The need for love, affection and belonging is now considered to be among our basic needs. This means that aside from food, clothing and shelter, people now expect others to show how much they love them.
Kids are not an exception in this feeling of wanting to be loved, but many parents struggle to find the best way to really show how much they love and value their children. If you are one of these parents that find it difficult to convince your children that they are loved and valued, this post is meant for you.
From this post, you will get ideas on the things you can do to show how much you love your child.
How to Make Your Child Feel Loved and Valued
- Wake your child up in a lovely way
According to research, there are nine minutes in the day that influence the mood of children; so parents are advised to take advantage of these minutes to show much they love and value their children. The nine minutes are divided into three, and the first three minutes are in the morning, immediately children wake up; the second is when they get back from school, and the third is before going to bed at night.
To take advantage of these minutes, check in with your child first thing in the morning, and do something as simple as kissing his or her forehead to wake up him or her. You can also nudge his or her shoulder or play your child’s favourite song as you enter his or her room to wake up him or her.
You may not be around in the afternoon to receive your child back from school, but before going to bed at night, spend time together with your child to show some love. You can tell bedtime stories or read a book to him or her before sleeping.
Find what works best for you and your child. Be creative with how you use these 9 important minutes with your child.
- Say “I love you” often
You may assume that because you have enrolled your child in one of the best schools in Nigeria and that you take proper care of your child, he or she would feel loved and valued. This assumption is wrong, as until they get to their teenage years, most children don’t realize the efforts put in by their parents to care for them.
For this reason, as you are caring for your child by giving him or her a quality education and providing for his or her needs, you also need to say the words out loud, for your child to know that you love him or her. Saying “I love you” as often as possible can never be too much, as long as it comes from your heart.
- Spend quality time together
The keyword here is “quality”, because you can actually be at home together with your family but not spend quality time together. For example, you can’t be at home fully concentrated on watching a movie – or pressing your phone – but claim you are spending quality time with your family.
Therefore, put away all distractions when you decide to spend quality time with your family. Some of the things you can do to spend quality time with your family include cooking and eating together, helping with school assignments, reading books together and going for picnics etc.
While spending time together, engage your child in meaningful conversations. Ask questions about what’s happening in his or her life; it shouldn’t be limited only to questions about school, it can be about anything you know he or she loves. Make sure the questions are open-ended so that the conversation can continue for a reasonably long time.
Doing all these – spending quality time together and asking questions about your child’s life will make your child feel loved and valued. It shows that you care.
- Look in the eye and listen attentively
Countless times, it has been observed that looking at ourselves eyeball to eyeball when talking makes us feel engaged. This observation isn’t only applicable to adults talking to each other, but also in adult to kid conservation.
Therefore, if you want your child to be fully engaged and also believe that you care, then while talking, you need to look at him or her in the eyes. You also need to give your full attention and listen attentively to what he or she has to say.
If you are busy when your child walks up to you to start a conversation, ask him or her to give you some minutes to finish what you are doing, and then give your full attention when you are ready to listen without distraction. Don’t continue working or pressing your phone while your child is trying to have an important conversation with you.
- Show interest in what your child loves
Children derive a lot of fun in some activities that adults don’t see to be fascinating. For example, they love to watch cartoons and play Minecraft and other kids games. When having conversations with them, children tend to want to talk about these activities, and by default, the response of many parents shows a lack of interest in these activities.
The result is that the children feel their parents don’t value them and aren’t interested in them. To prevent your child from feeling this way, always hear your child out whenever he or she starts talking about the fun activities he or she enjoys. Allow him or her to talk about how he or she eventually finished a challenging level in a game.
By showing passion in what your child is passionate about, he or she will feel loved and valued.
- Learn your child’s love language
Many parents try hard to show they love their children, but yet it appears their children don’t seem to appreciate all they do. They conclude that the children are ungrateful, but most of the time, that’s not the case. The issue is that such parents have not taken the time to learn their children’s love language.
In other words, they are doing random things to show love to their children, without taking the time to understand what their children really love. Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell published a book titled The Five Love Languages, where they explained five distinct love languages.
These love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service. They advise parents to observe each of their children and show love in the language that each child prefers. So, to make your child feel loved and valued, study your child to discover which language he or she loves.
It can be physical touch like cuddling; it can be giving kudos and compliments; it can be saying “I love you” daily; It can be buying gifts and it can also be having exclusive bonding time together. Whatever the language your child loves, speak it as often as you can.
- Support your child when he or she makes a mistake
As your child keeps growing up and facing the challenges of life, he or she will make some mistakes, but as the parent, you must support your child during this period. Let your child know that we all make mistakes and encourage him or her to move on. Don’t make him or her feel bad.
By supporting your child when he or she makes a mistake, he or she will feel loved and valued at the same time, and this will help improve his or her confidence level. The child also becomes resilient.
- Fulfil your promises
Kids don’t like it when their parents promise them something but get denied when it is the time to fulfil the promise. Aside from the fact that it makes them very sad, they see it as a breach of trust. Moreover, after several broken promises, they conclude that their parents are unreliable and not trustworthy.
Therefore in order not to get a bad label from your child, always fulfil your promises. If you promise to take your child to the zoo or to visit the amusement park, do it. If you can’t fulfil your promise because of a good reason, have a conversation about it with your child. Don’t just keep quiet after failing on a promise, as if nothing went wrong.
- Show up at important school events
Schools usually hold lots of events in a calendar year, and at these events, some students are asked to do a presentation or performance. Such students like it when their parents are in the audience cheering them up, as it allows them to impress their parents.
Even if your child isn’t among the performers, seeing you attend school events makes your child feel loved and valued. He or she will be happy that you are involved in the events happening in his or her life.
In summary, the same way you view basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter as something you must do for your child, showing love to your child should be seen in the same light. The points highlighted above would help you navigate numerous ways on how to make your child feel loved and valued, without running out of ideas.