Telling your child you love her is one thing, but showing her is another. It can be a lot easier said than done but children thrive on knowing they are loved just as we all do. Showing your child you love her does not mean spending money on her, but rather focusing on those simple interactions throughout the day that make an impact. Here are some ideas to consider using to show your little one that she means the world to you:

Give her lots of little kisses on the nose!

Blow raspberries on her belly.

Look at her when you are feeding her.

Say “I love you.” A LOT.

Always pay attention to her when she is talking, babbling or cooing and talk back.  Put the computer, tablet, video games, and phone away and turn off the TV. Focus your attention on her.

Make sure you smile at her and have a pleasant tone of voice while interacting with her. Have fun!

Hold, cuddle and show affection as much as possible. She won’t want to be cuddled as much as she grows up, so cherish the time now.

Smile at her when she first wakes up. Ask her how she slept.

Dance with her, even if you cannot dance well. Don’t teach judgment, just dance.

Sit her in your lap to read stories. Have her “read” to you.

Sing to her, even if you have the worst voice in the world.

Listen to her, respond and honor even the earliest attempts to communicate. Engage in conversation with your kids.

Show excitement with every new development and discovery. Let her get messy with art projects, cooking, or in the kiddie pool.

Spend the day in your pajamas and bake cookies together, read books, dance and be REALLY loud and silly!

Play in the sprinkler together.

Let her wear a princess dress to school or the store.

Wear her favorite color and tell her that you did it for her.

Tell her that you trust her to make good choices. Be a good role model and make good choices.

Take leisurely walks together and stop to smell flowers and look at nature.

When playing, give her choices of toys (even as young as several months)!

Let her finger paint with her food and laugh with her, even though it makes a huge mess.

Be happy to see her when she comes into the room.

Say “sorry” when you’re wrong.

When she reaches for you, to take her hand. Do it every time, no matter how dirty, wet, or sticky it is.

Cook with her and never mind the mess.

Say yes whenever you can, whether it’s to stop at the park or read a book.

Be polite to your child. Talk to her as you would like people to talk to you.

Play in the rain and splash in the puddles.

Every time you feel like comparing her (favorably or not) to another child, instead reassure her that she is the best she can be.

When she asks you to play with her or read a book, stop what you are doing and spend the extra time with her.

Although some of these tips may seem simple and obvious, it is difficult being a parent. Sometimes it’s hard, after a long day of work and running kids here and there, to take the time to give children what they need from you. These suggestions do not require a significant amount of time and the impact they will have on your child will be everlasting. Children are only small for a short time, listen to them and play with them when they are little to establish a close relationship that will carry them through adulthood.

What is your favorite way to show love to your child?

Amy Bontempo is the Manager of Family and Community Engagement at Penfield Children’s Center.  She supervises the Community Outreach Educator, Volunteer Coordinator, Parent Mentor Program, and Family Programs of which Penfield host over 60 per year.  She has served on the Board of Directors for the Down Syndrome Association (DSAW) of Wisconsin since 2011 and previously served on the Volunteer Respite Committee for Children’s Service Society now part of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services, and the Family Resource Connection of Milwaukee Co.

Kandel, Bethany. “25 Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them.” Ladies’ Home Journal. Meredith Corporation. Web.

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