I love to hang out with my nieces and nephews. I think that I love hanging out with them so much because I only see the sweet side - I just get the highlight reel for a couple of hours, and it's the best. We play games, eat yummy snacks and when they are tired, I send them back to their parents and I get to go on my merry way.
It's easy to love children ... if you're not the parent
That reality shifts when you're the parent. You have to deal with their tired tantrums, sticky fingers, runny noses, repetitive questions, and don't get to send them back to mom when the afternoon meltdown hits ... because you're the mom.
Sometimes taking care of your children can become overwhelming, and we feel like we aren't good at showing them how much we love them between the messes and the tantrums. But making small changes in the parenting routine you do every day can express your love in a deeper, richer way. If you want to change your habits, here are five ways to show your love for your kids better:
Touch is a very important part of a child's development. They associate it with your love and approval of them. A hug is an easy way to reassure your kids of your love and appreciation for who they are. Hug your kids often, even when you're frustrated so they know you still love them, despite the fact that they just spilled their juice for the third time.
2. Compliment them
Sometimes we appreciate what someone is doing, but we forget to tell them. Your children will want to do more for you to get your praise and approval. Sometimes we withhold complimenting them on the small tasks because for us the task wasn't that big a deal.
Simple words like "good job" after they finish a chore or "good work" when they have finished a homework problem mean so much. These complements will build their self-esteem, remind them of your love and build their confidence.
3. Make their bed
Service is an important way to show your kids you love them. And yes, you do serve them all day, every day, but many kids don't realize what you are doing is service to them (for them, picking out their outfits and packing up their lunch is just what moms are supposed to do). So, make an effort to serve them in an unexpected way by doing a chore that you expect them to complete. This isn't something you need to do every day, but when you do it they will know that you did something for them.
Don't be afraid to explain to them that you wanted to help them with their chores that day because you love them.
4. Play their favorite game
Constantly trying to get things done to provide for your family leads to a busy life. But so much love can be expressed in the quiet moments. Stop and spend time with your children on something they want to do. Your children know how busy you are, and creating time in your day just for them will show your kids that they are the most important part of your busy day.
Kids can be picky and I swear half of dinner is telling them they can't leave the table until they have eaten everything on their plate. Making their favorite meal is an easy gift for you to give them. We don't have to spoil our kids with a million toys, but every once in a while it is important to treat them to something nice to show our love.
You love your children, and it's important to let them know that! Make a few tweaks to your life and see how closer your whole family gets when you show your love.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.