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With all of the chaos going on in the world today, it is more important than ever to make your children feel loved. Children and teens have many pressures to deal with, and these stressful pressures are causing depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems to rise at alarming rates. As mothers, making our children feel loved builds confidence within them – a confidence that can help to combat the issues the world tries to throw at them.
When a child is born, books, classes, and advice given to new mothers are all geared towards meeting the physical needs of her child. While providing for physical needs is important, meeting the child’s emotional needs gets overlooked amongst the many teachings about feeding, sleeping, and growth milestones. Science proves that a child’s most essential need is the need to feel loved.
As a mother, you are your child’s safe place. From birth, your child naturally wants to look to you for love, guidance, and comfort. As your child grows, it’s important to continue to nurture and cultivate your relationship with them. When you make your children feel loved, they will never forget how much you care for them. Even when you have to give hard news or discipline, your unwavering love and kindness will always be engrained in their heart.
Just as mental health and wellness are important for you, it’s just as important for your children. As adults, we understand how hard it is to live in this world – so just imagine how hard it is for a young person who is trying to grow and navigate through life! Give your child the same patience and grace you expect others to give to you.
Making your child feel special starts with knowing how your child gives and receives love. The Five Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively pinpoints different personality traits that are cues as to how your child wants to be loved. For example, some children need one-on-one quality time with their parents to feel loved. Other children need to hear encouraging and affirming words from their parents to feel special. Which one of the 5 love languages resonates most with each one of your children?
Discover your Child’s Love Language
- Affirming words: words of affection and endearment, praise and encouragement.
- Acts of service: services for your child that they see as valuable.
- Quality time: focussed, undivided attention, being together.
- Gifts: giving and receiving undeserved gifts.
- Physical touch: hugs, cuddles, kisses, and pats on the back.
If you have more than one child, remember that every child is different and will need something different from you. My oldest son thrives on words of affirmation, while my daughter needs lots of hugs and kisses to feel loved. As your children grow and evolve, what they need from you will also change. Learn your child’s emotional needs and start with fulfilling that.
In addition to knowing your child’s love language, there are many other simple yet effective acts and gestures you can do daily to make your children feel loved.
7 Ways to Make Your Children Feel Loved
1. Say it.
If you love and appreciate your child, verbally express to them how you feel. Say “thank you” when he or she does something for you. Say “I’m proud of you” when they make an achievement. Say “I’m sorry” when you make a mistake that affects them. Remind each one of your children daily how much you love them by saying it. They won’t know how you feel about them unless you tell them.
I know adult women who suffer from feelings of rejection because their parents never said “I Love You.” How you speak to your child will have lifelong effects – whether good or bad.
2. Be affectionate.
A hug or kiss goes a long way when it comes from a loving mother. Science proves that hugs and cuddles can make you happier! From a hug, the hormones oxytocin and norepinephrine are released, reducing stress hormones and making you feel happier.
The daily act of affection can help to boost your child’s mood. I like to give each one of my kids high-fives as they walk into school each morning. Find simple ways to normalize giving affection to your child. For example, if you and your kid are watching a movie together at home, invite him or her to cuddle with you on the couch while you enjoy the movie together.
3. Tell your stories.
Do you have a funny story or something that happened to you that will make your kid laugh? As a teenager, did you face a similar situation to what your pre-teen or teen is going through now? Share your story! By telling your child about you and the things you have enjoyed, done, and overcome, they will get to know you in a more personal way, strengthening the trust you have with one another. My son loves when I share my embarrassing stories firm middle school with him.
4. Refer to your family as a team.
Remind your children often that your family unit is a team, and that you all love and care for one another. The feeling of belonging to a team will help your children to feel loved by everyone in your home. Set goals and accomplish things together as a family. Create a special handshake, nickname, or motto that you all know and practice often. My children and their cousins call each other “teammates”.
5. Spend individual time with each child.
No matter your child’s love language, everyone desires to feel special every now and then. Plan special dates to spend special one-on-one time with each one of your children. Ditch your phone and all other responsibilities so you can focus in on your child for the allotted time. Choose an activity they love to do and use that personal time to get updated and acquainted with anything new going on in their life. Every Sunday, my daughter looks forward to the time when she and I take out the stickers and markers and have a planning session in our planners.
6. Get interested in the things they like.
Is there something your child loves? Get interested in their likes, sports, hobbies. By taking an interest in the things your child likes, you are showing them that you care about what they care about. Watch out for their natural talents, and find ways to encourage them in the things they like to do. My son loves it when he and his Dad play video games together. He now has his own gaming channel on YouTube.
Many times, your child will show and tell you how to love them if you take a moment to listen. Like you, your child wants to feel seen and be heard, so be intentional about listening to their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Listen with empathy when they’re hurting, and listen when they talk about their passions and hopes for the future. All of the questions you have concerning your child can be answered if you stop listening to what he or she has to say. In fact, your child may open up more if they know that they have a listening ear from you.