5 Ways To Show Your Kids Some Love

Valentine's Day is a good time to remember to show your kids some love, too.

With Valentine’s Day this month there are reminders of love all around. We are inundated with cheesy greeting cards, jewelry commercials and those little heart candies with the sayings on them. (I wonder at what age I realized those candy hearts were as nasty as candy corn.) While this time of year serves as a good reminder to show your spouse or significant other how much you love them, it’s also a good time to remember to show your kids some love, too. Here are five ways to do that.

1. Tell them.

Many of us already tell our kids we love them every day as they leave for school in the morning or as we tuck them into bed. But how often do we tell them why? Take a moment to tell your kids that you love how kind, smart or helpful they are. If you say this to your teen they’ll probably grow suspicious of you, but do it anyway. You should always be your kid’s biggest fan, not necessarily of what they do but who they are.

2. Surprise them.

We’ve all seen the viral videos of kids flipping out when they are surprised with a trip to Disney World or a new puppy, but you can get incredible reactions with much smaller acts. My first-grader gets over the moon excited when I come to his school to have lunch with him. A special one-on-one movie night or dinner date at a favorite restaurant works, too. If you notice your son or daughter is a little down or going through a rough patch this can have even more meaning.

3. Believe in them.

Believe in your child. At some point, every kid has said or thought, “I’m not good enough” or “I’m dumb.”  Build up their self-esteem by encouraging them. In a positive way, not the “you’re tone deaf but I’m encouraging you to try out for American Idol even though you’ll embarrass yourself kind of way.” Taking a genuine interest in their passions is one of the best ways to show you care.

4. Listen to them.

This is one I often struggle with as a dad. When one of our kids comes to us with a problem our instant reaction is to often try and “fix” whatever may be wrong. Sometimes it’s better to just shut your trap and listen. We don’t always have the answers and we don’t always need to solve their problems. Sometimes they just want to talk something through or let out their feelings. Make sure you give them 100 percent attention. Make eye contact with them and not the phone or TV. If they trust you they are less likely to go to a peer or someone else when they get older.

5. Be there for them.

This means be there both physically and mentally. Your son’s flag football game is not the time to catch up with a girlfriend on the phone for an hour. It’s time for you to watch and encourage. Put cell phones away completely during family game nights. Kids know when you really don’t want to be there or your attention is somewhere else. Keep focused on them and limit distractions.

Bonus thoughts about parents (From my son Tyler, 7): They give you hugs and kisses every night and they always help you when you get hurt and always keep you safe.