“I love you.” 3 words that mean so much, yet we all have a tendency to take them for granted when we hear or speak them everyday. We try to teach our children that words mean things and have weight, but it’s also important to show them that we mean what we say. To quote George R.R. Martin, “Words are wind,” so it’s important that our children see us backing up our words with actions. Here are 5 ways to show your child you love them and to keep “I love you” from being just so much wind.
1. Spend time with them
If you have more than one child this can seem overwhelming. I am a mom who falls short of this on a regular basis. I know this because my almost 10 year old daughter tells me at bedtime, “Mommy, I miss you.”
I reply, “But I am with you all day!”
Then she says, “I know, but I still miss you. Can I snuggle with you?” How can I say no to that? I realize my time during the day can be strained, stressful, and filled with rushing and shuttling kids to and fro. Having an active baby that relies on mom for nutrition and safety doesn’t leave much time for mom to spend with the big kids. Remembering the BIG KIDS still need mom too is critical.
2. Listen, Really Listen to them
Boy, do I have a tough time with this one. I can only take so much talk of wrestling, video games, and Minecraft before my head starts to spin. Do you realize listening to your child helps give them value and show them that they are of importance to you?
3. Take interest in their interests
This is another time sink but will give you the tools to be interested and listen better. Remember #2? If you have some basic knowledge about your child’s interests then you won’t be as likely to stare at them blankly or shut-down when they go “all technical” on you. Maybe a quick wikipedia search, a short ebook, or time doing a craft or activity will catch you up to speed. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a new hobby that you and your child can do TOGETHER!
4. Encourage them
I do buy them supplies for their interests like Sharpie markers, Super Heroes, craft supplies and such. I find it much harder to spend money on new Lego’s and videos games since we have so many already. So do you encourage them to be creative and play with what they have? Do you encourage them to work or save up money to buy new? Do you reward an accomplishment or good behavior? Well, it all depends on your personality, your child’s personality, and your overall goal. If your main goal is to show love then rejoice with them on a new drawing or new level of Minecraft. Help them to have the supplies they need for a new craft or project.
5. Show them Grace
We all need grace, but especially our children. They need a safe place to grow up and feel accepted and loved. Some days I totally blow this by holding my children to unreasonably high standards. They are children after all not miniature adults. Grace comes from God and having a relationship with Him will give you a better perspective of how to show grace to your children.
Parenting, just like with any skill, you have to practice if you want to succeed. My challenge to you is to spend time with each of your children as well as take time to listen, learn a new skill or interest that involves them.
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