Inside: Kids need love for healthy development in all areas. Here are 72 Fun and Easy Ways parents can show love for children every day.
“Mom are we going to make the trail again?”
We were sitting on the front porch in the middle of July as my 5-year-old asked me this. I didn’t have the faintest clue what he was talking about.
“You know, the trail of hearts that goes from my bed to breakfast downstairs?
It took me a few seconds, but then it clicked. He was talking about the sweet (but not so sanitary) little tradition I had randomly started a few years ago of putting down a trail of candy conversation hearts from the kids’ beds down to the breakfast table.
At first glance, I thought it was the candy for breakfast component that had them waiting in eager anticipation for our simple ritual, but after a couple of years, I realized it was something else.
This simple act of love left a positive emotional imprint that lasted must longer than the 2 minutes it took me to scatter the mediocre tasting candies.
My children loved to wake up to something made by me, just for them.
While it’s somewhat easy to be intentionally thoughtful on special or celebratory days, let’s be honest, being intentional about showing love for children during day to day life can get lost in the mix of… well surviving.
The thing is though- for your child, being loved is a means of emotional survival.
In human development, it’s been well documented that a child comes into the world with the vital primary needs of safety and security, and gets these needs met through responsive and attuned attachments caregivers.
Essentially, the thousands of small moments of love you show your child throughout their early life, build the foundation for their emotional health and future relationships.
Emotion scientist Barbara Fredrickson describes the importance of showing love to your kids:
These moments of positive connection that parents can develop with their kids are, as an affective neuroscientist described, like fertilizer for the brain. They support brain development and social skill development. One of the most important things we can give to our kids is that caring attuned attention.
Making it a priority to demonstrate love for children clearly and regularly has the following benefits according to research:
- meets your child’s basic need for safety and security
- improving confidence
- decreasing stress
- improved academic performance
- better parent-child communication
- healthy emotional developmental
- more positive social interactions
- increases empathy
Showing kids love doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy, and in fact, it can most definitely happen in the small moments of daily life.
Here are 72 ways you can show love for children (and boost their emotional well-being) today!
72 Ways to Show Love for Children
Showing love for children doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be intentional. This list will help you remember how important small daily acts of love are to your child, and just how you’llll be able to make them happen.
- Apologize when you mess up
- Tell them a story about your childhood
- Really listen to them
- Take a 1:1 walk around the block
- Make eye contact when you’re talking to them
- Join in their play
- Clean their room for them
- Ask about the high/low of their day.
- Ask how you can help
- Give them free time to play
- Teach them their character > their grades
- Make a heart candy trail from their bedroom to breakfast
- Let them express their emotions
- Do yoga together
- Send a joke in their lunchbox
- Be brave together and try a new activity
- Watch their favorite show (even if you hate it!)
- Read to them
- Make a hot chocolate bar
- Frame a picture of you together for their room
- Incorporate them into your workout routine
- Give them a massage or back scratch
- Include them in a typical ‘grown-up’ job
- Have a family meeting
- Create art and gift it to them (they’ll be so surprised to be on the receiving end for once!)
- Limit screen time
- Bake a healthy dessert together
- Give them your absolute undivided attention
- Ask them their opinion on something important
- Meditate or pray together
- Fold their laundry for them
- Write them a letter about how amazing they are
- Give them a soft cozy item
- Make them a healthy meal
- Make snow ice cream
- Put hearts on their bedroom door with their positive qualities
- Send them an expected email
- Grow something together
- Pick ‘your song’ together
- Teach them a new card game
- Write them a poem
- Pick or buy them flowers
- Take a trip to cuddle animals at the Humane Society
- Take a hot chocolate drive to bond and chat
- Create a scrapbook with them
- Give them a spa day
- Read an extra bedtime story
- Tell them a make-believe story
- Watch a show from your childhood (hello Mr. Rogers!!)
- Read positive affirmations for kids with them
- Give them screen time limits
- Genuinely compliment them
- Complete a challenging puzzle together
- Take a hike in a nearby county/state park
- Buy or check-out from the library a book you think they’d love
- Add 20 seconds to your morning hug
- Put on glow bracelets and have a dance-in-the-dark party
Related resource::: Want to discipline without shame, criticism, and threats? The Positive Discipline Set is for you.
- Set goals with them
- Help them pursue their interests
- Notice and comment on their strengths
- Leave a love note on the bathroom mirror
- Let them have a sleepover in your bedroom
- Let them pick the music in the car
- Ask your child what they’d like to do together!
- Have a family dinner
- Make a picnic on the floor with a blanket
- Pick-up a new game to play together at a thrift shop
- Volunteer together or do something to help others
- Do each others hair/nails
- Sing together
- Look at your child’s baby pictures with them
- Make a fort with blankets and pillows
When it comes to showing love for children keep it simple
Demonstrating love for a child doesn’t need to come with a big price tag. As your family’s schedule (and the stresses of the world) ebb and flow, work with the time and resources you have.
This poem from Diane Loomans always hits home for me and helps me shift my mindset to slow down and make sure I’m showing love to my kids every day.
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