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!