In the last of my three part series, this blog post features ways parents/guardians can show love to their child through words of affirmation. For those of you familiar with the 5 love languages, the concept behind words of affirmation is basically to verbally express how much we love and appreciate our loved one. For kids, it can look a bit different depending on the age but here are a few suggestions that can be playful.
1). Write a note/draw a picture - in case you've missed it, food marketers now sell snacks with wrappers you can write on. See what I'm referring to here. These opportunities to write or draw a picture for your child while you are away from them can reassure them that even though you are apart, you are still thinking about them. Don't want to buy these kinds of items? I hear ya! Use post-it notes or good old-fashioned paper and tape. It's not about the item vs the note/drawing.
2). State what you love about them - during lunch/dinner or bedtime, finish the following statement:
I love your________ (eyes, ears, smile, laugh) because _________ (your eyes sparkle so bright, your ears hear so well, your smile lights up a room, your laugh is so contagious).
The purpose behind making such a statement is to highlight the greatness of your child. Avoid commenting on what they are wearing or how their hair look. Instead, focus on who they are. This can take some practice to get used to doing but with practice it is doable. If you find yourself struggling with this one, simply state what you notice about them. For example, I love your brown eyes!, I love your big smile., I love your loud laugh.
3). Sing a Song - for some parents, it can be hard to verbally express their love directly. This is where singing and dancing can come in. Under the guise of the lyrics in the song, a parent/guardian can lip-sync the words of the song to the child. The key to doing this is to make sure you are looking and pointing to your child so they know you are "singing" to them. Depending on your child's age, a lullaby can also help; Think, Twinkle, twinkle little star.
4). Acknowledge their attempts - while it is important for us to acknowledge success in our children, it is equally important to acknowledge the attempts they make in trying to to be successful. For example, you want your child to complete a task, he/she tries a couple of times but gives up because they get frustrated. Instead of focusing on them giving up, acknowledge the fact that they tried to complete it and it was very hard.
Recognizing this frustration and how hard it was for them is crucial because it validates their desire and willingness to try. The next few steps can be a little tricky depending on the task but offer them an opportunity to take a break from the task so they can regroup. After some time, check in with them and let them know it is time to try again and that you will be there to help if they want it.
Word of Caution: being able to verbally express yourself as a parent/guardian requires your patience and insight into knowing what you are capable of giving. It will also require you to not expect anything in return from your child. Words of affirmation are meant to celebrate your child's greatness. If we go in expecting our child will also say pleasant things about us, then it will change the nature of the interaction from one of unconditional love to conditional love.
Well, that wraps up the three part series that focused on how to show love to your child. Need a refresher? Missed the earlier posts? No problem! For games that focus on "seeing" each other, click here. For games that focus on touch, click here.
Have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to let me know.
Thank you for reading.
In February's blog post, I mentioned how difficult it can be to show affection and love to our children as they get older. And to be clear, when I say get older, I´m referring to children who are no longer infants. Such children are now more vocal about their needs, expressive with their discontent and can reject us in ways that sometimes trigger us. In that blog post, I highlighted four games that focus on eye contact that can bring a sense of connection and joy between you and your child. Check it out here if you haven´t already read it.
This month´s post will feature games that emphasize touch. Why is touch so important for a child and for us as human beings? Aside from the research that highlights how infants actually thrive when touched, nurturing touch allows us to feel connected and loved. Try to remember the last time you received a welcoming, embracing hug from your child or another loved one. Or the time you held your child's hand to stroll down the street. Or, how about the last time you got a high five or a fist pump with a proud energy behind it? These are the touches I'm referring to. They come with loving energy that helps us connect with each other.
Unfortunately, however, these are some of the first things we can forget to do when life gets busy and our children become more independent. So, below are a few games/activities you can do to help foster this sense of connection. Test them out and feel free to let me know how they worked for you.
As in my previous post I will offer a word of caution: some children are sensitive to touch. For some, touch can be too ticklish which can dysregulate them. For others, the proximity of having someone close to them may be triggering. If you find your child is not playing along and instead tries to hit you or to turn it into a different game, it could be a sign that they are uncomfortable. Try instead the eye contact games I mentioned in my previous post or if you believe it is better, don't play at all.
Stay tune for next month's post where I will be sharing activities that focus on words of affirmation.
Thank you for reading.
Love, according to the Oxford dictionary, is "an intense feeling of deep affection." As a parent, we all have love for our children but learning how to show that love can be a challenge as our children grow older. Over the course of the next three months, I will provide tips on how you can show your child how much you love him/her through games. This month's post will focus on games that facilitate making eye contact.
Looking into your child's eyes is a form of non-verbal communication that is intimate and can be intense. Games, as I've mentioned before, can help facilitate the process of connecting and re-connecting with our children. This is especially true when we feel like we are losing touch with who they are and don't know how to best interact with them. A few games that can help both of you reconnect include:
A note of caution: Some children can become uncomfortable making eye contact due to various issues. If you find your child is not engaging in the games I mentioned, don't push the issue. Just work around it if possible or if you believe it is better, don't play at all.
Aside from playing games, I would also encourage you to make a conscious effort to notice what your child's eyes/face looks like when they are eating, coloring, doing homework or even watching their favorite show. Such moments happen so often during the day but we often forget to check in and see what our child looks like as they are growing. Doing so can help remind us about the important things in life.
Stay tune for next month's post where I will be sharing games you can play that focus on touch. (Hint, hint - handclapping games!)
Thank you for reading.
Christine M. Valentín
Welcome to my blog where I provide tips on learning how to connect with your child and how to feel more in control of your parenting journey.
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