Many people claim that it is impossible to truly understand what love is until you’ve a child of your own. That the love that we have for our children is insurmountable. However, despite all the love, it can be difficult to truly convey to them how loved they are, and for them to realize this, when there are so many other things that can get in the way. Let’s face it, nobody said this job is an easy one and there is so much on your plate be it your career, friends, partners, managing finances, managing the household and, finally, taking care of yourself somewhere in there too.
And if you have multiple children, it can be even more difficult to love them individually in a way that makes them each feel it, not to mention the fact that they compete for your love. Even as adults, my siblings will fight over which one of us our parents love the most. I don’t tend to get involved, although it is common knowledge that I am my dad’s favourite hands down. Sometimes it can feel like a full-time job trying to juggle the needs of your children, while also making sure that they do not feel left out.
Providing your children with love and support and catering to their specific needs can have numerous benefits. For instance, it can help them develop high self-esteem and positive self-worth. When a child does not feel as though they are getting the love and attention that they deserve, they will often act out and seek attention in all the wrong ways. For instance, Dr. Laura Kaufmann who is a licensed child psychologist in California states that, “these children are less likely to follow the rules of the household, and they are likely to vie for their parent’s attention in less positive ways, including picking fights with siblings or acting out at school.” For them, any sort of attention is better than none, and if you are punishing them for a misdeed, at least you are not ignoring them.
She goes on to say that as parents, “our goal is to convey unconditional love through focused attention with clear limits and boundaries that will allow them to tolerate the inevitable breaks in our attention.” Therefore, it is important to set these limits and boundaries early on so that your children have a better idea of when they can expect to have your full attention and when this is not likely to be the case.
Although it might not be easy, it is not impossible to do so. Keep reading to find out some of my tips on the simple things that you can do every day to show your children how loved they are.
Schedule in one-on-one time
Although there are of course benefits to spending time with your family as a whole, it is crucial to set aside some time alone with each of your children. This doesn’t have to mean a three-hour outing, just ten minutes on the floor playing with trains, or going on a short walk together. It’s amazing what you can learn about your children during these special moments. They are able to fully be themselves around you, without having to worry about the judgment of or competition with their siblings.
It’s important not to force your child to partake in these one-on-one activities. Especially if this is something that is new for you and your child, it might take a little while for them to get used to it. It is critical that you do not allow other distractions during this time. Yes, this means putting your phone on silent or leaving out of reach. It might also be helpful to get your child’s input on what activity or activities they would like to do during this time.
If it turns out that you miss a day here and there of spending one-on-one time with each of your children, don’t panic. You’re not perfect. But trust me, your children will appreciate that you are making an effort and making them and their needs a priority.