We all know February is the season of romantic love, but it's also a great time to demonstrate acts of love to your kids too. Experts agree that when a child feels loved, they have better health overall and are more likely to thrive. Here are some simple, meaningful ways Katy moms and dads show their love throughout the year.
Brooke and Taylor Slack
Photo by My Sweet Melissa Photography
KATY MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2019
By Ariana Pezeshki and Katrina Katsarelis
1. WRITE messages of love
There are so many ways to write love notes to your children. Leave a heart shaped love note on their bedroom door, put a sticky note in their lunchbox, or use dry erase markers to write an encouraging message on their bathroom mirror. Written words have the power of being read a few times thereby enforcing the good you see in him.
2. HAVE A CONNECTION BREAKFAST
Katy mom, Krystal Nalesnik, takes the time everyday to eat breakfast with her son Kolson, age 6, to connect first thing in the morning. "We talk about how we want the day to go and about making good choices. The main thing though is listening to him and allowing him to tell me anything."
3. FLASH A HAND SIGNAL
Creating a special hand signal is a great way to say I love you without ever having to say the words. Whether he's sitting on the school bus or on the sidelines at his soccer game, the love hand signal communicates your love instantly. You change use the standard I love you hand signal or create a fun family one of your own.
4. pray and praise together
Meagan Clanahan has a fun, creative way to kickstart her twins 8-year-old's morning that sets the tone for an upbeat day. "We have dance parties in the car on the way to school and I'll pick out a specific worship song that I am praying over them that day." Another suggestion is to take time at bedtime to ask children what they need prayer together for their needs and for others.
5. Speak HIS Love Language
According to a best selling book by Dr. Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, couples who learn each other's love language have a better chance at consistently meeting each other's needs. The same goes for kids. Knowing which love language means most to your child most will help you express your love in a deeper, more meaningful way. Is it quality time your child needs or does he respond better to words of affirmation? See if you can figure out which love language ignites means the most to your child. When in doubt, ask him.
The love languages are:
1. Words of affirmation.
2. Quality time.
3. Receiving gifts.
4. Acts of service
5. Physical touch
6. Show your gratitudE
As parents, we tend to bark out demands and instructions to make sure everything gets done on time and as expected. Instead of yelling at him for what he didn't do, try noticing the one thing he DID do. "I thank them for helping me clean or for putting the groceries away," says Karla Heath. Experts say not only does noticing the good reinforce more of that type of behavior, it also teaches him how to show gratitude for the things you do as well.
7. GIVE FOUR HUGS A DAY (AT LEAST)
Photo by Lentille Photography.
Based on an old kids song, four hugs a day is the minimum every human being needs so hug away! There are many studies that confirm the power of touch. Try to give your child daily snuggles, hugs, and kisses especially when you leave, pick them up, or say goodnight. "I make sure to hug them every morning, every day after school and every night before bed," says Katy mom Twyla Harris. "The teens are a little more reluctant but surprisingly, will position themselves for it if I don’t initiate it exactly at these expected times!"
NBC News reported last fall that people who are hugged regularly have lower blood pressure and heart rates, and that women who got more hugs from their partners generally had higher Oxycontin levels. (Oxytocin is nicknamed the love hormone).
8. laugh and have fun
Joy and love go hand in hand so look for ways to be silly, laugh, and have fun in your daily routine with kids. Don't be afraid to laugh at silly noises, funny faces, or play an occasional harmless prank on them. According to Kidshealth.com, having laughter and humor in the family generally makes for a happier home life and is a great way to connect with your children. Humor also helps children cope better and results in more optimistic attitude overall. So laugh it up and have fun! It's good for everyone in the family.
9. Say I LOVE YOU
Last and most importantly say I love you everyday! From the moment they wake in the morning to the minute they lay their heads down to sleep at night, remind yourself that every day with them is a blessing. Hearing I love you instills joy, boosts confidence, and makes them feel valuable. Love is powerful and expressive word that nobody can hear too much. And it's important to continue to say you love them as they get older too. "It is so easy to forget that teens need parental love just as much as when they were small," says Candace Brawner.
Thank you to our Katy parents and experts who contributed to this story! If you have some great advice, tell us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.