It does not matter how they became your kids, they are in your care. You may have given them birth, adopted them, inherited them, or foster them; it does not matter how they became yours when it comes to the ability to show them you love them. Kids need to feel secure, cared for and loved. Knowing someone loves them not only gives them a sense of belonging but also encourages them to feel secure enough to achieve more in their lives. Adults can be guilty of being so busy with every day tasks that they forget to demonstrate by verbal or action how they care about the children in their lives. It can happen to any of us, even those of us who say our children are important to us. The world has a way of demanding more of our time than there are hours in a day. Work, meetings, household tasks, social obligations; these are all things that take up our time. Our children can easily become left behind without our even realizing it. There are simple, meaningful ways to show a child you care. Things you can do on a daily basis that tell your child, no matter how busy you are, you care about them.
When the family rises in the morning, take a few minutes to really look at your child. Make a mental picture of what that child is wearing, not to criticize the choice of clothing, but to imprint an image in your mind of your child to carry with you through your day. Children grow physically much more rapidly than we at times want them to and all to soon, their physical appearances have changed, seemingly right before our eyes. Have you noticed the little things, like the shades of color throughout your child’s’ head? Can you describe the flecks of skin tone on the cheeks, forehead, and nose? Are there cute freckles, or dimples on his or her face? Taking time to notice your child, really look and see your child, gives you the chance to know your child in an intimate way; and not just as another body to cloth or mouth to feed. Giving your child a thumbs up or “heh, you look sharp today can be such a confidence booster. Favorably remarking on choice of clothing or accessories will let your child know that you care enough to notice the little things about him or her.
Positive interaction can be such a boost of morale for a child and can encourage them to be confident when it comes to tasks at home or school. A smile, a nod, or a “good job”, will acknowledge that you are aware of and notice how well your child can do tasks around your home. When a child can feel good about the little things they do and felt that someone is aware of accomplishments, they are likely to attempt to take on bigger tasks at home and school. It takes but a moment to smile at your child, but the warm glow it creates can carry that good feeling throughout his or her day. When we feel good about what we do and how people feel towards us it helps to build self-esteem and a sense of well being about who we are. Taking the time to interact in a positive way towards our children is a really simple way to show we care enough to notice what they do.
Kids of all ages, even teens, need to be touched in positive healthy ways by the adults who care for them. An encouraging pat on the back or gentle hair tousle to a teen will tell them that you are interested and happy to be around them. Young children love to be cuddled, and hugged by the grownups in their lives as it gives them a sense of security and tells them that all is well. The simple act of holding a small hand, when crossing the street can speak of caring to a child that they will understand. For humans, touch is essential and gives us such contentment that it has been known when a baby is not touched at all, that baby will develop poorly or even die; as witnessed in some poor countries whose orphanages are crowded. Contact, even a light, casual touch, can signify that you care.
Listen, when your child speaks and try your best to give him or her your undivided attention. Looking at your child when they talk to you will signal to them, that you care to give them your time and full attention. Ask questions or comment about what they have said, so that the child understands that you not only were listening to what they said but understood it as well. A child, who is listened to, feels important in that what he says matters. Taking the time to really listen to your child shows just how much you care about that child.
Do you think these things are too simple to be important? Are you thinking that you do these things on a daily basis? Think again about the last time you really took a good look at the face of your child. Try to remember the last time you took notice of what your child was wearing. Can you recall what they are wearing right now? Do you remember when it was, and what you said or did that gave your child some positive encouragement? Is there a special phrase or hand signal that you and your child use to express agreement? Was there a physical, positive touch today between you and your child? Think back to any conversation that may have taken place between you and your child today and repeat your child’s words out loud; can you recall what was said? If you can honestly say yes you did any or all of these small but very special ways of caring, then that is terrific. If you can honestly say that no, you have not done any of these things today or for a long time, then now is a good time to start. Every child is precious and deserves to feel cared for and loved. As adults we have the capability to show children in small ways and big ways just how much we do care for them. No positive act is too small or insignificant when it comes to the huge impact it can have on the children we love.