10 ways to tell your little ones, "I love you"
“What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a parent?” my friend asked me the other day. Um, do you have the rest of the day? I thought. I’ve only been a parent for three years, but I’m pretty sure the lessons I’ve learned so far could fill an entire book. And that would certainly only be the beginning! Being a mom means I'm constantly learning.
Despite the lame on-the-spot answer I came up with (yeah, on-the-spot, not my strength!), the question rolled through my mind all day before I came up with an answer that I felt came close to encompassing the most important lessons I’ve learned on this adventure of motherhood. You can never give too much love.
As an adult with responsibilities and a to-do list as tall as a Brachiosaurus (we're a little obsessive about dinosaurs these days!), it’s often easy to forget that my little guy is a person - a person that deserves respect, attention and never is too full to soak up more love. So, I put together a little reminders list for you and me. Here’s 10 ways we can give our little ones some extra love.
- Tell them. Yep, obvious, but oh so important.
- Make a smile be the first thing they see in the morning. Their sweet smile back to you is bound to start your day off great too!
- Really watch and listen to them. You may be surprised how much they’re capable of telling you.
- Take a breath before you tell them, “Just a minute.” Is it really necessary or is it a knee-jerk reaction that could be replaced with your attention?
- Venture into their world and play with them. Show interest in what matters to them.
- Thank them for all the good they do and for all the happiness they bring into your world. My little guy will do something without me asking then excitedly say to me, “Mama so happy!” The joy that comes with knowing my sweet boy knows he brings me happiness… priceless.
- Give out hugs, cuddles and kisses without reservation.
- Set boundaries and stick to them. A child with clear boundaries and consistency feels cared for, secure, and loved.
- Put down your phone / iPad / book /
and look them in the eye. Listen, play, tickle, whatever it is, give your full attention to that moment.
- Default to understanding before anger. Accidents happen, mistakes are made. That’s what learning, exploring, and growing is all about - for all of us.