Most parents want to raise their kids in the best way possible. You are grateful for your kids, you love them, and you want them to know it. But sometimes being a parent means being the bad guy. How can you show your kids you love them even while being a strong parent?
Here are the 5 best ways to show your kids you love them.
1 – Tell Them
I can’t tell you how many parents don’t do this simple and easy and powerful thing. If you want your kids to know you love them, tell them.
When your child finishes their chores or cleans their room, take a few seconds to tell them you love them. Don’t just say it in passing either, really focus on them and say something like, “Hey, thanks for helping out with the cleaning. It’s really nice to have a child who can get in and get things done. I sure love you.” If you do that while giving them a hug, it will have a powerful positive impact on their life.
Tell your kids you love them when they leave for school and when they get home. Tell them you love them every night before they go to sleep.
Even for no reason at all. Just don’t forget to tell them.
2 – Be Consistent
Consistency is key. That’s not my saying; I’m not sure where I heard it, but I live by it. And if you’re raising a child, you should too.
Consistency is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to your children. Inconsistency with rules, reactions, emotions, or anything else can confuse your kids and leave them feeling lost and alone.Consistency is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to your children. Click To Tweet
Make rules and stick to them. There should be a clear line that cannot be crossed, and if your child crosses it, there should be a clear consequence that happens EVERY TIME. I cannot stress this enough. You must follow through. As a parent, it is better to have no rules at all than to have rules you don’t enforce.
The “No” Rule
In my own home, we have a specific rule for what happens when a child reacts negatively when Mom or Dad say “no.” If Mom is going to the store and the kid asks to go and Mom says “no,” they are expected to stay happy and not let it ruin their life. If they start crying or complaining, the answer is automatically “no” for next time as well. Because we follow through every time, it hardly happens at all. The kids learned pretty quick that they had better be nice if they want a chance of getting a “yes” next time they ask.
3 – Love Them Unconditionally
This one goes along with rule 2 above, and basically means to not pick and choose when you love your kids based on emotions or what they did or what someone said to you at work or whatever.
Don’t be the parent that loves the kids only when you’re in a good mood. If your kids learn that “when dad’s in a good mood, he loves us, but when he’s not he doesn’t,” then really you are just showing them “dad doesn’t love us, but sometimes he’s nice to us when he’s in a good mood.” Don’t be that parent.
I’ve witnessed parents discipline their kids and the kids are scared of the parent afterwards. I’ve seen other parents discipline and the kids love and respect them more afterwards. The difference is the second child is still receiving that love even as they’re being punished. My grandpa used to say, “Never correct a child in anger.”
Remember the saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” Kids spill a lot of milk. Don’t freak out. Just help them clean it up and teach them how to drink milk without spilling it. Love them unconditionally.
4 – Give Them Chores
Yes, we’re still talking about showing love here. Letting your kids help out around the house makes them feel like they belong. They feel more loved and they feel more at home if they feel like they are part of the family.
Letting your kids help with chores will help them realize there is more than just themselves in the world. All of us are aware of that fact, yet some people try so hard to live as if they are the center of the universe. Show your kids love by not letting them fall into that trap. Helping around the house or helping younger siblings with homework can give your child a strong social and service attitude that will help them throughout their life.
It will also teach them how to work. Someday they won’t live at home and they’ll need to take care of themselves. As the parent, it is your responsibility to teach them what they need to know to live in society. Don’t do their laundry their whole life and then wonder why they’re still living in your basement at age 40. Love them; give them chores.Love them; give them chores. #parentingtips Click To Tweet
5 – Spend Quality Time
Kids don’t just want love, they need it. They need to feel special and unique. They need to know they aren’t just like everyone else in the world, or even in the family. Spending quality time is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to show them these things are true.
In my home, I have one night a week that is put aside as a daddy-daughter or father-son night. Me and one of my children go out and do some activity like dancing or playing at the park or hanging out at Grandma’s. Then I take them to get some dinner and ice cream and we go home. The kids love it.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, and it doesn’t even have to be away from the home. I have some fun Halloween and Christmas activity materials to use for quality time when it’s getting too cold to go out. It doesn’t really matter what you do or how much money you spend, because the memories the kids will make are priceless.
My oldest daughter still remembers all our daddy-daughter date nights and she talks about them all the time. She’s always looking forward to our next one and every now and then she will come sit next to me and put her arm around me and we will brainstorm ideas for our next night out. This gives us even more quality time together and the bond we have with each other has never been stronger.
Take a few minutes and make a list of things you could do for a special night out with your child. If you want to see my list of 23 favorite activities to do with the kids, sign up for my email newsletter and get instant access to the list.
Each week, schedule an hour or two to spend with your child, and then make sure it happens. Don’t let something else get in the way of spending quality time with your kid.
Bonus: 6 – Tell Them the Other Parent Loves Them
Unless you’re a single parent, there are 2 parents living in the home. One of the best ways to show the kids you love them is to tell them the other parent loves them. Sometimes it seems like there’s always a cat-fight between Mom and Dad, almost like whoever the kids love the most wins. In real life, all this does is show the kids that you care more about beating each other than having a happy and loving family.
Whenever you get a chance, talk to the kids (I like doing this at bedtime) and point out the things the other parent is doing for them and let them know that she (if you’re the dad) is doing it because of how much she loves them. Help them to tell her thank you and give her a big hug and kiss. Never miss an opportunity to tell the kids how much you love their mother and how much she does for you and them.
Even if the other parent gets upset at the kids you can reassure them that he (if you’re the mom) still loves them and that he is working and trying really hard to make sure his family has what they need and grows up to be good, strong, capable adults. You don’t need to make excuses if Dad lashed out and made a mistake. No one is at their best all the time, but if his outburst was justified by something the kids did, maybe explain to them that they need to try really hard to do the right thing and he loves and cares about them so much that he gets upset when they don’t do what they’re supposed to.
Always remind your kids how much the other parent loves them, and they will love and respect both of you more because of it.
Consistency is key. Be consistent with rules, with love, and with everything else. Show your kids your love is unconditional; you still love them no matter what they did or what mood you’re in.
Let them belong to the family by helping with chores and taking care of younger siblings. Let them be involved with planning family trips and events.
Again, if you need a jump-start on ideas for spending quality time with your kids, sign up and get instant access to my 23 favorite activities to do with the kids.
There are a lot more than 23 activities that can be fun for the kids. What kinds of things do you do with your kids? Let me know in the comments!