Without a doubt, parenthood is one of the greatest gifts I’ve received in my life – and it comes with serious, huge, ginormous responsibilities. I know I’ll make mistakes along the way, but if there is one thing I want my kids to know always and forever – it’s that I love them.
So how do I make sure they know they are loved? Well, the list below is my guide. It’s how I show them I love them – they may not always agree (especially with No. 5) – but someday when they look back at their childhoods, I hope they’ll see my actions always came from a place of love.
- Get silly, laugh, dance. There is a time to be serious, and there is a time to let loose. Show your kids it’s OK to be goofy, to laugh so hard it hurts, to tickle fight like a pro.
- Foster a love for learning. Read often, draw, write, visit the library, travel. Education opens so many doors, and provides our kids with tools to problem-solve, evolve and succeed.
- Be generous with the hugs and kisses. Physical touch is key. It releases a dose of oxytocin, relieves stress and reminds us all we need one another.
- Spend time together. Chat in the car, go to the park, bake cookies, watch a movie, share a meal. Giving our time is one of the most precious gifts we can provide our kids.
- Discipline. It would be so easy to give our kids everything they want. No battles, no dirty looks, no conflict – but that’s not parenting. Our kids need boundaries, they need us to show them right from wrong. They need help to establish their moral code. Tough love, baby.
- Teach them the life skills they need to someday be on their own. Give them chores, teach them how to cook, get them involved in folding laundry and raking leaves. As parents, it’s our job to prepare our kids to eventually “leave the nest,” and I doubt many of them will have full-time housekeepers when they head off to college.
- Listen. They might teach you something new, they’ll know you respect them and you’ll help them become great communicators.
- Find their passion. Watch for cues about what they enjoy, expose them to different activities, cultures, books and music. Recognize their passions might be totally different from your own – and that’s OK. Every family needs diversity.
- Teach them about faith – whatever this means to you and your family. Show them to give, to not be selfish, to believe there is someone or something greater in this world – to know even in the darkest moments, there is One we can turn to for hope.
- Tell them you love them – every day. It never gets old. Plus, you’re likely to get an “I love you” back.
Do you have any to add? I’m sure there are so many!