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42 Ways to Make Your Kids Feel Absolutely Loved

This is an older post that continues to be read and shared often, so I hope you don’t mind me brining it back up to the front! Thanks for being here! 

From down the hallway, I could only see his feet. I could tell that my husband was kneeling down, and I heard his voice as I dabbed on some concealer.

“Do you guys know how much we love you?” he said to our kids. “We love you more than anything. We love you no matter what. If someone isn’t nice to you at school, or if you make a poor choice, we will always love you.”

I imagine he gave them each a quick hug, and then he was off to work, closing the front door quietly behind him.

When the kids make up a game at recess and won’t tell our son the rules, we want him to know that we’ll always tell him how to play.

When our daughter doesn’t get asked to a dance, we want her to know that she can always dance with us in the kitchen.

We’ll make up dorky handshakes and wear retro family t-shirts and show our children that we will hold their place at the family dinner table—forever.

We’ll do everything we can to make sure our family identity seeps into every corner of their souls, so that they know without a doubt that they always have a place where they belong.

42 Ways to Make Your Kids Feel Absolutely Loved

1. Dance.

2. Tell stories from your life. Childhood adventures and youth run-ins with the cops. :) What you thought the first time you saw your spouse. What you felt on your wedding day and the day your child learned to ride a bike.

3. Kiss them goodnight.

4. Let them climb into bed with you. (Sometimes.)

5. Print pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents and tell stories from their lives, to help build your child’s sense of family identity. Every year when I pull out our Christmas decorations, I also bring out a stack of beautiful black & white family photos I had printed as polaroids. I tuck them around the house and try to share stories about those faces all season long.

6. Pick them up from school or childcare. (It’s the little things.)

7. Teach them to do something. Read, tie their shoes, shoot a bow and arrow. (My husband has never looked more attractive than when he taught our boys to rainbow loom. :)

8. Refer to your family as a team. (Team Braverman, anyone?)

9. Create a family password or handshake. When I was growing up, our family password was our last name spelled backwards. We thought it was the coolest thing ever.

10. Use the words “no matter what.” I love you no matter what. 

11. Give them bubble baths.

12. Watch photo slideshows and family videos clips. {Related: 32 Ways to Savor Your Children While You have Them}

13. Tell them you love them. A lot.

14. Have them lie flat on their bellies and give them back rubs.

15. Maximize time at the dinner table with great dinner conversations.

16. Slip notes into their lunch boxes. How cute are these tear-out lunchbox jokes?

17. Read to them, especially favorites from your childhood.

18. Let them get messy. And wear mismatched clothes. (So hard, right?!)

19. Create a family motto or a family purpose statement, to help you nurture a family culture that will nurture them.

20. Make a meal or a treat from your childhood and tell them all about it.

21. Spend time in nature together. Camping, hiking, biking, boating, bird watching…

22. Put down your phone.

23. Over the years, create traditions for each child’s birthdays. I know a family who floats a cake on a kickboard in their pool for their daughter’s birthday. We take our oldest to Panera because that’s where we went the night we learned we were expecting him.

24. Create with them. Bake, craft, construct, experiment.

25. Eat something you grew from the ground.

26. Teach them how amazing their bodies are.

27. Have stay-up-late nights, where one kid gets to stay up an extra 15 minutes (or more, depending on their age) and do a one-on-one activity of their choosing with Mom and Dad. I suggest doing it on your child’s birthdate every month. That way you—and your child—are less likely to forget and more likely to look forward to it.

28. Work together to create a family cheer. OR borrow this one, like we are. It’s perfect for families with young kids.

29. Set goals together.

30. Have a weekly family night. We don’t manage it every week, but we when we do, we try to answer the three questions Bruce Feiler recommends in The Secrets of Happy Families: What did we do well last week? What didn’t go so well? What can we do better this week?

31. Let them lose track of time. (And learn from it, as you try to carve out more room for timelessness and play in your life.)

32. Explore the stars together.

33. Watch them when they’re sleeping and then tell them about it the next day.

34. Say you’re sorry.

35. Frame your favorite photos of them—and not just the professional, posed shots but the imperfect, candid images too. {4 Actionable Tips to Help You Finally Print Your Photos}

36. Get interested in their interests. (Even if that means learning the ins and outs of Minecraft.)

37. Do a fun run together.

38. Love your spouse.

39. Share your faith with them.

40. Listen with empathy when they’re hurting.

41. Watch out for their natural talents.

42. Say great things about them to your spouse when they don’t think you know they’re listening.

It came as no surprise that twice that day, long after his daddy had stood up and closed the front door, my oldest son brought up what he had heard.

“Mom? Do you remember what Dad said this morning? I do.”

I do too, hon. Never forget.

If you’d enjoy more inspiration for building a family—and a life—that’s full of love and belonging, I’d love to have you sign up for my monthly newsletter. With it you’ll get access to my Top 16 Resources—4 TED talks, 4 podcasts, 4 blogs, and 4 books to help you live *all in.* 

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