25 Non-Cringey Ways to Show Your Teen Love This Valentine’s Day

Because even though they act all cool, they still crave your love and affection

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 25 Non-Cringey Ways to Show Your Teen Love This Valentine’s Day

Co-Written by: Morgan Hill & Nancy Reynolds

Ahhh… Valentine’s Day! Showing our kids how much we cherish and adore them gets a tad trickier when they become teenagers, especially considering a lot of teens aren’t “typically” too big on sappy or sweet. 

But hey, there are still plenty of fun, not-so-sappy ways to show your teen your love without making them run for cover, roll their eyes or cringe – awesome ways that are BIG on impact but low on cost and time! 

After all, it doesn’t matter how big our kid’s feet get, how deep their voice becomes or how independent they pretend to be, they still crave our love and affection – even if they don’t admit it. So, check out these non-cringey ways to show your teen love this Valentine’s day!

25 Non-Cringey Ways to Show Your Teen Love This Valentine’s Day


1. Text a (Not Too Sappy) “Love” Note

We all know teens (most, anyway) aren’t big on ‘”sappy.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t send them a sincere, heartfelt, or encouraging text. If that’s a little too serious for your taste, send them a funny text, silly GIF, or cute quote – anything that puts a smile on their face and lets them know you’re thinking of them is a big win on Valentine’s Day!

2. Pack a Special Treat in Their Lunch

Surprise your teen by packing a little something extra special for school snacking. It can be one of their favorites, a special Valentine’s Day treat like this delish Valentine’s Puppy Chow, or a small box of chocolates to share with friends. Trust me, teens will never turn down food!

Find the recipe for this Valentine’s Puppy Chow at Kitchen with My 3 Sons HERE


3. Buy a Silly Valentine’s Day Gift

Check out the local drugstore, Walmart, Target, or Dollar Store for great Valentine’s gift ideas your teen might like (that aren’t too embarrassingly mushy OR expensive). Whether it’s a snuggly teddy bear with a big red bow around its neck or an oversized heart box chock full of chocolate, teen girls AND guys will love it (even if they do hide it when their friends come over). 

4. Create a FUN Coupon Booklet (Free Printables HERE!)

It’s such a fun (and inexpensive) gift idea that your teen will flip over! We absolutely love the coupon idea below (I mean, come on, what  better way is there to show your teen love this Valentine’s Day than with an “I Win This Squabble” coupon!) Need more ideas? How about these?

  • One FREE Hooky Day: Need a break? Want to skip school on a beautiful sunny day? This is your ticket to freedom!
  • I Get the Remote: When you really want to watch something on Netflix and the family is hogging the remote, this is your coupon for everyone to relinquish the remote to you.
  • Drive ME and MY Friends: Got somewhere to be and you don’t have a ride? Present this coupon!
  • Let’s Forget This Ever Happened: Ummm, yeah… remember that (kinda dumb) thing you did? We’re going to forget that ever happened when you present this coupon. 
  • Take Me Away Day: When life gets stressful, when you need a break, when you’ve had about all you can take and you need a mental and physical break from life, this is your ticket to relax and unwind. Maybe we hit the spa, go to lunch, escape for a long weekend or just chill in our jammies and watch TV all day – this day is all about YOU.

Image/FREE Printables Compliments of FreyTags Florist


5. Let Them Really Know How You Feel

Take a moment to really give your teen a sincere compliment or just let them know how you feel about them. Think about everything you love about them and make sure they take it in. Need ideas? How about something like this?

  • “My greatest wish is that you always know how much I love you and that you walk through your life knowing that I’ll always be here for you in any way I can. I love you… Happy Valentine’s Day.”
  • I love watching you when you’re with your friends. You truly are a great person and an awesome friend. You are an inspiration to me and so many others! You deserve all the love you receive this Valentine’s Day!
  • “When I tell you I love you, I don’t say it out of habit. I say it to remind you that you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. I hope you always remember that, sweetheart.” I love you always, Happy Valentine’s Day.”
  • “Life gets busy and sometimes I just don’t say it enough… you are and always will be my special Valentine. I love you FAR more than you’ll ever know. Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart!”

6. Whip Up a Valentine’s-Inspired Snack 

Have a special “filled with love” snack (or dinner) waiting for your teen when they come home from school, practice, or their job. Really anything goes as long as it’s red or pink or has hearts and it’s edible! PLUS, food is a love language for teenagers so it will fill their “love bucket” to the brim!

Find the Recipe for this Pepperoni Pizza Dip at Woman’s Day HERE


7. Take Them on a Date

Sneak in special, one-on-one time, just you and your teen. Take them to breakfast before school, pick them up for lunch or take them out for a special dinner. OR, let them pick something they’d like to do and coordinate a day and time. Focus on making a few memories! (Just don’t be offended when they want to go somewhere their friends won’t see them).

Need ideas? Check out these fun bonding ideas! 50 Father-Daughter Bonding Ideas Your Teen Girl Will Love AND 101 Fun Mother-Teen Son Bonding Ideas

8. Make Them a Special Valentine’s Day Gift Basket

Fill a basket with everything your teen might love! From delectable chocolate and festive candy to fuzzy socks, a gift card, or a new coffee mug – the ideas are endless! Just be sure to include a heartfelt note or card!

Looking for more basket ideas? Check out this post: 22 Crazy Cute DIY Valentine’s Gift Basket Ideas


9. Make Them a Homemade Valentine’s Card

Ditch the uber-expensive store-bought card this year and opt instead for a homemade card that says, “Just like you, this card is special and unique!” So, grab the doilies, glitter, and glue, and have a little fun making your teen a card they’ll treasure forever. 

Check out how to make this fun card at Fiber Artsy HERE


10. Hold Your Tongue for the Day

“Don’t forget to….!” “Why haven’t you…?” “When are you…?” “Why did you…?” Give nagging, lecturing, and reminding a break this Valentine’s day. For at least a day, hold your tongue and cut your teen some slack. They’ll love it and maybe even step up!

11. Do Their Chore(s) for the Day

Show your love by taking on one (or two) of your teen’s chores for the day. Walk the dog, do a load of laundry or make their bed. They’ll definitely appreciate it and feel a little “extra” loved.  

12. Leave Them Little “Love Notes”

Starting February 1st, leave a heart-shaped note on their bedroom door each day with a reason why you love them, why they’re a good person or why they’re an awesome friend or kind human being. Sometimes, our kids simply don’t hear it enough! (Oh, and no… they’re not too old for this!)


13. Don’t Take It Personally if They Spend the Day with Friends

As you too know, Valentine’s Day looks different now that your child is a teenager. Don’t feel bad or take it personally if they’d rather be with friends or go to a party instead of hanging with the ‘rents. Trust me… they still love ya, they’re just growing up! They’ll appreciate you for recognizing their needs without giving them a hard time.  

14. Express Faith in Them

Let them know you think they can do it! “It” being whatever they’re striving for. It doesn’t require a holiday to do this, but it’s a little extra love every teenager needs to boost them up and help them realize that they’re capable of anything they set their mind to.

15. Send Your Away-From-Home College Kid a Fun Valentine’s Care Package

It’s so hard being away from our kids any time of year, but it’s especially hard on holidays! Send your away-from-home kid a special care package because nothing says “I Love You” more than a little love from home. 

Need ideas? Check out these 12 Valentine’s Day Care Package Ideas for College Kids


16. Plan a Couple of Little Surprises

Fill their car up with gas, buy them that new video game they’ve been wanting, spring for a pizza for them and their friends, or hand them a $20 bill with a heartfelt card. Making your teen feel loved this holiday is all about knowing what will make them happy and putting on a smile on their face. It doesn’t have to be fancy and it definitely doesn’t have to cost a lot!

17. Whip Up a Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board

Got a Valentine cutie (or two or three) and you want them to feel special and loved? You really can’t go wrong with a festive Valentine’s Day-inspired charcuterie board like this one. Present this to your teen and they might just stick around all night long! 

For more Valentine’s Day-inspired charcuterie board ideas, check out this post:: 15 Teen-Friendly Valentine’s Charcuterie Boards That’ll Warm Your Family’s Heart


18. Focus on ALL the Positives

We should try to do this more often, anyway. But Valentine’s Day is a great day to focus on all the positives. Overlook the crumbs on the kitchen counter, their messy bedroom, and their dirty clothes that are two feet shy of the hamper. Instead, take note of all the great things they do throughout the day (no matter how small) and praise them for them. They need to hear it!

19. Give Your Undivided Attention

Too often we’re busy multitasking when talking to our teens. Today, (and try to make it a habit going forward) give them your undivided attention when they’re talking. I mean really listen. 

20. Make Them Breakfast in Bed

Who doesn’t love being pampered? Surprise them with a special breakfast served in bed. No teen ever said no to more time in bed and is there a teenager who doesn’t love food? They’ll love this special start to their day!


21. Make it a “YES” Day

So often we just have to say “no,” but this Valentine’s Day try saying “yes” to what you can. Whether that’s saying yes to a  hooky day, letting them off the hook on their chores, or letting them go somewhere on a school night, say yes this Valentine’s Day and watch as your teen basks in the glory of your love (and a bit of freedom).

22. Surprise Them with Flowers

Teenage girls love flowers but don’t be surprised if your favorite teen guy gets a little choked up (he’ll pretend he has something in his eye) when you present him with a colorful Valentine’s Day bouquet. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to say, “I Love You, ” that they’ll always remember!

Image Compliments of Smart School House


23. Post Something Sweet About Them on Social Media

Let the world know how much you love your sweet Valentine by sharing a sweet story, picture, or uplifting words about your teen. It doesn’t have to be too sentimental, lovey-dovey, or long. Just let ’em know they mean the world to you!

24. Buy Them Their Favorite Coffee Drink (Attach a Gift Card)

Do you have a teen who just loves Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee? Surprise them by springing for their favorite coffee drink and include a special Valentine’s Day card with a $10 gift card tucked in. Showing warmth this holiday doesn’t have to cost a lot… it’s the thought that counts!


25. Simply Say “I Love You”

Even if you say it a lot, show your teen love this Valentin’s Day by looking them in eye and telling them AGAIN  how much you love them. An authentic, heartfelt expression of love with a smushy, long hug (if they’ll let you) will go so much farther than any gift ever will. 

About Morgan Hill:

Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel, and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes, or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter

If you enjoyed reading, “25 Non-Cringey Ways to Show Your Teen Love This Valentine’s Day,” you’ll LOVE these other posts!

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Let’s share ideas! How will you show your teen love this Valentine’s Day? Comment in the section below!

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