We know that the single most beneficial thing we can do for our kids is to love them. Kids thrive when they feel loved.
It seems straightforward, doesn’t it? We all know how to love our kids, don’t we? But I’m not sure that love is that straightforward.
I know my husband and I show our love for our kids in different ways. My husband is much more expressive in telling the kids he loves them, and giving them lots of cuddles. Whereas, I’m more likely to help my kids, and teach them how to be a decent person.
But it’s worthwhile to remember these five ways to show our kids love. And recognize when we do them.
1. Being warm and affection ate
Being warm and affectionate is one of the more obvious ways we can show our kids love. It could be morning cuddles, snuggling up with a book at night, or randomly saying ‘I love you’.
2. Doing activities together
Kids get a lot of value and enjoyment out of doing fun activities with us whether it’s sitting on the floor with a puzzle, finger painting or going for a bike ride. Even if it doesn’t seem fun for us (and there are a million others things that need to get done), getting involved in our child’s fun can be infectious.
3. Paying attention
One of the more powerful ways to validate our children and help them feel loved is to pay attention to them. They want us to notice when they do something new or fun or funny! If we’re too distracted, we can miss moments to share in their world. We can’t pay undivided attention to our kids every minute of every day (and we wouldn’t really want to because that doesn’t necessarily help our kids). But taking a little time every day helps show our love.
4. Saying no
I think one of our most important jobs as parents is to help teach our kids what’s appropriate and acceptable behavior. Kids learn this when we set some boundaries and stick to them. That involves saying no when we need to, even if our kids don’t like it. To me, that is another very important aspect of loving our children.
5. Focusing on strengths
I think everyone, including kids, really thrive when we reinforce and encourage their strengths. Sometimes we can be so focused on stamping out the negative behaviour that we forget to highlight and encourage the good behaviour. All of our kids have amazing strengths that we can cultivate and delight in everyday.
Jodie Benveniste is a psychologist, parenting author, TEDx speaker, and author of four parenting books, including Intuitive Parenting: Unlocking the secrets to raising incredible kids. Visit her website at jodiebenveniste.com.