As a mom of two, I often wonder if I am doing enough for them. Juggling a career/business, friends, marriage, bills, self-care, and parenting can feel like an impossibly overwhelming task, and at times, I fall short in one or more of these areas of my life. Despite loving my kids with every fiber of my being, they too have gotten less than my all, now and then. No matter what your life and your busy schedule look like, you have probably experienced the same thing. Cue mom guilt! This universal feeling can wreak emotional havoc. So, we do our best to provide for our kids and raise good humans.
As we go through the motion of brushing hair, packing lunches, doing laundry, shuffling them back and forth to school (or karate, gymnastics, dance, soccer, etc), doing homework, and whatever else we can fit into the routine, we hope they know that we are doing it out of love. However, the odds are, that they take it for granted. They are kids! We all know that it is important to tell our kids that we love them but by now, they have likely heard it thousands of times. Naturally, those precious words may lose their value. Now don’t panic! There are other ways how to show kids love and you are likely doing some of them some of the time.
Here are 5 tiny ways to show your kids you love them, beyond simply saying it:
1. Listen to them
And I do not mean fake listen to them by bobbing your head up and down while you multitask. Now is the time to put down your smartphone, turn off the TV, step away from the computer, take a mindful moment, let go of whatever is taking up mental space, and pay attention to your kids. Just like adults, kids have a lot of thoughts throughout the day. Unlike some adults, they may not have the skills to ask you to focus on them and what they are saying. Make it your mission to tune in to what your kids are saying throughout the day. Your unwavering attention will not go unnoticed.
2. Ask them for their opinion
If you thought listening to them did the trick, wait until you ask them what they think about something! By giving them a platform to express their opinions, you are telling them that they matter. And when you learn more about your kids’ ideas, assumptions, and beliefs, you get the chance to know them and connect with them on a deeper level. Knowing that their opinion matters to you will surely give them the feels.
3. Hug them
There are several benefits to hugging your child including relieving stress, elevating both of your moods, boosting their self-esteem, building trust, and reinforcing a sense of safety. Hugging helps develop confident and well-adjusted little beings. What a gift to give them! Now that’s love! Bonus: To kick your hugging into high gear, take a stab at cuddling. Your kids will be feeling the love to the max!
4. Cook or order their favorite meal
Nothing says “I love you” quite like food. Except, maybe knowing that somebody gets you. When you have taken the time to notice what your kids love to eat and can provide that for them, they will get the message loud and clear. You love the heck out of them and are not afraid to show it! Bonus: Make an event out of it! Give it a snazzy name and engage your kids in fun dinner conversation! Sloppy Joe Sunday is sure to be a hit!
5. Set aside one-on-one time with your kids
Whether you spend that time playing board games, having a dance party, cooking a meal with them, or taking a walk is not important. What is important is that your kids know that you have dedicated this moment to being with them. Your “kid date” will reinforce that you care enough about them to set aside special time just for them and they will feel the love vibes. Saying “I love you” is important but showing it creates warmth and fuzzies with a lasting impact. Oh, and your kids will love it too!
Chamin Ajjan is a licensed clinical social worker and author of Seeking Soulmate: Ditch The Dating Game and Find Real Connection.