Real love. We know we have it for our kids because we felt it the moment we saw them. There is nothing in the world we’d rather do than see them happy, yet that feeling can often go by the wayside during an uncontrollable tantrum or a disappointment. Thankfully we can always get back on track after screwing up as a parent, simply by showing them some real love. These ideas may not be the end all be all, but they are certainly effective when TLC is in order.
Make the Small Things Count. Whether it’s helping them find their lost teddy bear or sewing up a hole in their beloved blanket, nurturing and showing compassion is an unspoken way to say I love you.
Remember Friends Names. All too often when kids are talking about their day and their new friends, it’s easy to forget the small details. Spend time each day asking your kids about the new friends they’ve made, what they have in common, and how they became friends. Even if they aren’t interested in sharing all, they’ll notice that you paid attention to their relationships and that means what’s important to them is important to you, and that’s real love.
Let Them Be Kids. For as long as you possibly can. Don’t tell your son that he doesn’t need a child’s toy and don’t tell your daughter she’s getting too old for dolls. Children don’t really want to grow up. Remind them it’s ok to slow down and cherish these moments they act their age and hold onto their youth a little longer.
Cook Their Favorite Meal. And make their favorite cookies too. Everyone loves to be surprised by being remembered for what they like and what treats they crave. Plan a full-course dinner and make them the special guest of honor. Celebrate mealtime and put the french fries on your best china plates.
Listen. Make eye contact when your kids speak to you. Get down on their level and let them address you with your full attention. Half-assed paying attention feels half-assed, even to kids. If you don’t take the time to let your children have a real conversation with you, eventually they’ll stop.
Make Things Right. Always make things right for your kid, whenever possible. If you rushed him out the door for the school bus and he forgot a much-needed class supply or his favorite beverage bottle, then fix it and drop it off at the school if you can. Your child will appreciate your thoughtfulness and smile knowing that mistakes can be remedied. That’s a little reminder of love.