By Traci L. Carman
As we head into the holiday season, and we are in full swing back to school, we can easily get buried in the hustle and bustle of life.
How do we take care of business and make sure our children know they are loved? We may assume they know we love them, but do they actually feel loved?
Here are 4 keys to making sure your child feels loved:
Key #1 – Time
Make sure you are spending time with them daily. It doesn’t have to be hours; it can be 15-30 minutes. The consistency is what makes the difference. Ideas for what to do: telling a story at night, reading a book, eating or making breakfast together, connecting about your child’s day after school, making dinner together, sitting under a tree with the breeze blowing (on a weekend, if the weekdays are busy), eating an ice cream cone, playing a card game. How are you investing your time? Time equals love to a child.
Key #2 – Invest
Are you simply going through the motions of day-to-day life, getting your children to school, homework done, dinner eaten, baths, and bed? Or, are you taking the time to invest in them personally, by using these opportunities to connect? What that looks like is having quality conversation while you are doing any of the above activities, not multi-tasking, not “sort of” listening, but being fully present to whatever activity or conversation you are having with your child. There is a difference between being there in body, and actually paying attention. Eye contact is important.
Key #3 – Meaningful
When you invest time in being with your children, are you “doing” time, or are you making it meaningful? Are you really present? Are you enjoying it? What can you learn about them? What stories can you share about your life? Kids love those stories. Who are you? Who are they? Invest in quality time that is meaningful. They can feel the difference. It fills their happy tank, and makes them feel valued.
Key #4 – Esteem
Focus on creating a relationship that builds trust, respect and high self-esteem … in both of you. When parents are too busy to regularly invest in their children personally, they start to lose the window for creating a deep level of trust and respect. What you build when they are little, is what will get them (and you) through the teen years intact. Esteem is about value, admiration and respect. Wouldn’t that be worth investing in?
These four keys spell T-I-M-E. That is how you spell love to a child.
As parents, we have so much to do. I know it’s not easy to spend extra time with your children every day, especially if you have more than one child. However, you can make it easier. Simply incorporate quality into the time you already spend making dinner, doing homework, or driving to a sporting event. Invest in meaningful experiences that build trust, respect and high self-esteem. Invest in making sure that your child feels loved. It is important.