How do you know that your child feels your love? That’s quite a heavy question. Am I not demonstrating all my maternal love by feeding, clothing, diapering, cuddling, and keeping him safe every day? I think so, but let’s break it down a bit further.
For me, showing my three sons I love them means I have to do more than just prepare nutritious meals and purchase organic play clothes. I have to do three important things — every day:
- Smile when I see them. No matter what.
- Say YES to their requests (well, within reason!); and really listen to what they want to do rather than impose my own agenda. (Confession: I often forget this one.)
- Fill the tank and spend some time loving up the child before I try to get my own stuff done (like making all those deliciously nutritious meals!)
For each of my three sons, this looks a little bit different:
For my toddler, Sawyer, it usually means I have to slow down. I need to look at the world from the perspective of a 17-month old. If we’re outside, I admire the leaves and birds. If we’re inside, I play with a toy car or read a book over and over. I find joy in the little things that light up his face. If I’m lucky, he might reward me by running into my arms with a huge slobbery grin.
For my kindergartner, Milo, love looks like building LEGO structures and doing crafts together. He loves making art without any direction or goal in mind. One of us will choose the materials and then see what happens. He craves unstructured playtime and I do my best to schedule it as often as I can. Ironic, I know.
For my second grader, Holden, showing each other affection takes the form of a challenging board game. He’s a very skilled chess player (I am not!) but almost any strategy game will do as long as we’re both trying to win.
How do you show your love to your child?