No Cost Ways to Show Your Love

by Brenda Nixon

Skillful parents always want meaningful ways to show love to their child. And there are a variety of no-cost ways to communicate this powerful message - a message that no amount of expensive medical or educational intervention can equal! If you have a tot at home and want to show your love each day try these ideas. They are free, yet profound. If your little one is:

  • 0 - 6 months - Hold your baby to feed (no bottle propping). Look in a mirror together daily and say his name frequently. Immediately respond to his cries. Lovingly gaze into his eyes and read aloud to him.
  • 6 - 12 months - Teach her the name of her body parts. Allow her to begin holding her spoon/cup at mealtimes. Expect her to grab, taste, touch, poke, pour and dump everything. Safety proof. Use positive discipline. Sing songs and play peek-a-boo together. Keep regular bath/bed times and pray and read aloud to her.
  • 12 - 24 months - Display his scribbles/artwork on your refrigerator. Allow some separation, negativism and independence. Encourage genuine affection and never force a child to hug someone. Offer simple choices whenever possible. Include your toddler in small chores like sorting laundry and wiping up spills. Pray and read aloud together.
  • 3 - 5 years - Appreciate your preschooler's need to separate and feel independent. Understand, but don't overlook, bossiness as part of language and social development. Encourage self-help tasks like teeth brushing, dressing without your help and washing/drying hands. Teach independence living skills like preparing cereal or toast while giving positive feedback for effort. Allow free time just to play and don't over-schedule the life of your child. Preschoolers dawdle, so don't rush. Let him read aloud to you and encourage spontaneous, heart-felt prayers.

Parents, we are the major influence in our child's sense of worth. Daily affirm your child by what you say and do. Nurture, teach, and watch for progress - not perfection - in your child.

Public libraries carry many valuable resources on this topic. Two I find helpful are The Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman & Campbell (Moody Press) and How to Really Love Your Child by Dr. Ross Campbell (Victor Press). Now, parent with confidence!

Brenda Nixon partners with organizations to educate and encourage parents. She is a professional speaker and the author of Parenting Power in the Early Years and The Birth to Five Book

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