A mother’s love is a powerful thing, but it’s not always something that is easy to communicate clearly.
I want my children to have no doubt that I love and respect them, and here are just a few of the practical ways that I show them!
I Smile at my Children
This may seem silly, but a smile is the simplest way I let my children know that they bring joy to my heart. I smile at them whenever I can, and I find that when I smile, I actually give myself a minute to be happy they are mine.
Smiling takes practice! Everyone has a different personality, and a different face. I’m not saying it’s a good idea to be fake, or to keep a cheery exterior while you feel awful on the inside. But a smile sent right to them is like a little love note.
I Notice Them
I just let them know that I see what they are doing! Since we have very minimal toys, I to notice how innovative they are being in their play, or I notice how they did up their button perfectly, or I notice how they remembered to flush the toilet and wash their hands.
It’s not that I’m gushing over them all the time, or making a big deal out of every little thing. I just try to notice and acknowledge what they are doing right!
I Try to be Sincere in My Praise
My kids can smell a phony compliment a mile away! It would be easy to throw out “That’s the most amazing drawing I’ve ever seen!” but they would know that I was exaggerating and would learn not to take my praise seriously.
Rather than try and make them feel like they are the most special, sparkly snowflake in the whole wide world, I say some thing like “I can tell how hard you worked on this drawing. Great details. I’m proud of your diligence.”
This lets them know two things:
1) I actually saw what they accomplished and wasn’t just trying to flatter them .
2) Their personal progress matters to me, not just how they compare to others.
I Spend Quality time with them
For us, this is usually reading!
Reading to kids is a wonderful for so many reasons, but my children know I love them when I want to share a moment of enjoyment in a good story or some engaging illustrations.
But you don’t need an impressive personal library, you can even start with a catalogue you got in the mail! It’s the time together that matters!
Though I do read chapter books out loud to my kids that already know how to read, we also listen to audiobook to gather on Audible. This is something we love to do and it’s a quality time that we share that is special for both of us!
I Try to Keep my Promises
It’s terribly easy to break a tritely made promise. If I promise my children that we will go for a walk, then I need to take that seriously and make time for that walk, even if I have to sacrifice something else I had hope to accomplish.
Also, I must remember not to make promises that I don’t know if I can keep. I don’t promise them that we are going for a walk if I’m not sure how the day is going to shake out. I may say something like “we’ll go for a walk if we have time, otherwise we’ll have to go a different day.”
I Let Them Know that I’m taking Care of Them…
Parents put lots of effort into taking care of their children, but it doesn’t have to be just a responsibility. Simple care is act of love, and it’s good to acknowledge that.
I can say something like “I’m helping you put your shoes on so your feet will stay warm and dry and so you can have fun playing out side, because I LOVE YOU!”
It may seem silly to say, but it can really help my child to see my loving care in so many little things that I do for them.
They may not automatically know how to appreciate what other people do for them, and helping them see the kindness of others is important!
I Don’t Pretend to be Perfect
I know this is a temptation for me, because it’s hard to admit fault to anyone, and sometimes especially to my children whom I am in authority over. But authority does not mean that I can do no wrong. Indeed, only God can do this.
I’m not saying that I bare all my faults before my children. That would not be appropriate either. But if I am frustrated or angry or selfish, and they see this, it’s important for me to admit fault, and if necessary ask for their forgiveness.
It’s easy to think that they are little and they will soon forget my wrongdoing. And while they may forget the specific incident, they will also learn that I pretend to be perfect when I’m obviously not.
My hope is to be an example for my children. When they do wrong, I expect them to admit it, and make amends when necessary. I will demonstrate to them how to do this.
Speak well of them Publicly
It can build a child up immensely to know that their mother is speaking well of them to others! I make sure my children hear me praise them publicly, and live them big obnoxious signs language loves symbols across the room, and hug and kiss then when they are leaving.
Being intentional about these things isn’t disingenuous at all. My heart is filled with love for my children, and they should know that I’m not embarrassed to show it in front of other people!
Of course, sometimes it is helpful to talk about our children’s struggles with others who can advise and encourage us in motherhood. But I make efforts to do this privately, where my children will not be put on the spot, and where their struggles will never be laughed at or used against them.
There are Many Ways to say “I love you”
As Mr. Rogers would say “There are MANY ways to say I love you!” And these are only a few! Truly the main thing that I try to do is treat my children how I would like to be treated. This is the Golden Rule, and it’s a beautiful thing.