10 Ways to show love to your kids

With Valentine’s day right around the corner (don’t remind me) there’s a lot of talk of how to show your amour that you adore them. Pinterest and the Intergoogles are chock full of ways that you can show the “him” or “her” in your world that they are special. I think it’s important to let those in your space know that they are important… or so I’ve heard… but I think that this time of year, with it’s focus on love, is also a great time to focus on showing love to our kids.

It is Easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.  ~Frederick Douglass

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life… work, bills, lack of sleep, lack of coffee, facebook drama, the latest TV series we are binge watching, marriage/dating relationships, parents, chores… Sometimes we forget that our kids notice the little things too. We can speak love loudest, not with our words, but in our actions.

10 Ways to show love to your kids


(1) Listen to them

I don’t mean the “yeah – I’m listening to you while I watch TV or listen to the radio, cook dinner, feed the dog, and move the laundry from the washer to the dryer” kind of listening.  I mean TRULY listen. Turn off the radio on the way home from school and let them entertain you.  Turn off the TV during dinner and let them tell you about their day.  Don’t limit the conversation to the things you feel important, but let them share their latest adventure on Minecraft for the 80 bajillionth time.

(2) Teach them

As parents, we teach our kids to walk and talk and feed themselves.  Some of us teach our kids household chores like laundry and dishes.  What tends to get forgotten though is teaching our kids how to think and plan.  We assume that since it is such a part of our daily existence, and something most of us we do every day that our kids too know this important skill.  Teach them.  Teach them to think plans through before they act.  Teach them to evaluate pros and cons of their choices before it becomes a discipline/punishment scenario.

(3) Watch them

A situation came up in the off kilter house and when I probed a bit as to WHY mini was upset that I discovered him doing something he shouldn’t, his response was “I get away with that at Dad’s cause he’s not watching.  You watch everything I do…” and while there was a resentment in his voice at getting caught doing something he shouldn’t, there was this undercurrent of knowing that Mom’s always watching.  I’m no helicopter parent but yes my child, I will always watch you and pay attention to you.  While he may not appreciate the eagle eye, the other message here is I love you enough to pay attention to you.

(4) Cheer for Them

I’ve talked before about being a cheerleader for my kids.  I believe that.  But not just at the sporting events where it’s expected, what about that class that your kid is struggling with and he finally pulls his grade up to passing?  CHEER FOR THAT!  What about the time your kid takes the initiative to empty the dishwasher without being asked?  CHEER FOR THAT! Catch our kids doing good and you might find that they do more of it.

(5) Share with them

The car rides home and dinner time conversations aren’t just a time to grill our kids about their day and what’s going on.  It’s also a prime opportunity to share bits and pieces of your world with them.  Even when you think they don’t/won’t care.  I see it with my own parents from time to time, even now that I’m a grown ass adult.  We tend to try to shield our kids from the crap we are dealing with.  We tend to put our happy face on and not lay our burdens on their tiny little shoulders… I’m no advocating that you go into great detail when it’s not age appropriate, but why wouldn’t we share that we are struggling with something at work, or that we are tired and frustrated about a situation with a friend.  Why not share the excitement of a promotion or a victory that you achieved?  Not only are you showing how to talk and share, but you are also telling your child that they are important enough for you to be honest with them.

(6) Write to them

A friend of mine is going to have surgery in another month or so and mentioned to me that he was going to write letters to those who are important to him “just in case” but the more we talked, the more he realized that he would give them to his “people” even when everything turned out ok.  He said to me “Why wait until the worst happens for [my people] to know how I feel?” By writing your words down, you not only communicate them effectively, but you also give them a tangible memento to hang on to.  Pack notes in their lunches.  Write them letters for their birthday.  Plan a set of letters to give them when they go off to college or wherever life takes them.

(7) Cry in front of them

Y’all know I’m a cryer… always have been… always will be… but I’m not embarrassed about my crying {most of the time} because I’m also teaching my kids that feelings are ok and don’t have to be hidden.  They already get to see us when we are happy and joyful and celebrating.  There’s nothing wrong with showing them when we are sad or hurt.  That’s not something to be used to manipulate anyone but honest and genuine feelings shouldn’t be stifled.  How else do we teach our kids that there’s nothing wrong with their feelings?

(8) Let them fail

This is a hard one for me… but yes, sometimes we have to let our kids fail a time or two so that they can learn how to get back up.  Letting them make mistakes… not bailing them out of every bad scenario… teaching them that they have the power to make it right.  It sucks sometimes… but if we always protect our kids from failure, how will they ever grow?  Are you planning to do the same until they are well into their 50’s?  Don’t let them win every game you play.  Let them get a bad grade on an assignment they only halfway did… give them the tools to succeed but then let them fly on their own.

Fall Seven times.  Stand up eight.

(9) Plan with them

Have a trip coming up?  Or even just a weekend?  Let them decide what to do as a family… even if what they want to do is lounge around all day in their jammies and play Minecraft.  Or whatever.  Let them review activities that you could do on your vacation and let them have input on what the family does.  By allowing your kids to help with the family decisions, you are telling them that they are important.  That you care about their opinions.

(10) Hug them

I don’t care how big my Giant gets, I will hug him as often as possible.  Same with Mini-Me.  More importantly though, I let them be the one to break the embrace first.  You never know just how much they need that affection and they should take all they need to refill their tank.

I know, there are a bajillion other ways to show love to our kids – what are some I’ve missed?  How do you show your kids that you love them?  How do they show you that the love is received and reciprocated?


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