Show your children love

Vickie Jones, N.C. Cooperative Extension
Mar. 17, 2014 @ 04:09 PM

Research shows that early learning between the ages of birth to 5 years has a crucial impact on healthy and unhealthy learning habits of preschool-age children.

What children learn during the preschool years is taught by parents and other significant persons in the lives of children, even how and when to show love.

During the month of February, children learn on Valentine’s Day that love is expressed in tangible ways as loved ones receive flowers, candies, cards, etc.

On Sundays, they learn that love is shown to church members as they greet each other with smiles, hugs and jovial greetings that convey the joy of seeing each other after a week of absence.

Children also see “love” expressed when family members come together for special days such as holidays, weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, graduations and reunions.

What they often fail to see is such jovial love expressed to them because they are mommy and daddy’s child. We should be careful to share the same exciting love we have for others with our immediate family.

One way you can show your child love is by spending time with her. By spending a few minutes a day of one-on-one attention with your child, she will begin to learn that love can be expressed daily through play, talking and listening to each other, and while working on activities together. You can show interest in what she is doing by praising her efforts and describing what she is doing. You can tell her how happy you are to see her and find out what her day was like during your absence from one another.

You can also show love by providing for your child’s needs. Make sure she receives healthy and nutritious meals, adequate sleep, a safe home to live in and a caring family that meets her emotional needs.

Finally, you can show her love by giving her the same jovial greetings you give outsiders. Begin by letting go of the mundane ways parents can halfheartedly say hello when greeting their children. Even if you need to take a time-out to pull yourself together before special time, purpose in your heart and mind to be as friendly to your child as you are to church members on Sunday morning. When we fail to show the outward expressions to our children that we show to others, children learn that love is reserved for others or special occasions during the year.

Children need to know that we love them every day of the week. Let your child know you love her by spending special time with her everyday. Remember to make sure her needs are met and make sure she knows she is just as special and even more special than others outside of the home.

If you need help learning positive parenting practices, including ways to “show them love,” consider joining an Incredible Years parenting class today. F-G-V Smart Start, United Way and local donors provide funding for the classes.

Call (252) 438-8188 to have your name placed on a waiting list for an upcoming series.