By Sadaf Afshan
‘Mom you don’t love me!’
‘Of course, I love you dear’.
Haven’t all of us had this conversation with our children at some point of time? It disturbs us at times, other times we just shrug it off. Of course, we all love our children. Then why is it that our kids sometimes feel otherwise? Is it because we are not showing it enough?
Studies show that it is important for kids to feel loved and valued in order to grow up as a self-confident, positive, kind and compassionate individual.
The good news is that children do not require grand gestures to make them feel loved. You don’t need to spend tons of money to take them to theme parks or buy the latest gaming device. You don’t need to give in to their demands for dessert every night. Simple things such as listening attentively, seeking their opinions and acknowledging their efforts are much more important than material things. Small gestures such as a hug every night or an ‘I love You’ note in their lunchbox also go a long way in expressing your love.
Here are some simple yet meaningful ways to make your kids feel special.
Hugs and Kisses
Physical touch is very important, especially for younger children. Wake them up with a kiss, give a goodnight hug or cuddle up on the couch to develop a deep connection.
‘Mom, are you even listening?’ my little one screamed in frustration because she was all excited about sharing her latest feat at school while I was busy fixing dinner. I immediately realized my mistake and made a mental note.
With our busy lives it’s not uncommon to be distracted when kids come up to us to share their thoughts. At times it might not be possible to simply drop the ball and sit down to listen to their stories. In such a scenario we should let them know when we would be in a position to give them our full attention and keep our word about it.
Ask for their opinion
‘Which outfit should I wear today?’ I asked my daughter and saw her eyes light up as she gave a deep thought to help me decide.
Children feel empowered and respected when they are asked for their opinions which in turn leads to positive behaviour. Ask them their preferences while doing grocery shopping and you will notice that they are more interested in eating. Involve them in your vacation plans and you will find them helping you out in packing.
Kids love to have a giggling or tickling session with Mom. Make up funny songs, have a pillow fight or just tickle each other and have a good laugh. Acting silly makes kids feel that parents have come out of their adult world into their own.
Don’t we all love surprises from our spouse or friends? Kids love them too.
Pack a loving note in his lunchbox. Make a smiley face on her pancake. Arrange her bookshelf while she is at school because she has been struggling with it. Little gestures like these go a long way in bringing smiles on our children’s faces.
1-on-1 time with each child
‘Mom you love him more than me!’ As a mother of two I often face a tough balancing act.
Sibling rivalry is a delicate matter which needs to be handled carefully. Never compare siblings or take sides during a fight. Try to spend some time alone with each kid so that he/she feels that he/she has your full attention.
Say it in words
‘I love you’, ‘I’m proud of you’, ‘You are Allah’s special gift to me’. These are simple yet powerful words which children need to hear often to help them develop their self-esteem and grow up as kind and loving individuals.
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