Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It can be fun to have a special day devoted to showing our children (and others) that we love them. But, our daily interactions are essential in showing our children that we love them.
Below you’ll find eight ways we can show children we love them throughout the year. Many of you may already be implementing some of these suggestions, but some of the suggestions may be ideas you want to consider implementing or revisiting in your family.
Most children will respond well to the strategies described below, but it is important to remember that each child is unique and some children may not respond as favorably to some of the suggestions based on their personal circumstances or history. Please consider your child’s unique needs as you implement these tips.
Additionally, as parents we have our own histories which may make it more or less challenging to show our children love in these ways. Please show yourself compassion when reflecting on areas for growth that you may identify as you review this list.
8 Ways to Show Your Children You Love Them Throughout the Year
- Tell them!
We all need to hear that we are loved. It is important to keep telling our children that we love them even as they get older and may be reluctant to tell us that they love us, too. If you didn’t grow up in a family that said “I love you” often this may initially be uncomfortable for you and this may take a lot of practice. Keep trying!
- Loving touch
Hugs, kisses, ruffling hair, roughhousing, holding hands or tickling are just a few examples of loving touch. It is important to consider your child’s age and level of comfort when choosing types of touch to show love.
- Showing interest in your child’s interests
You may not be “into” your child’s favorite sports, shows, books, movies or games, but showing an interest in your child’s interests is a great way to show your child that you love him or her. Try engaging in your children’s favorite activities with them or asking questions about the things that interest them.
- Remember things they have forgotten
Remembering the little things that were said in passing is a great way to show someone that you were listening to them. For example, remembering your child’s meal request or an activity you promised your child that you’d do “later.”
- Surprise them with reminders that you are thinking of them
It always feels good to know someone is thinking of you! Here are a couple of links to activities that could be used to let family members know when someone is thinking of them:
- Create routines or traditions that are unique to your family
Family routines or traditions can create a special way for your family to connect. Routines could be daily or weekly. Some families have special routines for mealtimes or bedtimes. Other families may have a special movie night. The specific routine or tradition doesn’t really matter as long as it is something that makes sense for your family. Including your child in creating a routine or tradition could help your child feel even more involved in the family.
- Whenever possible eat a meal together
Family meal times offer a great opportunity for connecting as a family. It can be stressful just preparing a healthy meal for your family and busy schedules can make it a challenge to find time to sit down for family meals, but research suggests many benefits to family meals. If you are interested in getting tips for mealtimes including; recipes, activities and conversation starters, I suggest you visit The Family Dinner Project. This website also provides a brief summary of the research on the benefits of family dinners.
- Being present to support your child and creating a community of others to offer support when you cannot
When possible, making yourself physically and emotionally available to support and nurture your child when they need you is a very powerful way to show your love. But the reality is that we cannot be with our children 100% of the time, so it is also important to help them build relationships with others who can offer them support when we cannot be present.
I could keep going with this list, but I said I’d only be providing 8 ways to show our children that we love them, so I’ll stop here. But you don’t have to stop; I encourage you to continue to think about the unique ways in which the children in your life would like to experience your love.
What strategies are you already using to show your children you love them? Are there any new ones you want to try or to emphasize in the coming week?
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Where there is love there is life.”
I hope your homes will be filled with love and life this week and throughout the year!