Your love for your little one is as real as it is natural. It’s this natural drive to love this tiny little one, who can at times be indescribably taxing, that makes you do everything you do, from changing stinky diapers to dealing with oh-so-exasperating tantrums.
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It can feel impossible to express the magnitude of your undying affections for your child. If you find yourself spewing “I love you” and hugging your child at frustration-inducing frequency, yet still feeling that you haven’t fully conveyed your desired message, consider some alternative ways to express this affection.
1. Follow-up Questions
As your little one prattles on from the backseat about who sat in time-out today and whose favorite color is red, it can be easy to tune him out. Resist the urge. Your child is telling you all of this because he cares about you and wants you to know what is going on in his life. Make it a point to ask at least three follow up questions each day to show him that you care about his day and, by connection, him.
2. Lunch Notes
Keep it simple and stick a note in your child’s lunch. Just imagine, your child opens her lunch box, expecting to find her fav PB&J, with the crusts cut off, and finds not just this tasty sandwich but also a short, sweet note from you. Consider this the sneak-attack form of saying “I love you.” It’s simple, it’s easy and it will brighten her day; wouldn’t it brighten yours, after all? While you could do this every day, it’s more effective if you only do it occasionally, as this infrequent and unpredictable use of this technique allows for surprise and delight.
3. Crafty Quality Time
When spending quality time with your child, get crafty and produce an ever-present reminder of your affection. Trade coloring pages and crayons for a pencil pouch and fabric paint. Have your little one help you decorate this school-time necessity. Once you’re done and it dries, load in his pencils and crayons. Now, each time he pulls out this school tool he will remember the time you spent with him creating it. If pencil pouches aren’t your thing, no worries, anything you can make together that he can use will have the same effect.
4. Reminder Stickers
If you spend much of the day separated from your child, it can be difficult to satisfy yourself with the frequency with which you can tell your child you love her. Compensate for this easily and cheaply with reminder stickers. Take your tot to the store and let her pick out some stickers, or buy some featuring characters that you know she will like. Give her one of these stickers to wear to school on her shirt from time-to-time, telling her to remember that you love her each time she looks at it.
To add an element of surprise, tuck stickers in unexpected places. Put one on the inside of her shoe so she sees it when she changes shoes for recess, or tuck one inside her bag so she notices it when she gets out his folder. With this small gesture, you can ensure that she remembers just how much you care.
5. Display Space
Very little makes a child quite as proud and loved as seeing his artwork on display. While hanging his most recent masterpieces on the fridge will do the trick, by making your display space a bit more elaborate you can even further communicate your pride in his skills. Hang some clipboards on your wall and regularly change out the work you have suspended from each. Similarly, dedicate some wall space to a collection of frames, and fill them with your progeny’s projects. Switch out the works occasionally to show your continued appreciation for his artistic talents.
6. Playful Tuck-In
You almost undoubtedly tuck your tot into bed each night, and after doing so pray that she stays there! While this is a necessary part of your routine, it doesn’t have to be a boring one. Take advantage of this quiet end-of-the-day time to show your munchkin that you love her. Start a nighttime ritual.
Encourage your kiddo to tuck herself under the covers, then playfully bounce her around, trying to “get the bump out of the bed.” If you’re musically inclined, make up a funny little song. Whatever you do, make it uniquely yours. Not only will your little one appreciate it, she may just carry on the tradition and engage in a similar tuck-in process when she is a parent in the future.