Can you remember what made you feel loved as a kid? Think about it. Maybe you remember having a great time with your parents, holidays, being helped with homework or just telling them a few secrets. As a parent now, are you making the effort to make your kids feel loved? Very often, it is the small things that count. Here are 15 ways to make your kids feel loved. When you become grandparents, you will be touched that they still remember them.
1. Turn off your smartphone.
When you get home or your kids get back from school, turn off your phone and give them your full attention at least for the first half hour or so. The kids love this because they know you are not going to be distracted by texts as they tell you what happened at school. The Swedish government did a poll and discovered that 33% of kids complained that their parents were always on their smartphones.
2. Turn off the TV and all gadgets at mealtimes.
Not much fun when kids have to compete with TV commercials or everybody texting away. Mealtimes are rare moments to enjoy each other’s company. There are enormous advantages for kids. They eat more healthily as it is not rushed. They also enjoy the companionship of their parents and they are much less likely to have an eating disorder later on.
3. Make bedtime a precious moment.
With younger kids, they will always treasure those moments when you read them a story as they drift happily into sleep. It is enormously reassuring and it is a unique bonding experience for parents and kids. The extra bonus is that this also helps your child’s brain development.
4. Show physical affection.
Countless studies show that kids thrive on warmth and affection. The child feels loved and will have a greater self-esteem. There is no need to go overboard but a kiss or a hug once a day will do you both a lot of good. It lessens the chances of your kids becoming aggressive, anti-social and having other behavioral problems. While adolescents might be embarrassedat the physical affection, there should always be words of support and empathy to take its place.
5. Spend quality time with each child.
It is wonderful when a parent or both parents can spend quality time on a one-on-one basis with their kids. This is great because they feel special and their brothers and sisters are not around. It can be anything from playing sports, cooking, or helping with chores. There is no better way of showing your kids that you really love and cherish them.
6. Discipline them with love and affection.
There are still parents who believe that beating a kid is probably the most effective and time saving way of dealing with discipline. The kid learns that violence is an effective way of dealing with disagreement and conflict. The key to successful parenting is not to switch on the love when they do well and deny it when they misbehave. There are no conditions but just a steady flow of affection so that kids feel their parents’ love is truly unconditional.
7. Leave funny and affectionate notes and messages.
It can be a text or a little note tucked under their pillow. It can be a joke, an affectionate nickname or anything that shows the kids they are still on your radar.
8. Look into their eyes.
The best way of communicating with your kids is to look them straight in their eyes as you talk to them. Eye contact is so important in this age when everyone is glued to some computer, device or phone. The child can learn to wait until he or she has your full attention but this is worth waiting for. It is also a great lesson to teach a child that eye contact is a very important social skill as they get older.
9. Smile more often.
What better way of showing your love and warmth for your children than smiling every time they come into the room. This immediately puts them at ease and also confirms that their presence is valued and that they are not a nuisance. There may be times when they will need to be reminded about bad behavior but why not use the other 90% to show that you love them?
10. Be a great role model.
How many times have you told your kids what to do, how to be polite and to always wear their seat belt? Oftentimes, parents forget that they must be the perfect role models because children are great copycats. No better way to show that you love your kids than to walk the talk. Be kind, affectionate and caring to others and teach your kids to be color-blind about race.
11. Involve them in decision making.
What to wear for school the next day or where to visit when you go on holidays can be decided together with your kids. Make sure your kids are fully involved and engaged. It is also great for kids to start learning how to make decisions with their parents’ guidance.
12. Just play with them.
When kids were interviewed, they often said that they felt there was far too much going on and that they were overscheduled. They really want some downtime with their parents where they can just play, have fun, laugh and be together. It might be a good idea to cut out one or two activities so that you just do not end up being their chauffeur!
13. Take action when your child is unhappy.
There may be problems at school with bullying or with the sports coach. Show that you care and ask to see the people involved and just try to find out what is the cause of the tension and unease. It may well be the child’s fault but when it is not, there is an ideal opportunity to show that you are there for them and you will be their champion. You can do practical thingslike participating in a bully prevention program at your kids’ school and also teaching your child how to react when bullied.
14. Save the cards and gifts.
When your child gives you a note, funny drawing or little poem, show that you care by treasuring them. Put them in a special drawer or folder. Show the child a photo of where you keep a favorite picture in your office. You can take digital photos of the artwork and store them on a photo sharing site. Show your kid the results at regular intervals. It gives the child a great sense of achievement It also saves loads of precious storage space at home.
15. Never interrupt their stories.
When a child has a story to tell about what happened at school never interrupt them but hear them out. The same goes when they want to share a book with you or show you a picture story. They will feel loved and wanted. If parents ignore them or are far too busy, kids will be the first to suffer and it is likely to last into adolescence and adulthood unless we really make the effort now.
Love and affection are the foundation of happiness. By showing kids this love every single day, we are giving them the greatest gift of all.
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle