This list was made with help from my kids. I asked them what I do that makes them feel loved. Hugs and Kisses at bedtime was the absolute first thing they said. Then they had lots of examples that involved candy. Apparently, candy=love around here. Oh dear…
I explained that I wanted to tell other moms and dads ideas of how to show love to kids. Once we dug a little deeper, they came up with this list that gives concrete and doable ways for grown ups to show love, and isn't totally candy focused ;). This post contains affiliate links to useful products (books in this case).
Kid Approved Ways to Show Them You Love Them
1. Give hugs and kisses at bedtime – Basic, yup, but it was at the top of the list when I asked my kids what makes them feel loved. Each of the kids has their own little ritual for bedtime snuggles. Butterfly kisses for one boy, a specific order of kisses and then back rubbies for the other and various animal and dolly tuck-ins for the three year old. Just tiny rituals can make up the foundation to a safe and cozy feeling of being loved. For many more ideas of simple rituals like this, you'll enjoy I Love You Rituals by Becky Bailey.
2. Help clean their room when it's super messy – Yeah, they need to learn to clean up after themselves, but sometimes, doesn't it feel better to do a job with company? I know I feel so much less overwhelmed when the kids pitch in with cleaning the rest of the house.
3. Bring home a little treat from the grocery store – It's always nice to delight people with food. It doesn't even have to be a sweet if you're trying not to eat much sugar. Buying the ingredients to a favorite meal and asking them to join you cooking says “I love you and I like working with you.”
4. Say Yes. Put aside your work for a moment and say yes – Yes, I'll read you that story. Yes, I'll push you on the swing. Yes, I can answer your question.
5. Invite them to help you with important work – When can you invite your child to help with real work? My kids said they like helping with things they know really matter for our family. Whether it's helping write a blog post, stirring the soup or brushing the dog, when the kids ask to help with a task, see if there is any part of it you can say ‘yes' to and you'll be showing that you value them and believe they are capable. You can even find ways toddlers can help with family chores.
6. Ask them what their best part and worst part of the day was – Dinner in our house isn't “official” until we've talked about our favorite part of the day. Sharing around the table not only gives us a chance to hear from each other, it also teaches conversation skills and gives everyone a chance to express what's important to them. If this question doesn't do the trick, you might try one of these printable conversation starters to get people chatting.
Showing love in the ways your kids most feel loved
Different people feel love in different ways – that seems really obvious, but on the other hand, sometimes I think we get caught up in our personal favorite ways to show love, instead of showing love in the way best suited to each child. I know I say, “I love you.” a lot and give lots of kisses, great – but sometimes my kids would like me to demonstrate my love by helping them or inviting them to talk with me.
More resources on how we show love:
- BOOK: I highly recommend the book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman for quick insight into your child's “love language”.
- ARTICLE: The Best Ways to Connect with Kids of All Ages in Just 10 Minutes
- JOURNAL: Prompts on Loving and Being Loved
It might take some observation and conversation to find out; what makes your kids feel loved?