Building a better relationship with your child can seem daunting. But it doesn’t need to be. There are 20 easy things you can do every day to show your child you love him or her.
You don’t need a degree in child psychology or a Positive Parenting Course. You don’t even need to know your parenting style, preferred discipline technique or routines you want to establish.
All you need to get started is love.
The rest comes easy.
Remember when you were courting your spouse?
Remember those days? You thought about him (or her) all of the time. I know you couldn’t wait to see him, or hear his voice. Everything he gave you was treasured, no matter how small. You hung on his every word and got shivers up and down your spine every time his skin accidentally brushed against yours.
(Well, okay, that was maybe infatuation.)
Love your child in the same way.
Think about him all of the time. Greet her with exuberance when she comes home from practice, letting her know that you are happy to see her. Hang on his every word, and treasure every picture made. And when you get a hug, snuggle or kiss, hang on for dear life. Because that affection dies off quickly as they get older.
It’s that easy.
But just in case you need a nudge to get you started, here are 20 easy things you can do every day to show your child you love him or her.
Build them in to your normal daily routine, and without even thinking about it, you will have laid the foundation for a solid relationship with your son or daughter.
20 Easy Things You Can Do Every Day to Show Your Child You Love Him or Her
- Develop a bedtime routine.
Bedtime routines are wonderfully habit-forming, and good for inducing proper sleep, but they are more than just that. The evening is the perfect time to show your child how much you love him. What better way to fall asleep, than to fall asleep knowing you are loved and cherished? Create some “warm fuzzy” routines. This may involve singing, reading, or praying together. It could consist of silly games, such as puppet shows or tickle monsters. My little boys love to choose their kisses – do they want BIG KISSES, little kisses, sweet momma kisses, a million kisses, fishy kisses, puppy dog kisses or pig kisses? If you have older kids, a simple hug or text goodnight can do the trick.
- Sing songs with his name in them.
We love to be silly at my house, and one of the best way is to change the lyrics of a song. We will substitute words with names. For example, my Little Man B has a nickname – Boo. So instead of singing Winnie the Pooh, I substitute Pooh with Boo. He loves to hear his name in a song! Believe it or not, I still do this with my older boys as well. They just shake their heads at me, but at least they do so knowing I love them!
- Give him nicknames.
My boys all have a ga-zillion nicknames. Sure, they get used less often as they get older. But what’s nice about nicknames is how you use them – I could go without calling my son Danielson for months, and then one day, out of the blue say “Hey Danielson, when you coming home?” And he will know that I really miss him. (And that he should come home!) All because I pulled out his childhood name.
- Listen when he talks to you.
Seriously. This one is so hard for me. I have a million things to do, as any mom in a household of eight would, naturally. And so it is incredibly hard for me to stand still, make eye contact, and focus solely on what my child is telling me. Especially because I have a stutterer, a rambler and one who just plain likes to talk. With six kids, it seems someone is always wanting to tell me something, and all I want is to get the clean clothes put away. But there is no better way to show someone how important he is to you than by simply listening to what he has to say.
- Post pictures of him all over your house.
Seems simple, right? It is. Well, maybe not as simple now that everything has gone digital, but what better way to show someone you care than by plastering their picture everywhere?
- Make scrapbooks for her.
Another good way to show someone you care. Your daughter will see that you truly value her life, and every aspect of it, when you put it in a book. If you aren’t creative, you can hire people to do this for you. Or mixbook.com has an amazing book that auto fills the pictures for you. It’s very easy to do.
- Hang up any artwork or display any projects he makes.
Honor your child’s work by putting it on display. Likewise, verbally tell him good job if he has done a job well done with anything, such as school work, chores, or handling a situation with a friend. We like to be patted on the back for a job well done. So does your child.
- Let him catch you bragging about him in front of other people.
I used to do this all of the time with my older boys. As a child, I remember overhearing my parents tell my aunt and uncle how naughty I had been. I remember feeling so humiliated and sad, that my parents would talk about me like that. (Now I totally understand why parents do!) When I had my own kids, though, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if they occasionally overheard me bragging about them instead? So, at times when I know they are within ear shot, I may let spill something wonderful they had done. What a nice thing to eavesdrop on, right?
- Kiss your child goodnight.
It’s easy to give kisses to little kids. Affection flows freely in their world. If you don’t kiss your children, and you want to start, usually you can just start cold-turkey if they are still young. However, if we are talking teenagers, you might just freak them out. You may never be able to kiss them goodnight. But a good hair ruffle or a pat on the arm can get the message across as well. I kiss my kids every night. As they have gotten older, I have done it less and less, but I do still do it. So none of my big boys feels shocked or uncomfortable if I pucker up. (I have, on occasion, been uncomfortable though – their cheeks have gotten quite fuzzy over the years!)
- Hug him every time he leaves the house.
This is a firm rule in my house. You never know if it may be the last time you see your child. I am sure that I am a bit morbid for thinking this, but it’s true. My boys (and my husband!) do not leave without a hug from me. I also have a mantra I toss in for extra assurance – “Drive safe, be good and have fun!” Now my boys say it to me!
- Start and keep family traditions.
Oh, so important. It is never too late to start a family tradition. These could be holiday traditions, birthday traditions, traditions passed down from your parents to you and then to your children, traditions you make up, or a tradition as simple as Taco Tuesdays for supper. What matters is you create the tradition and then keep it. It will become special to your child, a way he can identify himself as special to you, and it creates fond memories for the both of you.
- Have a movie or game night once in a while.
The idea is to spend some time together. It could be movie and game night in the winter or evening walks or bike rides in the summer. It’s important to take a break from the regular daily routine and spend time doing something you both love.
- Have something that is ‘yours’ that you do together all of the time and make it a priority.
In a house with seven boys, this is football. Every Sunday night, we make up a bunch of crazy football snacks, put on our jerseys and head downstairs for a night of screaming at the T.V. They boys all love it (except for my 13 year old, who comes out to fill his plate and retreats back to his solitude and XBOX). Even the twins love Sunday nights! (I curl up on the couch with a good book and attempt to read amidst all the chaos.)
- Read together.
Reading together is so important for your child’s education. But reading together also creates a bond between mother and child. As your child gets older, it is still important to spend that time together, not so much for the education, but more so to keep growing your bond.
- Attend all of her school events.
Well, most of them at least. On a regular basis. Show your children that what is important to them is important to you.
- Eat at least one meal together a day.
I get that this is hard. Everyone has different schedules and they are all going in a different direction. But make it a point to sit down at the table together on a daily basis. Sure, there will be days that it just doesn’t work out. But overall, be one of those families that can say “We eat a meal together every day”. And be sure to do it at the table, free from all electronics. This is family conversation time. It is important.
- Text or call him daily.
I have a child no longer at home. And I try to text him daily. I don’t always manage it, but I do try. (I know girls who call their moms on a daily basis. Since I have all boys, I don’t expect this to ever be the case for me. But I know they can quick send a “hi” in a text message, and that’s all I need.) Likewise, if I know I won’t see my son – any of my bigger boys – that day, I send them a text. Just to say “How was your day?”. If I am away from my little boys, I call them. Just to say good-night.
- Share your dreams and goals with her.
This is important. It lets your child have a glimpse in to your inner world. Your child will learn, through talking about your own dreams, that mom and dad are people too. It’s too easy for our children to look at us as only mom and dad, and not as a real person, separate from the role we fill for them. Letting them in to our world shows them that we are people too, with real struggles, heartaches and triumphs. They can relate to us better if they see us as someone other than the rule enforcer. This will no doubt strengthen the bond between parent and child.
- Invite him to be a part of the things you love.
Similarly, you want to involve your child in your passions and hobbies. This is another way to show your child that there is a real person inside of mom or dad. It is also a good way to expose your child to the things you care about while spending quality time together. Just be careful not to force any of your likes on to your child. Just because dad loves football does not mean all six boys are going to enjoy the sport.
- Tell him I love you.
Verbally say the words “I love you”, every day. Do it in the morning, after your child wakes up, or just before she leaves for school. Or do it at night, as you tuck him in. You can show your child that you love her, but there is something incredibly powerful about those three little words….your child will never get tired of hearing it. Even if your child tries to make you think that he could care less if you love him.
Just say it.
These are all things I do pretty much on a daily basis. The ones I can’t do every day, I do on a regular basis. And I have a great relationship with each of my boys.
How about you? What do you do to build a relationship with your child? Let us know!