How parents can show love to their children


Receiving love, care and emotional support is vital for children, whether on Valentine's Day or any other day. — TNS

What are some ways to show emotional support and love to children and to have quality time as a family?

Receiving love, care and emotional support is vital for children – on Valentine’s Day and every day.

This is especially important as we deal with the continuing stress and challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are several ways to show that you care and to come together as a family:

> Hold time together dear

Mark game nights or other family activities on your calendar so that everyone can look forward to enjoying time together.

With winter weather and Covid-19 restrictions, use this extra time at home to play together and to connect as a family.

Also be sure to carve out one-on-one time with each of your children regularly to do something they enjoy.

Put away mobile phones, tablets and other devices during these special times and really focus on each other.

> Have heart-to-heart conversations

Ask your child “How was your day?” and actively listen to the answer.

If they tell you about a challenge they are facing, let them finish the story before helping them to solve their problem.

Many kids are having a tough time as they deal with school closings and time away from friends who might be sick.

If you see signs of anxiety or depression, talk with your child’s paediatrician.

> Share your love of reading

Start reading to your child beginning in infancy.

Many studies show that reading together strengthens parent-child bonds and promotes positive parenting.

Plus, when you read to or with your child, you help them build a foundation for success in school, which is linked to long-term wellness.

> Take a deep breath, then hug

When your child is angry or grouchy, try not to take it personally!

Calm your own emotions first – perhaps by taking a deep breath – then give a hug, pat or other sign of affection.

Once they are also calm and feeling better, consider talking with them about the event and how they might better manage those strong emotions the next time.

> Discipline with love

Use positive, non-violent discipline.

Harsh physical and verbal punishments don’t work and can damage long-term physical and mental health.

From an early age, lay out clear and consistent rules that your children can understand.

Give praise when they follow them, not just punishment when they don’t.

Calmly explain consequences and follow through right away when rules are broken.

Cooking is a good way not only for the family to spend time together, but also to impart good food habits to children. — FilepicCooking is a good way not only for the family to spend time together, but also to impart good food habits to children. — Filepic

> Choose words with care

Use plenty of positive and encouraging words when talking with your child.

Model consideration and gratitude yourself by saying “please” and “thank you”.

Skip the sarcasm, mockery and put-downs, even if you are teasing.

Children often don’t understand your purpose in using such language.

Even if they do, these messages can harm self-esteem and create negative ways of talking and connecting with each other.

> Let them know you’re there

Respond promptly and lovingly to your child’s physical and emotional needs.

Be available to listen when your child wants to talk, even if it’s not the best time for you.

> Forgive mistakes, including your own

If you lose your cool and react harshly to your child, apologise and explain how you will handle the situation in the future.

Be sure to keep your promise.

Also, forgive yourself – no one is perfect.

Understanding how to forgive is important for your child to accept their own mistakes, and it builds confidence and resilience.

> Cook and eat together

One of the best ways to teach your children about good food choices and enjoy each other’s company is to cook together.

Involve them in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to preparing and serving the meal.

Family meals are a great opportunity to talk and connect.

Put away any electronic devices, including your own mobile phone.

> Foster friendships

Help your child develop positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the community.

Teach them about the value of kindness.

Encourage your child to be involved in activities that require teamwork, such as sports.

Get to know your child’s friends and talk about responsible and respectful relationships.

> Embrace health and safety

Show how much you care by taking your children to the doctor regularly for well-child care visits.

Get them caught up on recommended immunisations to protect them against infectious diseases.

Teach them how to help avoid injuries, provide a healthy and nutritious diet, and encourage plenty of sleep and exercise to help them grow healthy and strong.

A good place to start is by using seat belts or car seats every time you are in a vehicle.

> Share these words without limit

Say “I love you” to your children on Feb 14 and many more times as they grow up.

They are never too old to hear it. – By Dr Andrew Garner/American Academy of Pediatrics/Tribune News Service

Dr Andrew Garner is a primary care paediatrician and clinical professor of paediatrics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, United States.

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