More Than Words: Simple Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them

[really_simple_share]

The Greeks have four words for love: eros, philia, agape, and storge – the name for the love and strong commitment between family members. I like the idea of having a special word for family love. As a parent, the affection I feel for my kids is limitless. I want them to grow up knowing that they are deeply loved. Each moment brings a new chance to say “I love you” - not just with words, but with deeds and actions.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For some, it can be a daunting holiday filled with the pressure of grand gestures and elaborate showing of affection. However, there are simple ways that you can show your kids you love them any day of the year.

Here are a few ideas to get you started …

Touch Them

Photo by pippitdapo

Hugs, kisses, chubby baby belly zrrrrrrrbrrrrts are all wonderful ways to shower your child with affection, and I do hope you are indulging in these as often as possible! However, today I would also like to encourage you to be mindful of small opportunitiess to be tender toward your kids. Give extra thought to how your touch affects your child when you are …

  • brushing their hair
  • cleaning their face
  • getting them dressed, putting on their pajamas
  • lifting them into their high chairs or booster seats
  • tucking them into bed

It can be easy to overlook these chances to show affection as so many of the activities involved in the care of our children are repeated (and repeated) until we can go on “auto-pilot” doing them. Instead, let these moments become a chance to nurture your children. Make a conscious effort to perform these routine tasks with love.

This doesn’t just apply to babies and toddlers either. Big kids and teens need that connection, too – a gentle squeeze on the shoulder, a tussle of their hair, holding their hand: much can be conveyed through a simple gesture.

Remember Them

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

Just like grownups, children want to be reassured that you miss them when you are apart. Let them know that you are thinking of them when you are not together. If your child is the one going out of the home, send a memento with them: a note in their lunchbox, a funny picture of you together, a comic clipped from the morning newspaper. If you are the one leaving, bring back something for them. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost you anything.

Here are some things our children have appreciated:

  • a quick picture snapped by a cellphone camera of something fun from the day
  • the free stickers they hand out at the grocery store
  • a doodle you made for them
  • an interesting leaf or pebble (we love heart-shaped stones at our house)
  • a flower picked just for them

Let Them Help You

Photo by Tim Pierce

If your children want to help you with the housework or in the kitchen, let them. Include them in your every day tasks and be sure to thank them for their efforts. Yes, you can probably accomplish things faster without their help but faster isn’t the goal. Slow down, be patient, and don’t worry about things being done perfectly.

  • let them help you fold the laundry
  • prepare meals together
  • my kids love to sweep the floor
  • shovel snow, rake leaves, weed the garden together

Talk and share as you go about your tasks. Take advantage of these mundane chores and let them become opportunities to make memories. I have vivid mental images of laundry day growing up – from sorting the clothes with my mother to hanging them on the clothesline to dry. Every time I hang my own children’s clothing I think of my Mother.

Create for Them

Photo by Cozy Memories

Make something special just for your child. I love to knit for my children. With every stitch, a little piece of my heart goes into the tiny hat, sweater, or blanket. My sister sews clothing and toys for her children. But it doesn’t have to be an elaborate or time intensive project to make a child feel loved.

  • Draw them a picture
  • Write them a poem
  • Build a tower with their blocks or set up a scene with their dolls for them to discover
  • Cook their favorite meal
  • Play with their food: cut a sandwich into a heart shape, make an orange smiley face

Sing to Them

Your kids don’t care what your voice sounds like. Anything you sing will be a melody to your child. We sing as we go about our days and the songs we sing are often just silly little ditties that only have meaning to us. Our family even has a song for running the dishwasher. Yes, we made up a song about our dishwasher.

My kids love it when we sing rounds together. But, don’t feel like you have to stick just to children’s songs or nursery rhymes. Sing your favorite songs to them – the Beatles, songs from church, songs your parents used to sing to you. Make up songs for them or change the words to an existing song and personalize it for your child.

One of my favorite ways to end a busy day is to sing to lullabies to my children as I’m tucking them into bed. Can you imagine how safe and wonderful it must feel to a child to be sung to as they drift off to sleep?

Photo by Iandeth

Of course there is always the easiest way of all to tell your kids that you love them: just say the words.

How will you say “I love you” to your kids today?

[really_simple_share]
About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

Comments

  1. This is lovely – a lovely reminder of things that many of us ‘know’ we should do, but so often forget in the rush. I’ll be reposting!!
    .-= Kirsten´s last blog ..Patience, My Patient =-.

  2. such beautiful, simple reminders. thank you.

    ~erin
    .-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..gathering :: mamaste mothers’ circles =-.

  3. -Ah. i need to print this up and consciously express my love every day. Thanks Kara!

    The boys LOVE when I play cars and of course baking together is always a highlight.
    .-= Aimee´s last blog ..Menu Planning 101 =-.

  4. My older daughter has some sensory sensitivities so we’ve built a lot of purposeful touch into ordinary routines – she craves the touch and it’s a great way to demonstrate love. I do these things with both girls now: foot rubs are part of the putting on socks routine; scalp massage as part of bath shampoo; belly rubs as part of nighttime snuggles. We also have degrees of hugs, with names: comfort hugs and lovey hugs and squeezey hugs. It’s so important to them that I’ll get reprimanded if I don’t hug hard enough or if the belly rubs have too much or not enough fingernail (pointy rubs or flats). And I really value that they can express those needs to me.
    .-= Robin (noteverstill)´s last blog ..Self-portrait (for the boy) =-.

    • Degrees of Hugs – I love that!

      and, yes, it is fantastic that children can express those needs …. that is something I think we lose as adults, we become inhibited and don’t think of just asking for a hug when we need it.

      “pointy rubs or flat” :-)
      .-= Kara´s last blog ..Wonderbox Wednesday =-.

    • Thanks for the ideas Robin my oldest 2 have sensory issues and alot of these things youve mentioned are very hard and tramatic at our house and im going to try some of these ideas while doing these things and see if that helps them with their sensory issues!

  5. What a good reminder for things to do everyday, and not just around Valentine’s Day. Thanks for sharing
    .-= Kiersten´s last blog ..Defining Your Role =-.

  6. What a super list of simple yet meaningful things we can do to show our love. Occasionally my daughters will ask me to sing to them at bedtime while I rub their backs (so I can cover singing and touching at the same time! :) I also know it’s meaningful to them when I let them help me in the kitchen and when I take the time to make something special for them. Thanks for reminding me how important the “little” things can be to them!
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..Celebrating Valentine’s Day =-.

  7. Kara – Thank you for the lovely post. You offer so many touching suggestions. I definitely agree with you that big kids need the same affection as the little ones :)

  8. Great post! Actually our Daughter has me sing to her, then she sings to us. She makes up these songs that have bits and pieces of her day in it — it’s both funny and informative! Generally the title has something to do with an upcoming holiday, like “The Candy Cane Song” and it always has a BIG finish. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Donna´s last blog ..Found! =-.

  9. Very good post :) My son liked to cook with me. He’s 4 years old. When he knows I have to add an ingredients, he often says : I want to put it in the bowl… He helps to empty the dishwasher. We’re always hugging. And since the holidays, he’s always telling us that he loves us like the whole world of the sky. In French it’s : Je t’aime comme le monde entier du ciel.
    .-= Scorpio Woman´s last blog ..Healthy Pineapple Muffins =-.

  10. My kids LOVE it when I get up and dance with them. They have a couple shows they love that include dancing. Their faces absolutely light up when I’m jumping around and being silly with them.

    Thanks for the reminder to make these efforts a priority!
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Reality Check Quote from Dave =-.

  11. Kara, this is beautiful. Next time I rush to wipe my little one’s mouth after dinner, I remember to do so lovingly instead of in a hurried rush. After all, it won’t be long before she won’t let me clean her up anymore!
    .-= Christen´s last blog ..sample-5.jpg =-.

  12. Love this- especially the “let them help.” It’s always worth the “hassle.”
    .-= minneosta:madre | Sarah Jane´s last blog ..valentines =-.

  13. I love the ideas of things to bring back for them when we’re apart. My husband will often take photos of planes or garbage trucks when he’s traveling in other countries and the kids love it!

    Great suggestions, Kara!

    Jamie
    .-= Simple Homeschool – Jamie´s last blog ..How to Build Your Family’s Homeschool =-.

  14. I’m loving your posts this week! These are beautiful ways to show love. I hope to always remember that it’s not necessary to give a gift. Sometimes I feel cultural pressure to ignore what is most important – time, affection and meaningful words. Thanks!

  15. I love all these simple ideas that make such an impact!
    .-= jeana´s last blog ..A few tips to keep things running smoothly =-.

  16. Kara! this is GORGEOUS, mama! I adore it. I am absolutely printing it out and adding it to my home notebook – great, practical, inspiring reminders of how we can love on our kiddos!
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..Yet I will =-.

  17. Kara~ Thanks for the reminders, ideas, and inspiration for loving our kids. I think we all need to be refreshed on how the littlest things can make our kids’ lives special. I hope to do a few of these ideas for the upcoming V-Day & over our winter break. My older guy has gone through a lot of “new” obstacles this year (kindergarten (!!), a new baby brother ~ sharing mommy (!!)) I’m going to use your ideas as a check off list! Again, looking forward to more great & inspiring ideas!! xoxo
    .-= Lynne @ Our Happy Home´s last blog ..Cleaning & Organizing…I {{heart}} it!! =-.

  18. That first section spoke to me. Thanks for the reminder to not go on “auto-pilot”. This type of love fills up both parties.
    .-= PS~Erin´s last blog ..Malbec Anyone? =-.

  19. Oh, you used my blogtitle! What a honour for me ;-)
    .-= Micha´s last blog ..sticken / embroidery =-.

  20. Laura Lynn says:

    Thanks for this today. Encouragement that I really needed. Perhaps my kids would thank you too :-)

  21. Love your “Touch them” list. How many times have I rushed through those things without taking the time to appreciate them and do them lovingly? You have inspired me to be more mindful of the little things. Great post, thank you.

  22. My teenage son likes it when I poke him, shove him, pretend to fall into him (push him over), etc… that kind of physical contact/teasing. He and his dad love to play rough, testing their strength against eachother. Boys are so wierd :) when he was younger he did like cuddling and back rubs. He still loves me to read a novel aloud to him. My girls prefer cuddling, doing crafts and reading together.

  23. added to my google reader!

  24. I read this quickly yesterday and came back for a more thorough reading today. I did remember your words last night as I was washing my daughter’s little face. It really changed how I went about the whole task. I love the idea of expressing my love for her in the way I gently and tenderly washed her face. Thanks.
    .-= Jackie Lee´s last blog ..Vegetable Garden Planning =-.

    • I’m so glad, Jackie … and thank you for your kind words. It is those little moments I think we will miss the most when our children are grown … I think it is a gift to ourselves, as well as to our children, to slow down and really be present in those “small” tasks …. because they really aren’t so small, are they?

      Have a great weekend!
      .-= Kara´s last blog ..Shivaya Naturals on TWC =-.

  25. I love this, Kara. It’s relaxing to read as I sit here in the airport with my kiddos, dealing with yet another flight delay! My daughter loves me to just stroke her hair, and my son is all about the cuddles. It’s surprising to me how often they just need simple things — eye contact, kisses, attention for a few minutes.

    My daughter also loves for me to draw with her — don’t know why, but she loves this.

  26. They grow up so quickly! We need to treasure each and every moment with them! :D

    I posted a list although not as wonderful as this one just yesterday. :D
    .-= Sherry´s last blog ..Frugal ways to show love to your children =-.

  27. Yes! Yes! Great reminders. Thank you.

  28. Great post! Very encouraging. Time flies, so precious are they, and how quickly they will be grown!
    .-= Laura ´s last blog ..King David, an ancestor of Jesus =-.

  29. I needed this.

  30. This was a truly inspiring, beautiful post! Your ideas are very “doable”, even for a busy parent. Wonderful, simple ideas. Thank you!

  31. MamaShift says:

    Hi Kara,

    I clicked on this post today — kinda late. These are really nice ideas. I especially love the section about caring for how you touch a child (so much rough handling!).

    About children wanting to know you miss them, I’d like to tell you a quick story. My 10 year-old recently returned to school after homeschooling. After a few days she asked me, “Mommy, do you miss me?” I hesitated a moment, then my heart told me what I needed to say, “No, sweety, I keep busy.” She let out a long sigh of relief and said, “Oh good, ’cause I’m never thinking of you because I’m so happy at my new school.” She needed to be let off the hook! :-)

  32. Thank you for all the sweet things you’ve said. They are easy they are simple and that’s what makes them so true!

  33. Thanks for this article of yours. You have shared and inspired a lot of people through this one and I’m glad I’m one of those. Continue to write such good articles!
    riz @ back massagers hand held´s latest post: Massage Backache Away with Back Massagers – Hand Held for Optimal Convenience

  34. Omg.. You gave me the answer that I always concern how can I effectively express my love to my little girl. That’s so simple and easy! Thank you so much. I’ve been learning a lot from your articles^^

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