By Jamie Perillo, LPC
Love is spoken in more than words, especially when it comes to parenting. Here are fourteen ways to tell your child, ‘I love you.”
1. Time: Nothing says, “I love you” more than spending individual, uninterrupted time with your child. When you spend one on one time you are building your child’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
2. Unplug: When you unplug from technology you are present with your child. You are also sending the message that they are more important than that email or phone call. Take time to unplug regularly – you and your child will appreciate it.
3. Communicate: Regularly take time to check in with your child. When you look them in the eyes, sit down, and talk about their day you are showing them you care. Additionally, you are creating a healthy foundation for your child to communicate in their friendships and future relationships.
4. Engage in regular rituals or family traditions: Create meaningful memories by starting family traditions or rituals such as “Friday family fun night.”
5. Cook together or engage in another healthy habit: Creating healthy meals, and even engaging your child in the process, sends the message to your child you care about their health. Cook together, attend a family yoga class, or go for a walk. Food and exercise aren’t love but creating healthy habits is.
6. Hug: Hug often. Hug every day. A hug is the easiest way for a quick connection. Everyone, including adults, require daily hugs.
7. Say “I love you”: As long as you are sincere you cannot say “I love you” enough for you never know when the last one will be. Look your child in their eyes and tell them you love them. Kids need to hear the words.
8. Be spontaneous: Plan a surprise pick up from school leading to an afternoon at the park or a special lunch. Taking the time to create a surprise says, “I love you” because it shows thoughtfulness and time.
9. Have a date with your child: Take a couple of hours to paint pottery, watch a movie, teach them an activity or learn one together. By having regular “dates” you create healthy bonding moments and space for communication.
10. Praise: Praise, praise, praise! You are building their self-esteem not only by praising their accomplishments but you are also showing them you notice their hard work big and small. This will reinforce positive behaviors in your child.
11. Go to their events: Take time off for their school concert, play, baseball game, and dance recitals.
12. Set rules: Creating boundaries, setting appropriate expectations, and following through says, “I love you enough to set these boundaries to keep you safe.” Be consistent and be the example.
13. Take time for you: Yes, this does say, “I love you.” When you take time for yourself you are telling your child, “I love you enough to take time for me so I can be the best I can be when I am with you.” You are also teaching them the importance of self-care.
14. Place I love you notes in their lunch box, make heart shaped pancakes, or create a mailbox at home for special notes: Little messages go a long way in brightening your child’s day, creating a space where they feel supported, and strengthens the protective circle they receive at home which helps them manage outside stressors more effectively.
TMN Blog Editor