Showing Appreciation to Your Children

The following is by contributor Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

I sometimes find myself being too negative with my children. I will hear myself correct them, ask them to stop things, hurry and start things way more often than focusing on positive things. I will tell them “Good Job” on different tasks like cleaning up their room or finishing the homework.

But I realized that I didn’t give them genuine thank you’s enough. Which made me a bit sad to realize, but now I have quickly gotten in the habit of showing appreciation to my children more often.

Showing appreciation to our children and also teaching them to show appreciation to each other can be done in many fun and playful ways.

Here are just a couple of fun ideas to try:

Over the Top Thank You Note

The thank you note could be an over sized Valentine, a funny card from the grocery store or a candy bar saying poster like the one below.

Photo by Vanessa Brown

Just something that is a bit over the top and makes them stop and realize, “Wow Mom really is proud of me and is thankful for me!” I made my daughter this after her behavior had really been almost perfect for quite a few weeks in a row.

Special Outing

Taking your daughter or son on a special one on one outing to sit with them and just tell them how thankful you are for them and specific things they have done. Just a walk around the neighborhood, short trip to get an ice cream cone or a drive through a pretty park.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or over the top but something that takes them out of their normal element and makes them really pay attention to what you are saying to them.

Photo by Vanessa Brown

Their Favorite Thing

Does your son love a certain type of dinner? Or a certain TV show or movie? Or even a certain book? Prepare or sit down and watch/do their favorite thing with them. Tell them that you wanted to do this with them to spend time with them but also to tell them thank you for something they have done lately or a certain way they have been acting.

Most of all I think my girls have just really lit up and loved when I cover them in kisses and hugs and list all the reasons I am thankful for what they have done that day. Probably the most simple but most special way!

It has really been helpful in my home to reinforce positive behavior, have a stronger feeling of love in my home and now I catch my daughters thanking each other more often.

What are some simple ways you show your kids that you appreciate them?

About Vanessa

Vanessa Brown blogs over at I Never Grew Up. She has four little girls, two old dogs, and one dog training expert husband and is currently residing in Costa Rica.

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  1. The candy card is the greatest idea.

  2. My kids really light up when I notice unique things about them.

    The other night my sensitive 11 year-old was upset because he’d watched a Star Wars movie that had scared him and he couldn’t sleep. In order to distract him from his current plight, I started focusing on all the things that he did like (rather than what didn’t work for him like this movie.) I told him I noticed he was more of an appreciator of animation films and then listed the ones he loves. From here I talked about the various books he loves to read right now. Then I moved on to what general activities he likes and said I notice how much he likes to give special homemade gifts to his friends and family.

    After I had this conversation with my son, I was reminded of how much kids adore simply “being seen” for who they are. And truly seeing someone is a form of appreciation. Thanks for your sweet post!
    Suzita @´s latest post: 6 Inexpensive Ways to Weave Exercise Into Your Kid’s Life – And New Reasons You (and Her Teacher) Will Be Glad You Did!

  3. I found that I did not show enough appreciation to my older kids who helped with the younger ones so much. I learned to, on occasion, pull them aside, look them straight in the eye and tell them from my heart how much I did appreciate their hard work and stepping up to the plate. I also tried to treat them occasionally, but also hearing from mom’s heart meant a lot to them as well.
    Bernice @ The Stressed Mom´s latest post: Are we stressing out our kids?

  4. Thanks for editing this for me Kara, you are great. Also I need to change my bio, my family is bigger now! 🙂
    Vanessa´s latest post: Project Peasant Food: Cuban Rice

  5. This is so true. I find myself saying “negative” things to my two-year-old, whether it’s showing him the proper way to hold his fork, or that he has to stop playing so we can leave the house, that it becomes more crucial to continue showing gratitude for the times we truly are thankful.

    I tell him thank you for playing patiently and quietly when I need to get something done. Or I tell him thanks when he cleans up his toys or tells me he needs a diaper change. Hopefully all those thanks will offset the negativity they feel when they’re reined in and told not to do something, or when they feel unappreciated.
    Sleeping Mama´s latest post: Valentine’s Dinner at 4:30pm?

  6. That Candy Card is awesome!

  7. As the kids get older they sure need to hear from us how much we love and appreciate them too. Today, actually, just as we were driving somewhere I told my 12 year old daughter how I feel about her. Often, I find myself grouching or pointing out the things she has forgotten/not done well but neglect to mention the zillion things she has done to help out or done supremely well. I need constant reminders in this department.
    Kika@embracingimperfection´s latest post: Angry Parenting

  8. My daughter would love special time for just she and I. She wouldn’t even care what we were doing. Since her little sister was born, special Momma-Gracie time has become precious, so it’s the best possible way for me to thank her for anything (including being patient while I tend to the baby).

    I do love your giant note, though. Who wouldn’t want to receive that?
    Tara´s latest post: AboutOne on the road:

  9. Our specil thing is a Night Walk. My kids are all 5 and under and there is just something magical to them about taking a walk all alone with mom in the quiet and dark while everyone else is sleeping.
    Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds´s latest post: The Science of Home Management or In Which I Reveal My Geekiness

  10. i love the giant candy card! i can’t wait to create one for my daughter. 12 is a tough age so far, but this article is so timely in reminding me to remind her how grateful i am. thank you!
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site´s latest post: Can the “Wake to Sleep” Method Help Lengthen Your Baby’s Short Naps?


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