Show and Tell: Loving Your Kids Every Day
Showing love for one another is always a great idea, and what better day to recommit to healthy relationships than Valentine’s Day?
Even though Valentine’s Day ads and cards tend to focus on romantic love, showing your children how much you love and care for them is a wonderful way to celebrate. Especially during this time of uncertainty and isolation, intentional acts of love and kindness help the children in your life feel better and more secure, and the benefits can last far beyond February 14.
Ways to show your love
- Encouragement: Give your child encouragement! Even small things like, “You’ve got this!” or “I knew you could do it!” can go a long way to training the voice in their heads to be nice instead of mean and to show them grace. Small things like a pat on the back when they finish a task or a hug when they look frustrated can show them how much you love them and want them to succeed. Sarcastic comments and put downs, even if you are “joking,” can be easily misunderstood, cause hurt feelings, and teach kids to ridicule themselves and others. Lean on positivity and building your child up!
- Respect: Show respect and model the respect you want from them by saying “please” and “thank you” and by apologizing when you make a mistake. If you show your child respect, they will learn that they are a person of value, and they will show respect to others.
- Physical affection: Hugs, kisses, sitting together, laying down with your child to read a bedtime story. Physical affection releases hormones that make you feel happy and bonded with those you love. If you have a child who doesn’t like physical affection, try fist bumps or ask what they like instead.
- Quality time: Watching a movie, playing video games, baking a special treat, cooking a meal together, or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Remember those feel-good hormones that come from physical affection? They surge when you spend time with someone you love too!
Don’t forget to tell them
Even though showing love is incredibly important, they need to hear it too. Be sure to tell your kiddos (even when they are teens and older) you love them as often as you can. For some parents, especially those who didn’t hear it growing up or are uncomfortable showing emotion, it may be difficult or feel strange to say “I love you” out loud. But it can’t be overstated how important it is to tell your children you love them. They might seem embarrassed or say, “Ugh, I know that!” but it does their little hearts and brains an infinite amount of good to be loved by the grown-ups who care for them.