Whether things are currently difficult at home, or your child is struggling at school, or you simply want to ensure that your child has a positive sense of well-being, finding different ways to show your child that you love them can have an enormous impact on their sense of self-worth and confidence. The words “I love you” might come to us easily, but more often than not, it is our deeds rather than our words that can have the strongest impression. There’s no need for grand gestures, instead focus on simple acts that can be repeated time and time again.
1. Remember That Touch Is Important
Numerous studies have shown that a lack of physical contact can hamper a child’s development. Physical affection can help relieve stress and anxiety, and is a great, non-verbal way of showing your child that you care. Younger children will probably be happy to snuggle up, whilst older children may prefer something more subtle, such as a ruffle of their hair or a light rub on their back.
2. Pay Attention
It’s easy to be engrossed in your phone or the television whilst your child witters on about a toy or a cartoon they have seen. Even if you come out with the occasionally “Uh-huh” or “That sounds good” to make it sound as though you are paying attention, your child will almost certainly know that you are not. Put the phone down, turn the TV off, and really listen to what your child is saying. Your undivided attention will really help your child to feel valued. We all need downtime, especially when we have a chatterbox on our hands, but even devoting just 20-minutes a day of non-stop attention to your child will make a huge difference.
3. Add In Some Humour
Ever feel as though you spend all day, every day, telling your child to do things? Brush your teeth. Wash your hands. Put your shoes on. Put your toys away. Do your homework. Stop being silly. Go to bed. If you feel that you are spending too much time being an instructor than a parent, then you probably are. Children need boundaries – that’s true – but add in a little light relief every now and then to show your child that you are more than a robot who is in charge of their behaviour. Tell them a funny story or a joke. Do a dance with them. Draw them a funny picture. Pull a funny face. Your child will appreciate your efforts and is less likely to resent you when you do tell them to do something.
4. Write A Note
If your child is finding school difficult, then write them a note to hide in their book bag or lunch box to read whilst at school. It doesn’t have to be a long and extravagant love letter, a simple “Mummy loves you” will suffice. It will be a great reminder for your child about how you cherish them during the times that you can’t physically be there.
5. Secret Gestures & Codes
Sometimes if your child has other children over to play they might not appreciate you gushing about how much you love them and become embarrassed. Have a special secret gesture or code word that you both agree means “I love you.” This can help your child when perhaps a play date is going wrong. Furthermore, the fact that it is something that only you and your child understand will give it a unique significance to your child.
6. Have A Special Activity To Do Together
Doing a fun, regular activity with your child will help them to bond with you further. Again, there is no need for anything extravagant. You could have a regular board game evening, attend a parent and child swim session, or simply go for a walk. These fun, regular activities are things that your child will remember the most when they grow up.
7. Throw Out The Rules Every Now And Again
Along with the fun, regular activities mentioned above, the other moments your child will remember most are the silly times when rules get abandoned. For example, when you let them splash in so many puddles they filled their wellies with water. Or the time you let them have such a large ice cream it ended up all over their clothes and face. Or the time when you let them pull all the cushions off the sofa and create a giant sofa fort in the living room. Rules are ok most of the time, but letting go of the rules, relaxing, and simply letting your child have fun will remind them that you are so much more to them a rule maker. You are the person who lets them be themselves.