12 Most Everyday Ways to SHOW Your Kids You Love Them
A parent’s heart is full of an amazing depth of love for their children. It is a natural and necessary response to the presence of a new life. As a parent, most of us have probably experienced the overwhelming feeling of love that happens when first meeting our precious new child. As this child grows, so does our love for them. As a parent, we know the love, embrace it, and feel it. But how do we express it to them?
We can express it in the following twelve everyday ways.
1. Set Boundaries
Kids need boundaries. Without them they are in free fall mode. The boundaries tell them what is appropriate in behavior and action. Setting and adhering to boundaries gives them a sense of security and the ability to make the “right” choices. It shows them that you love them enough to not let them “free fall” through growing up.
2. Teach Them Household Skills
Teaching them the basic skills of running a household (cooking, laundry) is not only loving, it is one of the duties required by our title as parent. As they learn these skills, they are not only completing a task, but they are engaged in problem solving, special awareness, math skills, and physical activity.
3. Make Them Clean Up After Themselves
Taking care of their own belongings instills a sense of value for what they have. It teaches them responsibility for their own things, but also a sense of responsibility for other’s things.
4. Family Meal Times
If you think about it, special occasions and holidays are marked by breaking bread. The family meal time not only gives the kids a sense of connection with the family, but also lets them know that they are valuable and special enough to share a meal with.
5. Know Where They Are
Although they may not like having us in their business all of the time, knowing where they are is for their protection. It is because we love them that we want to know where they are. They may not see it in the moment. But, in the long run they will appreciate the love behind it.
6. Foster Their Creativity
Genuinely embrace their creativity – even if it doesn’t fit your definition of creativity. If it is drumming, give them the opportunity to play. If it is art or poetry, give them the tools they need to exercise that. Expressing their creativity is an expression of who they are. If we deny them that, we deny them the opportunity to grow into their own person.
7. Recognize Their Personality Strengths
Re-frame the “difficult” traits that you see in your child. That argumentative, not backing down exchange is demonstrating her tenacity. The constant discussion that he wants to have with you during a correction is really a negotiating skill. The continual asking of questions is inquisitiveness. All of these things are good and valuable tools in life. Because you love them, don’t squash the traits; direct the traits in the positive direction.
8. Supply Their Needs But Not All Of Their Wants
Give them what they need, but not everything they want. Of course we give them some of the things that they want, but giving them EVERYTHING waters down the value and appreciation for what they do have. The reality of life is that we don’t automatically get everything we want exactly when we want it. Sometimes the waiting makes the gift more special.
9. Hold Them Accountable
Hold them accountable for their actions. The world is full of consequences. Holding them accountable now teaches them about right and wrong, and prepares them to make those decisions in the real world.
10. Don’t Expect Them To Be The Best, But Expect Them To Give Their Best
Don’t expect them to be the “best” at the things they are doing, but do expect them to give their best. There is no shame in getting less than first place if the best effort was put in. They have a sense of pride if they know they did the best that they could, and that you are proud of that effort.
11. Be A Parent First, Be A Friend Second
Be your child’s parent before you try to be their friend. They need the guidance and wisdom that you can give them in your parenting role. It also helps us as parents to make decisions based on what is best for them and not simply what they would want to have happen. If it is a choice between being a parent and a friend to them… parent should always win the coin toss.
12. Say It! Say it! Say It!
Tell them you love them. When you are angry, say it. When you frustrated, say it. When you don’t particularly like them at the moment, say it. In small moments, say it. In big moments, say it. Say it for no reason at all, other than it just is. Say it, say it, say it!
Even more than the once in a while, special day big moments, we can show our children how much we love them in the everydayness of life.
Featured image courtesy of by cheerytomato licensed via creative commons.