I LOVE YOU.
These are three little words that we say to our children all the time without much thought. Of course, we mean it when we say it, but most of us can agree that we often say “I love you” out of routine or habit. “Love you” is an easy way to end a conversation, bid farewell or say goodnight to your little one. Our kids get used to hearing it and are conditioned to say “Love you too” in response. In order to make children feel truly loved, and to model ways to express affection, check out these alternative words of affirmation:
- “I’m proud of you.”
- “I’m happy to see you.”
- “I love your ______” (smile, eyes, hair, laugh, etc)
- “Excellent work!”
- “You’re really good at _______” (soccer, math, playing piano, etc)
- “You’re special.”
- “I love _____ with you.” (singing, reading, baking, etc)
- “You can do it!”
- “I like the way you ______.” (shared, tried, said)
- “I will be thinking of you.”
Don’t forget about those important non-verbal signs of affection too. Kids get a lot from eye contact, a warm smile, a pat on the back or a high-five. This is not just for parents! Teachers, therapists and caregivers also have a big impact on a child’s social-emotional well-being. Feeling loved and secure gives children the confidence to try new things and gain independence. And of course, there is nothing better than feeling that love in return. 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day!
-Elizabeth Clark McKenzie, MS, CCC-SLP