By Gayla Grace
Children can always use a few extra simple reminders of how important they are to us. Try some new ways this month to say “I love you.”
1. Tell them the story of their birth. Show pictures of how they looked as a newborn and talk about who came to visit in the beginning. Make sure they know how excited you were when they entered your life.
2. Love them despite their faults. Offer them grace freely and often.
3. Surprise them with a new game on Saturday morning. Enjoy donuts and hot chocolate while learning to play the game. Be sure to include the whole family.
4. Find a unique quality about your child and praise him for it. Whether it’s a sensitive spirit toward a sibling or a quick-to-forgive gesture toward friends, tell him how it makes him special.
5. Indulge in a child-specific treat and enjoy some one-on-one time together. Ask for input and make plans ahead so your child knows it’s a special occasion.
6. Compliment your child in front of another adult. Be specific with an example of good behavior as you beam with pride.
7. Praise their efforts, not just results. Don’t expect perfection on every chore or straight-A’s on every report card. Let them know you notice when they do their best.
8. Let them pick their favorite book and read to them, even when you don’t want to.
9. Play outside together.
10. Accompany them to walk the dog. Ask about their day at school or a budding friendship. Listen more than you talk.
11. Allow them to be messy. Play with finger paints and play-doh. Go outside and spray silly string on each other.
12. Display their artwork on your refrigerator or window. Talk about what a great job they did and how you love to look at it every day.
13. Put a surprise in their lunch. Include a note that says “I love you.”
14. Hop off social media and completely tune in when they’re talking, focusing on their needs.
15. Patiently help with homework. Don’t raise your voice when you have to explain it one more time.
16. Ask for their ideas when you plan your next vacation. Look at fun places to visit on the computer and dream together for future trips.
17. Sit under the stars and talk about the beauty of God’s creation.
18. Take off your serious hat and make them laugh. Tell jokes or watch a funny movie together.
19. Offer a no-rules day. Let your kids stay in their pajamas all day and eat and play whatever they want.
20. Ask your child to sing to you. Join in and finish the song as a duet. Let your children know you love hearing their beautiful voices.
21. Surprise them with a simple gift through the mail such as a comic book, a glow-in-the-dark pencil, or their favorite player’s card. Include a note of “I love you.”
22. Make s’mores around the fire pit or roast marshmallows in the fireplace. Include a cup of hot cocoa or favorite beverage with it.
23. Start fun traditions for holidays and birthdays that your child can look forward to as a family.
24. Get to know their friends and encourage healthy friendships. Take everyone out for a movie night or bowling night once in awhile.
25. Be their biggest fan. Let them experiment with sporting activities, music lessons, and other extracurricular activities. Cheer them on as they seek to find what fits for them.
26. Allow them to be different from you.
27. Treat them with respect. Don’t interrupt when they’re talking. Ask for their opinion as often as possible and include them in family decisions as they get older.
28. Daydream with them about their future spouse, career or long-term ambitions.
29. Hug, kiss, and shower them with physical affection every day. Tell them at least once a day “I love you.”
Gayla Grace is a freelance journalist who enjoys finding unique ways to show love to her five children.