You’re a busy Mom (or Dad J), yet you want to meet the needs of your kids and make them feel loved and special. How to do this when life is pushing you?
It’s much simpler than you think and doesn’t take a whole chunk of time. It will take some planning and a little rescheduling, but you can make sure that your kids are feeling valued.
Here are seven simple things you can do to make your kids feel special:
- Maximise moments. Making kids feel special doesn’t require large amounts of time, but it does require you to be alert to opportunities to connect with them. Tune in to their frequency. Listen when your child tells a story, smile at them when they are enjoying a game, comment on their latest art creation. You can have many mini-connections with your kids throughout the day.
Bedtime is often a vulnerable time. As you say goodnight your child may blurt out something that’s bothering them, ask a deep question, or share something they enjoyed that day. Take a few minutes to soothe a worry, answer the question, or share their joy.
- Schedule special time. Relationships take the back seat when we don’t plan for time together. Schedule special time with each of your kids. Some people take their kids on a “date” once a month. We had “Chat time” each week. Each child had a half hour one evening per week that was theirs. I used this time to do something with them that interested them (within reason!) – reading a book of their choice, giving them a massage or back tickle, playing a game, or just talking.
Include your kids in things you want to do – like baking or working on a project. Teach them a new skill – like driving, baking bread, or basic woodwork. My kids loved chat time and never failed to remind me when it was their turn.
- Leave notes. As your children get older, leave notes on their pillow or other surprise places like in between their clean laundry or in their lunch box. Tell them how proud you are of them and how much they mean to you. Highlight something special about them that you value.
- Be affectionate. Touch your children – whether it’s a kiss, a hug, a high five, or some rowdy wrestling. Touch is important for their emotional and brain development. Ruffle their hair as they bend over their homework, hug them when you say goodnight, touch their arm or shoulder as you walk by. Touch sends a message of love and appreciation and will make your kids feel special. Some kids don’t like to be touched. Respect this. When they do come to you for an occasional hug then give it.
- Love what they love. Take an interest in the things your kids enjoy – whether it’s drawing, soccer, motorbikes, exercise, or history. Ask questions about their interests and hobbies. Support their dreams and help make them a reality as far as possible.
- Make eye contact. Making eye contact with your kids means you are focused on them. It shows you are engaged and listening. My kids often stopped talking until I looked up from what I was doing and made eye contact.
Look your child in the eye and tell them you love them. Look at them as they tell a story about their day. Make eye contact when you correct them. It’s an important social skill they need to learn, so teach them how to do it by doing it with them.
- Discipline. The right kind of discipline will make your child feel valued. When you take the time to explain what they did wrong and give them a consequence you are showing that you value them enough to invest time in them. Kids are not dumb. They know when they are needing discipline. One of my kids once told me, “Mom, I’m doing this wrong all the time and you aren’t doing anything about it.” Kids need to know you value them enough to discipline them.
Here’s what children around the world say makes them feel special:
- Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song. Tell me stories about when you were little.
- Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.
- Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.
- Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.
- At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
- At night talk to me about anything: love, school, family, etc.
- Let me play outside a lot.
- Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV shows together. (I’d recommend reading a book instead. 😉 )
- Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care.
- Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag[i]
Making each of your children feel special is not so much about doing a bunch of stuff for or with them, but more about being aware of them.
Tune in to them. Be conscious of their emotional state, recognise opportunities to connect, and regularly spend some alone time with each one.
It won’t take much to give each child a message of their value but they will feel secure, you’ll boost their self-esteem, and you won’t need to discipline as much.
Are your kids getting the message that you love them and that they are special? What do you do to make your children feel special? Share in the comments.