How can we show love to our children?
First, let’s look at what God says love will look like:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;
What might that look like on a daily basis?
Here are 12 practical ways we can communicate love to our children- whether they be toddlers or teens:
1.Don’t raise your voice in anger. If you are struggling to get control of your own emotions, excuse yourself and tell them that you are going to your room to spend time with the Lord in order to ask Him to help you have the right attitude.
2. Take time to stop what you’re doing and listen whenever possible. You can’t always drop what you’re doing, but let them know you’d rather be with them than making supper, for instance, and as soon as it’s in the oven, you want to sit and listen to them or see what they just made, etc
3. Take time to read something they want to read or play a game they want to play even if it’s not something you love to do.
4. Make time each day to spend a little time with just them, even if it’s praying with them at bedtime.
5. Every once in a while, help them with their chores – just to spend time with them – and give them the treat of having it done sooner so they can take extra play time or time to work on a project
6. Look for something you can praise them for– praise their character, praise their thoughtfulness, initiative, kindness, thoroughness in their chore, creativity in thinking up new ideas to try, etc.
7. When they do a job well, let them know you noticed, or when they did something kind for someone, let them know you noticed.
8. Every once in a while, bring them home a special treat when you go shopping– their favorite flavor of ice cream or a jar of pickles, favorite flavor of jelly, etc.
9. Tell them you enjoy spending time with them. Take one of your kids with you to do errands. (I would try to rotate who I took so I had some time with each one.)
10. Ask them what they’d like to do. ..such as plan a fun evening for friends at your house, or go for a ride in the mountains, take a hike in the woods.
11. Try to find ways to make mundane tasks enjoyable. Reward them for a job well done. Once when I wanted to have help clearing our path in the woods from fallen sticks, I suggested they don coonskin caps and pretend they were “Daniel Boone” clearing the wilderness path. Tell stories or sing or listen to audio books together when you’re doing a “boring” task.
12. Don’t criticize them. Remember none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. Let them know it’s okay to make mistakes. Help them to clean up the mess if it applies. Verbalize that you love them and know that God has a special plan for their life. Let them know you LIKE them and like to be WITH them.
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