As parents, we adore our children. Even when they challenge us, even when they torture us with sleep deprivation, we still love them. But do they know how much we love them? Can they understand just how much a parent loves a child? Here are some ways in which we can try to show them that we care.
Every day, hug them. While they are little enough, scoop them into your arms. The day will come when you can no longer pick them up. Maybe the day will come when they tower over you, when they are embarrassed by you and they don’t want to be hugged as often. So whenever possible, hug them.
Even from before they are born, talk to them. About anything, just let them hear your voice. When they are tiny newborns, keep talking. Even before they can understand your words, they are learning from them. They are picking up language, social cues, tone and expression. What you say to your children as they develop will become their inner voice, so as you talk to them, remember to tell them all of the things that make you proud of them.
Listen to them
Even if they don’t really have anything to say, listen. As they grow, they will have problems that you will want to hear about. If you have always listened, even when it wasn’t important, you can only hope that they will come to you when it is truly important.
Even tiny babies can benefit from reading. Read the words, look at the pictures, talk about the story, just spend the time together sharing the book. Giving them your time to read together is a precious gift that they will always remember.
Take photos with them
One day when you are old or gone, these photos will be all that they have of you. Get out from behind the camera and into the picture whenever you can. When they look back at these pictures, they wont care if your hair wasn’t as perfect as you would like, or if you thought that you looked fat or ugly or tired. I guarantee that they will think you looked beautiful. Let them have photos of you together.
Parenting may not always make you popular with your children. In fact, if your children are 100% happy with you all of the time, you are probably doing something wrong. “No” is not what they will want to hear, but sometimes, for their own good, for their growth, development or safety, it’s an important word to say. It is easy to give in, to let things slide, to opt for an easy life. While parenting is not about making your child your nest friend now, it is about doing what is best for them. When they have their own children, they will realise that you did not always go for the easy option, not because you were being difficult, but because you love them.
Play with them
Get down on the floor and play. Get up on your feet, put on some music and dance. Get outside and run. Play is how children learn, how they express themselves and often how you will get them to open up to you. You are never too old to play with them, but one day they will be too old to want to play with you. Play with them while you can.
Schedules are busy in our crazy lives these days, but whenever possible, make time to have meals together. Share food, share your days.
It may seem obvious to you how much you love them, no matter how much they challenge you, but nothing beats telling them. So just say it. Even when they’ve tested you all day, even when they’ve pushed every boundary and fried every last nerve, still say it as much as you can. You can never tell your children that you love them too much.
In truth, they will probably never truly appreciate the extent of a parent’s love until they have children of their own. All I can hope is that my children understand as best they can at any given moment, that they are my world.
How do you let your children know that you love them?