5 Simple, Free and Easy Ways to Show Your Kids How Much You Care

by : Laurie Meade

As a work at home mom, I know I spend more time on the computer than I really should. It is at these times, when my 11-year-old daughter accuses me of "being married" to my computer, that I have to stop and re-think some of my values as a parent.

Our kids are young for such a short time. The job, and the need to keep money coming in, will always be there. Our precious little ones won't always be little, though.

Here are some simple ways to show your kids, no matter what their ages, that they are important to you.

1 LISTEN.  This is so easy to do, yet so many of us have such a hard time with it. Drop what you are doing, look your child in the eye and really hear what they have to say.

Repeat what they said with a reflective statement such as: "I can tell that this is a big concern to you." Rephrase what they said back to them, so they know you actually heard what they are saying.

Young children, when upset, need to know they have been heard. Most of the time, this is all it takes and then the crisis is over and they are on to something else.

2 Keep ROUTINE and STRUCTURE in your child's day. Even grownups benefit from knowing what comes next, and not living in a chaotic time schedule.

3 On the same wavelength as routine and structure comes environment. Just having a CLEAN and ORGANIZED HOME is a simple way to show them they are important and you want them to stay safe and healthy.

a)  When the housework is starting to wear on your nerves, just say a prayer of thanks that you have those beautiful children to clean up after. Stop and think of the grieving parent who has lost a child who would gladly trade places with you.
 Apologize when you make a mistake. It is a great way to teach respect to your child, to be able to acknowledge when you are wrong.

You not only show them that no one has to be perfect all the time, you show them that you care about how they feel. When you make a mistake and tell your child you are sorry, you can teach them the value of forgiving others.

Children are very resilient and will learn forgiveness quickly when it involves their own parent.

4 Share and CELEBRATE their accomplishments. Make a big deal out of great progress report.

My daughter had problems in 5th grade getting her homework done and turned in. It was an ongoing problem. When she received her first progress report from middle school, she had highlighted the big 0 that was marked in the missing assignment section.

She was so proud that she had improved in that area. The report was to be returned after being signed by me, so I copied it with my scanner and put it up on the wall.

I wanted her to know that she had every right to be proud. It was a simple gesture on my part and it left her beaming.

It's these little things that go a long way in making a lasting impression in your children's minds.

5 Watch what you say and how you say it. Especially be careful of your choice of words when you are angry. It is in times of anger when words spoken can sometimes be hard to take back. Also remember that parental words spoken in anger can leave the biggest bruises on a child's psyche and self-esteem.

These are just some very simple, completely free ways we can show are children we love them. They don't cost even a penny, just a little time and thought on our part as parents.

Oh yes, and it goes without saying, hug and touch them often, if it is nothing more than a pat on the back or tousling their hair. Touch is a way you can say "I love you" without speaking a word.