Today we will explore the fifth of these values, Love.
Value #5: Love – Be Generous with Your Affection.
Parents tend to think that children are naturally loving and generous with their affection. This is true, but for loving sentiments to last, they need to be reciprocated. It's chilling to realize that over the course of a typical busy day, the phrase "I love you" is probably the one that a child is least likely to hear.
Let your child see you demonstrate your love and affection for the people in your life. Kiss and hug your spouse or significant other when the kids are around. Talk to your children about how much you love and appreciate their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
And, of course, don't let a day pass without expressing your affection for your child himself. Show your love in unexpected ways: Pack a note in his lunch box. Tape a heart to the bathroom mirror so he'll see it when he brushes his teeth. Give her a hug for no reason. Don't allow frantic morning drop-offs or frenetic afternoon routines squeeze loving gestures out of your day.
I can practically guarantee you that the more you say "I love you" to your child, the more your child will say "I love you" back. The more hugs and kisses you give, the more your home will be filled with love and affection. And when our children feel free to express their love to us, we instill in them perhaps the greatest value of all.
Having a child is a great gift – but also a big responsibility. Give some of these suggestions a try. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Adapted from an article in Parents Magazine.