Out of all the words in books and movies, this one has stayed with me and plays in my head many times in the day. There are so many times in the day when you can tell your child these things without actually saying them. These messages are so much more important, especially if you have girls. They need to know that it doesn’t matter what they look like on the outside, what matters is that they feel loved, missed, and important. Here are some ways that I try to say I love you without words.
When they talk to you, listen with all your attention and heart. Do not just give mindless answers because they do know it. When you pay attention to everything that they have to say they know that they are important. Believe it or not, when you pay full attention to your children they will be more patient for you when you cannot.
Brush your daughter’s hair, tuck them into bed, let him sit on your lap…. When you feel stressed do not take it out on your children, instead speak sweetly and breathe deep. These moments are so precious to them and will build a better character than a harsh word ever will.
Create Beauty for Them
Even if you are not crafty this is something you can do. Remember how proud they are to give you a piece of paper with a stick figure and a scribbled heart? That is how you child shows you love and they will understand the meaning if you do the same. Surprise them with fresh flowers in a jar in the dresser, cut their sandwich into a shape with a cookie cutter, doodle something and leave it on the bathroom mirror… make their world beautiful and allow them to see that life is such.
Let Them Do
Every child wants to help. It is in their very nature to want to do, not just sit and watch, and you would be amazed at what these little ones in our lives can do! Cooking, cleaning, making, helping with pets… there is something simple in every job that your child can help with. School age kids love to cook, toddlers love to put things in containers and wipe things with a spray bottle. Working side by side with you lets them see that work is fun and rewarding and that you value their efforts.
Sing & Dance Together
No one expects you to be a Broadway star and here’s a little secret: your child LOVES to see you dance and hear you sing! It doesn’t matter if it is something from the radio, a song in another language that they can’t understand, or is so off key that even the dog starts howling. Sing, sing, sing! I found my old tap shoes from high school and put them on in the kitchen. Even though my girls have seen me dance tons, you should have seen the smiles on their faces- even more so when I let them put the shoes on and let them clip clop around the house. Glue some pennies to an old pair of their shoes and let them tap away while you cook! I can’t stress this enough- it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, just do it together!!!
*Of course, when in doubt, just smile and tell them you love them!