Monday, February 25, 2013

Ten Fast, Easy Ways to Show Love to Your Child

Sometimes we make life too hard, convincing ourselves that we don't have time to do the things we want or need to in order to have a loving family environment. We are limited only by our own minds. Showing love to our children and grandchildren--and teaching them how to love through example--can be so simple. It just takes some creative thinking. Here are five simple ways to show love to your children or grandchildren.

1) Attend your child's sports events, plays, musical recitals, concerts. You may miss a few for work, or you may be pleasantly surprised when you ask your boss for an hour off to attend these important events. Either way, just seeing your smiling face in the crowd will be enough to fill your child's heart with love.

2) Read to your child. Let your child choose the book. Keep plenty of books in your house, too. They take up very little space, far less space than toys. Read to your child before bed, but don't limit yourself to bedtime. If your child seems bored or is spending too much time in front of the television, push the button, turn it off, and ask your child to fetch his or her favorite book. Again, you don't have to spend hours on this task. If it's a long book, read a chapter. If it's a short book, take a deep breath, relax, stop thinking about work and bills and the conflict of the day and focus on that special cuddly moment with your child.

3) Sing to your child. My granddaughter used to love the Happy Birthday song when she was two, so I sang it to her all the time. Even though she knew it wasn't her birthday, she loved the attention, the repetition of her name, and the joy that comes from filling a house with the sound of singing.

4) Listen to your child. When your child is speaking, do not continue stirring, writing, watching television. Do not say, "Wait a minute! This is the good part in the movie!" Pause the movie, hold the spoon still, put down your pen, turn and face your child and listen. Do not prod your child, finish his or her words, or tell your child to "hurry up." Give your full attention to what your child is trying to say.

5) Hide a love note under your child's pillow and don't tell him or her it is there. It doesn't matter if your child finds the note that night or two days later, it will still fill your child's heart with love.

6) Create a secret signal that means "I love you," a signal that only you and your child know and understand. If you have more than one child, create a different signal for each child, and use the signal often, as often as you can. Tug on your ear, scratch your head, scratch your nose, be silly, but show your love as often as possible. This one is particularly fun because it only takes a few seconds to show your love, less time than it takes to speak the words.

7) Play a game with your child. Board games are great fun and there are so many designed for little children. If you don't have a lot of money, ask your friends if they have old board games their children have outgrown, or check the local thrift store. Board games take a little more time, but your time will be focused on your child, and time and attention are great ways to say "I love you" without words.

8) Tell your child how wonderful you think he or she is, say it often, and say it for no apparent reason. Make it a random act of love. When your child is walking out the door for school, coming in from play, getting ready for bed, speak the words and make it clear. "I think you are wonderful." They are wonderful, loving words to hear.

9) Praise your child in public. This doesn't have to be excessive. Don't embarrass your child or make your child feel silly, but do compliment your child in front of friends and family so they feel special, recognized, loved and appreciated. Did your child do well in school? Play in a particularly hard game of sports? Clean his or her room without being told? Tell someone about it, and make sure your child is close enough to hear your praise.

10) Dance with your child. If a song comes on the radio or television, grab your child's hand, get up and dance! You don't have to look great, you can be silly, have fun, jump around the room, hold hands, or imitate each other, and for just a few minutes, as long as the song lasts, show your child your love by sharing a special moment of fun.

These are just a few easy suggestions. No one knows your child like you do. Use these suggestions to create your own quick and easy expressions of love. Fill their hearts and lives with love and create a tradition that will be carried on for years to come. 

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