Nurturing Love: 10 ways to cultivate and demonstrate love to kids
“Three simple words that can change the course of someone’s entire day…It costs you nothing and can mean everything to them.”- Luke Burbank, CBS Sunday Morning
This piece on CBS Sunday Morning got me thinking more deeply about the words, "I love you" and the feeling of love.
"I love you" holds a deep meaning for me and our family. If you ever were to ask my grandparents (Noni and Papoo) the secret to being married for so many years, they would say, "No matter what, always say 'I love you'." They taught me this golden nugget that I have always held close to my heart. In fact, after over 71 years of marriage, after my Noni passed away, my Papoo had the words "I love you" inscribed on their joint headstone, which now sits above them as they were both laid to rest. There was never a day that went by that those two didn't say those very meaningful words to one another.
So, how do we apply nurturing and demonstrating love to our children?
Expressing love to our children is fundamental for their emotional wellbeing and development. Here are 10 ways to cultivate and demonstrate affection in your relationship with your kids:
1. Quality Time: Spend undivided attention with your children. Engage in activities they enjoy, have meaningful communication, and create core memories together.
2. Physical Affection: Hugs, kisses, and physical touch convey love and security. Make it a habit to show affection through gentle gestures, holding hands, or simply cuddling. *Not all children like to be physically touched, be sure to respect your child's individual desires and boundaries when it comes to physical affection.
3. Verbal Expressions: Express your love through words. Tell your children you love them, praise their efforts and achievements, and offer words of encouragement and support.
4. Active Listening: Pay attention and validate your child's feelings and thoughts. Show empathy and understanding by actively listening, without judgment, which strengthens your emotional connection.
5. Actions: Show love through actions that benefit your children. Assist them with chores, prepare favorite meals, or help with homework. These acts demonstrate care and commitment.
6. Celebrate: Appreciate and celebrate your child's individuality. Embrace their strengths, interests, and personality traits, fostering a sense of acceptance and belonging.
7. Set Boundaries: Establish clear and consistent boundaries to provide structure and guidance. Communicate rules and consequences with empathy, reinforcing love while teaching respect and responsibility.
8. Encourage Independence: Support your child's autonomy and self-expression. Encourage them to explore their interests, make decisions, and learn from their experiences, fostering self-confidence and resilience.
9. Model: Be a model of love and kindness. Demonstrate respectful communication, empathy, and compassion in your interactions with others, guiding your children through your actions.
10. Unconditional Love: Above all, reassure your children of your unwavering love regardless of their successes, struggles, or failures. Embrace them for who they are, providing a safe and nurturing environment where love always prevails.
By incorporating these practices into your parenting, you create a loving and supportive environment where your children can flourish emotionally, socially, and mentally. Remember, the simplest gestures of love can leave the deepest imprints on their hearts.
"We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence." - Fred Rogers
This quote helps us understand that the authentic essence of love, calls for a deeper understanding that genuine love flourishes in conjunction with independence. This encourages fostering relationships that empower and support individual growth, affirming that the true meaning of love lies in the delicate balance of independence and interconnectedness.
How do you show your love and affection to your children? 💕
Love to hear in the comments.
P.S. No joke... Just this morning, out of the blue, I got a text from my daughter on her way to school that said, "I LOVE YOU!" It made my heart skip a beat - it touched me and gave me happy tears🥲. Even we need to hear it, as parents. The more we model the love, the more they will learn it and we will receive it back.