Showing Your Kids That You Care
By John Teng
Kids need to feel loved; and sometimes that means going out of your way to show them how you feel. Not sure how to express your true emotions to your child? Here are 10 great ways to say “I Love You” without actually saying it.
- Plan special “you and me” time. It doesn’t have to be a big date, but do try and carve out some one-on-one time with each of your kids. Maybe your three-year-old loves trucks. Take him to the local fire station to see the trucks. Or maybe your teen loves ice cream. By all means, plan an ice scream date. It is simple times like these that will help you build the kind of relationship with your kids that will last a lifetime.
- Solicit your kids’ help. Everyone knows that toddlers love to lend a hand. Be willing to let your kids roll up their sleeves and pitch in (even when it makes the job harder). But don’t stop there. As your kids grow, they need to feel as if you trust them with more important jobs. From time to time let your kids help with those bigger – more complicated – tasks. Handle a big job together – be sure to watch your attitude though. Losing your patience or getting aggravated by your child’s inability to get it right won’t help you build the bond that you are after. Be prepared for mistakes and learn to plough through them with a smile.
- Listen to your child’s dreams. No matter how goofy they may seem to you, take your child’s dreams seriously. Be supportive and offer guidance. It may be true that your young son will never be a super hero like in the comic books, but who knows, with some encouragement, he could become a firefighter, policeman or some other super hero in today’s modern world.
- Leave your kids love notes. No need to be gushy here, but if you travel a lot or come home after your kids have gone to bed, leave a note telling her how much you missed her today; wishing him luck on the big test; or simply leave a note saying have a great day. Occasionally texting your kids short notes of encouragement can also be a wonderful way to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Take a class together. No matter what your child’s age, find something you can learn together. Choose something you aren’t good at (or have never tried) to give your child the chance to excel at something where you won’t overshadow him. Maybe you want to learn jazz, or painting, or golfing. It doesn’t matter what the activity, just pick something you both want to learn – or get batter at.
- Learn the names of your kids’ friends. Nothing says I care more than taking time to know those in their life. – Just be sure to avoid trying to chum up to their friends; that’s too weird.
- Hug your teenager. But don’t do it in public! You may get a weird look or even a blow-off the first few times, but teens need that kind of support and hunger for it, even though they balk at the idea.
- Never tell embarrassing stories about your kids (either in their presence or when they aren’t around). Embarrassing your kids is the #1 way to turn them away.
- Listen more and talk less. Kids tune out parents who talk too much; but are intrigued by those who listen to what they have to say. This is something that it hard for parents, but kids love it!
- Be more fun! Lighten up. You don’t always have to be the strict disciplinarian who’s constantly barking out orders. Take some time to relax and simply enjoy being with your kids.
Showing your kids how much they mean to you requires more than just words – it takes actions. We Dad’s aren’t always good at that sort of thing, but we need to try. As your kids grow, seek out ways to stay connected and keep showing your kids how much you love them – even when you don’t like them much.
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