Today we are continuing our series of articles featuring the experts at ESCAPE Family Resource Center about showing our children love and parenting. The Houston Family Examiner recently had the opportunity to discuss family relationships and the importance of parents showing children love with ESCAPE Family Resource Center Chief Programs Officer Nicole Huff. Don't just wait for Valentine's Day to put a whole lot of love in your child's heart. Today's talk is about elementary aged children, ages 6-8 years.
ESCAPE's Chief Programs Officer Nicole Huff shares with me that parents have the greatest influence on a child's belief about himself or herself. Letting your child know that he or she belongs, is doing well, and is contributing can help him or her develop healthy self-esteem.
Recommendations for making those things happen include:
1) Spend time holding your child
2) Talk and sing to your child
3) Show affection to your child.
4) Say, “I Love You” to your child
5) Cuddle up with a blanket together and watch a favorite TV show or read a book.
Family movie night at home or in the cinema is a great way to enjoy some quality downtime. Make some popcorn and give a good snuggle. It may not be the movie you enjoy, but the time with your children will be.
6) Compliment your child for his/her behavior or completing a task
7) Hug your child for no special reason
8) Express to your child what you love about them (e.g. “I feel so proud of you when I see you play nicely with you brothers/sisters/friends. You are such a caring child!)
9) Provide your child with opportunities to assist in daily chores and tasks such as meal preparations, cleaning, and grocery shopping
Be clear with your expectations about these chores. Make sure they are age appropriate and try a chore chart or other system so that your children know what is required of them. Sure you can say it over and over again, but if it's written down there is no way to misunderstand.
10) While driving your children to and from school talk to them and/or sing a song
You may be surprised at what you hear in the care when you are driving.
11) Surprise your child by taking them out to a favorite place (i.e. park or favorite place to eat)
12) Express your love in writing; write them a special note and card
The lunch box is a great place to surprise your child with a note about how terrific you think they are. One easy way of doing this is to create a list of labels and then place the label on their sandwich bag, juice box or Lunchable.
13) Prepare their favorite meals and snacks
14) Provide them with encouraging words when they feel sad, scared, frustrated, or angry
15) Make time for them and provide them with undivided attention
16) Help your child with homework
Quite often this is one of the toughest jobs we have as parents. But it's worth the time and effort and it helps you to stay on top of what your child is doing in school, what they may be struggling with as well as what's happening in and out of the classroom.
17) Display your child’s artwork, creations, and good grades proudly
You don't have to post it on Facebook, but it is nice to share with grandparents how the children are doing or create a space where you can hang up their pictures, creations and grades. Kitchen cupboards and the fridge are often the easiest way to display.
18) Try to share at least one meal together every day; if weekdays are not possible try weekends
Some classes that can help you with learning and doing these activities with your children are available at ESCAPE. Building New Beginnings offers help managing co-parenting after divorce and Dads Count offers support strengthening fathers’ relationships with their children, just to name a few.
Subscribe to the Houston Family Examiner as we continue talking to ESCAPE to learn more ways to connect with our children and put a lot of love in their heart. Our next installment in this series will include ways to work with your tween and teen child.
ESCAPE is committed, both locally and globally, to providing child abuse and neglect prevention programs, court-ordered and CPS-approved parenting classes, parenting support groups, parenting tips and professional training tools that anyone can use to develop positive parenting and co-parenting, appropriate discipline, anger management and conflict resolution skills.