying is please don't feel pressured to. Your kids will have a great day no matter what, because there's a lot of love between you all—on Valentine's Day and every other day, too.

This V-Day all you have to do is keep doing what you do all year long—love 'em, feed 'em and try your hardest to get those kiddos to bed on time. 😉

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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