As parents, we want our kids to know we love them. Thus, we may say “I love you!” often. However, our actions are important too. So, how do we show our love in ways that go beyond our words?
We obviously love our kids and want them to feel secure, which we can do through our actions and behaviors. Here some thoughts on the topic-
When your child comes up to you and tells you a story, really listen to them. Stop what you are doing and look them in the eye (I’m so guilty of being on my phone all the time). Ask them questions about the story.
We are busy, as we have jobs, bills to pay, and other commitments. But, it’s still important to make time to spend with them. For example, one memory I will always have of my mom is her taking me and my sister out to lunch once a week during the summer. My dad would also take us to museums and out to lunch. Thus, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day where we read with them or draw a picture with them, even the small amounts of time matter.
It can be as simple as making your kids their favorite breakfast. We may even buy their favorite candy on occasion. Obviously, we don’t want them to equate material things with love (so don’t go buying your kids a toy every time they ask lol). But it means a lot to them when we pay attention to the things they enjoy and like. For example, my mom knew how much I love chocolate, so occasionally she would buy me a pack of those little Hershey bars.
When your kids wake up in the morning, show your excitement. Even when I was older, my mom would show how excited she was to see me when I came home to visit from college (i.e., a wide-open door, a smile, and arms wide open waiting for me to hug her).
Hugs and physical contact of some sort are important. The importance of this is evident as soon as we are born (For instance, skin-to-skin contact with preemies helps them grow and go home sooner). Touch is important to our physical and mental development throughout our entire lives! So, whether it’s holding hands, a hug, a touch on the shoulder, or even sitting close to our child, physical contact has many benefits!
I have never seen my daughter so happy just to cook with me. She even has her own cooking set! This set may be a good one for you to try and it even comes with a kids cookbook:
To my daughter, this is a big kid or grown-up task, and it makes her feel important to be included in this activity.
The types of decisions you involve your kids in depends on the age of your kids, of course. My daughter is only 4, but I do include her in helping us decide what to have for dinner or what family outing to go on (within reason, of course). With my daughter, I usually offer 2-3 choices that she can pick from. When we include them in decision making, this makes them feel important and valued.
My mom was my best cheerleader. She encouraged me to be the best version of myself and reach for my dreams. She listened to what I wanted to do with my life, and she helped guide me along that path.
For example, when I spend a day with my daughter, I tell her how much I enjoyed it. Or I tell her how beautiful she is “inside and out”. Think of ways to compliment your kids.
Most of all, make sure your love does not have conditions to it. Unconditional love is important for self-esteem and resilience later on in life. So, for example, if your child is struggling with their grades, find ways to help them. Punishment may not be the answer here. We want our kids to know that we value and love them no matter what (We not agree with their behaviors at times, but we still love them).
If you want to learn more about how to effectively love your child unconditionally, this book is great:
I hope these ideas help you find ways to show your child love. Tell her kids that you love them often, but also show it in your actions. This will help build secure, resilient, and loving adults!
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