“Love felt by the parent does not automatically translate into love experienced by the child”
There’s no doubt about it – a mother’s love is unconditional. It’s a big kind of love, the kind that makes your heart want to burst.
But, life is busy. And sometimes life, in all it’s hustle and bustle, can interfere with how we demonstrate our love towards our children. It’s not that we don’t feel it, it’s just that we often struggle to find the energy to muster up more than a quick (and often routine) “I love you”.
Of course, “I love you” is one of those things that can’t be said enough. But children need more. They need touch, play and acts of kindness.
Actions speak louder than words, and, when it comes to children, it’s actions that make them feel safe and loved.
Like Gabor Mate (an esteemed psychologist) says “Love felt by the parent does not automatically translate into love experienced by the child”. It takes conscious effort, day in and day out, to make sure that your children know just how much you love them.
Actions speak louder than words, and, when it comes to children, it’s actions that make them feel safe and loved
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are 10 ways to show your children just how much you love them:
- Little moments can add up to lots of love. We often rush through mornings like drill sergeants, forgetting to reconnect with our children after a long night’s sleep. A good morning hug, kiss on the cheek or high-five will only take a few seconds, and is a great way to affirm your love to your child before the start of a busy day.
- Spend one-on-one time together. Spending time alone with each child will do wonders for your bond, while filling up their love tanks (PLUS there will be less need to fight for your attention).
- Try to give your kids 10 minutes of pure, undivided attention each day. Talk to them, play with them or just ‘be’ without any interruptions (In other words, put down your phone and pay attention to your child).
- Pull out their baby pics. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t love hearing their birth story or about how cute they were when they were a baby. Reminiscing about their ‘baby days’ is a great way to remind them how much joy they’ve brought to your life. If you can’t see yourself retelling their birth story for the one hundredth time, why not whip out your own baby albums, and recount stories from your childhood!
- Laugh it out. Sometimes, all you need to do is have a good laugh – even if it’s at the silliest thing. Laughing is good for the soul, and a great way to get the love flowing.
- If your child has a cell phone, send them a message to let them know that you love them and are thinking of them. Sure, they’ll probably roll their eyes, but it’s guaranteed to top up their love tank a notch.
- Invite them into your world to learn something new about you. Tell them about your favourite TV show or invite them to do pilates or yoga with you.
- Make bath time fun instead of just rushing through it! Add bubbles, haul out the bath toys and splash around with them for a few minutes.
- Respond to all those “Look at me!” demands you hear throughout the day. I know sometimes you literally want to pull your hair out if you hear another “Mom, look at me!” – but did you ever stop to think that those ‘look at me’ cries are your child’s way of asking for your approval and encouragement? When you look (and, I mean really look), your child soaks it up. Encouraged to try again (because mom is looking), they push themselves harder and their self-confidence blossoms.
- Create habits or traditions that encourage family ‘togetherness’. Whether it’s pizza on a Friday night, pancakes on a Saturday morning or a family stroll on a Sunday afternoon, create habits or traditions that allow you to really be together (without digital or work distractions) as a family.