Your child needs your time, love, and attention. As a parent, you’re probably the most important influence in their life, so it’s up to you to make them smile and build their self-esteem.
Consider these ideas for things you can do to make your child feel special and invent some strategies of you own.
Habits and rituals that become part of your routine family life will have the deepest impact. Even on your busiest days, you’ll be able to show your child how much you care just by doing your ordinary activities.
- Be enthusiastic. Listen attentively when your child wants to talk with you. Share their excitement even if the subject is dead bugs or a cartoon you’ve both watched a hundred times.
- Demonstrate affection. Give your child hugs and kisses on a regular basis. Physical contact helps you bond with your children and may even enhance their brain development.
- Offer praise. Let your child know that you’re proud of them for their talents and for making an effort. Tell them how much you admire their ability to sing or skateboard. Applaud them for completing their homework or carrying packages for an elderly neighbor.
- Ask for help. Enlist your child’s cooperation and give them a chance to teach you, too. Tell them that you appreciate the part they play in keeping the household running smoothly. Thank them for explaining a new slang word or demonstrating how to play a popular video game.
- Go for a drive. Make your errands more meaningful. Invite your child to come along. Even if it takes you a little longer to complete your work, the conversations are worth it.
- Encourage hobbies. How does your child spend their free time? Limit TV and computer time so they can take up a hobby that will make them more interesting and accomplished.
- Do chores together. Taking responsibility builds your child’s confidence. Put them in charge of setting the dinner table or walking the dog.
- Read bedtime stories. The hours spent preparing for sleep are an ideal opportunity to unwind and connect. Snuggle together and share your favorite books. Make up stories based on your real-life experiences.
- Enjoy family dinners. Mealtime is another chance to spend some uninterrupted time together. Your children will strengthen their conversation skills and probably eat healthier.
Of course, there’s also room for thoughtful surprises and occasional treats. You can brighten up your child’s day without having to spend a lot of money.
- Send mail. Physical mail is so rare these days that anything you send may seem exceptional. Write a letter to your child for their birthday or give them a book related to their hobby.
- Volunteer as a family. Helping others is a surefire way to feel more satisfied with your life. Talk with your child about what causes excite them and look for fun and easy projects that they’ll want to do again and again.
- Plan outings. Short trips can give you more family time and help your child to continue learning outside the classroom. Visit a science museum in your neighborhood or your next vacation destination.
- Dine out. Restaurants provide a fun place for brushing up on etiquette. You may want to start with casual spots where your child will feel welcome as they practice ordering off the menu and using their indoor voice.
- Celebrate holidays. Create family traditions for Christmas and Halloween. Even simple practices like baking a favorite dessert can become powerful over the years.
Making your children feel loved and respected will help them to grow up to be happy and responsible adults. Treasure your time together and create memories that you’ll both enjoy for years to come.