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How to Make Your Child Feel Loved and Valued


Being a parent is more than just feeding your child and making sure they have somewhere safe to lay their head at night.

As a parent, it’s also your job to love and spend time with your child. It’s important for them to know that they are an important person in your life, even when you are busy juggling work, chores, and other responsibilities.

Below, you’ll find guidance on how to make your child feel loved and valued. These strategies will help you build a loving relationship with your child, providing the foundation on which their own self-love, self-esteem, and confidence can grow. 

1. Actively Listen

Actively listening to your child is an easy thing you can do to make your child feel loved and valued. When you give them your undivided attention when they talk, you’re sending the message that what they have to say is important. It doesn’t matter what they are trying to talk to you about. Even listening to your child ramble about their favorite video game or television show sends the message that you care about them and what they have to say. 

To actively listen to your child, start by giving them your undivided attention. Stop what you are doing and make eye contact while they are talking. You should also engage with them, asking questions to get more information or giving your input on what they are talking about. (However, be sure you don’t take the conversation away from them). 

Of course, there will be times when you are in the middle of something and you can’t stop what you are doing. If this happens, acknowledge what your child has said and let them know that you will follow up with them later. Then, follow through with that when you have the time. For parents that work a lot or who are especially busy, it can be helpful to set aside a specific time each day just to talk to your child. 

2. Separate Your Child from the Behavior

It is all too easy to lash out at your child when they have done something wrong, especially if you are frustrated. After all, there wouldn’t be juice staining the living room carpet if your child didn’t take their cup away from the kitchen table when they weren’t supposed to. 

Unfortunately, when you start getting angry about the juice, your child can’t tell that you are upset with the situation. They may believe that they are bad or that there is something wrong with them. 

Instead of yelling, it’s important to redirect your child in a positive way. Clearly state the problem and remind them that juice stays in the kitchen. If they are old enough, you can also have them help clean it up. Above all, be sure that your child understands that them breaking a small rule like taking the juice out of the kitchen doesn’t make you love them any less. 

mother showing she loves and values her child by holding her close and smiling

3. Give Them One-on-One Time

Giving your child alone time gets harder once they have siblings. This is especially true when their siblings are younger because babies demand a lot of your time. When you make time for your child, you communicate that you value their time. It also shows that you love them enough to make them a priority in your life.  

Spending time with your child doesn’t have to be anything special. Every once in a while, get a sitter for your other kids and take one of them with you on errands. You could also plan a special “date night” for each of your children each month or find a special activity to do with each of your kids. 

4. Genuinely Praise Your Child

It’s important that you give your child genuine praise. Pay special attention to those times when they are working hard towards a goal or trying something new. Offer praise for trying something new or challenging themselves. Give your child this praise regardless of the outcome. This will teach them to be more resilient. It also teaches your child that trying new things makes them a winner, even if they do fail. 

Of course, you should praise your child’s accomplishments, too. Let them know what things they are doing right to reinforce those behaviors in the future. It also shows that you are paying attention. 

5. Have Family Dinner Together

According to research, eating family meals together has many benefits. It bonds the family unit and gives everyone a chance to talk about their day. Additionally, statistics show that eating together makes your child less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol or take other risky behaviors. Academically, mealtime improves academic performance and the likelihood of graduating. Family dinners also positively impact your child’s values and self-esteem and makes them less likely to develop an eating disorder. 

It doesn’t have to be dinner either. Some people find that eating lunch or breakfast together works better for everyone’s schedule. The thing that matters most is everyone is spending time together. 

As a general guideline, you should try to have at least 3-4 meals together each week. You can get your child more involved with meals by letting them pick what you eat, help prepare the food, or set the table. 

Another fun idea is putting discussion topics in a jar and then taking turns drawing one and discussing. This is something my family did when I was younger to help encourage conversation when we ran out of things to talk about. We also sometimes do it at family gatherings. 

6. Ask Your Child for Help

Asking your child for help is about a lot more than housework. When you give your child a task, they become a part of the family unit. It gives them a sense of purpose and they feel more secure in their place in the world. As an added benefit, it’s a great way to teach your child about responsibility and you get a little help around the house. 

There are plenty of small things your child can do, starting as early as age 2-3. They can get silverware for dinner, take condiments and other small things from the fridge, or pick up toys. (You can find a more extensive list of age-appropriate chores for kids here). 

In addition to helping around the house, it’s useful to ask your child about something they’re an “expert” in. Have them explain how to play their favorite video game to you or how to use their favorite toy. They’ll feel special because they got to teach you something new. 

7. Have a Bedtime Ritual

Bedtime rituals give your child a chance to relax. They can also be an incredible opportunity to bond with your child and make them feel loved before they go to sleep. This might include reading your favorite books in funny voices, singing a special song, or snuggling and tickling each other before bed. 

Having something special that you do every night also shows your child that they are an important part of your day. Not only do bedtime routines help your child feel loved and valued, but they also help them get a better night of sleep. You can find some more advice on finding the perfect bedtime routine here. 

8. Schedule Device-Free Time

Even though technology makes it easier to connect with distant relatives, people at work, and friends anywhere, it also makes it easy to get distracted from the things that matter the most. Make it a habit to set down your phone when your child is talking to you or when they’re playing at the park. Turn your device to silent during dinner time or on scheduled family movie night. By giving your child your full attention, you are showing them that they are important. 

Of course, it is okay to pull out your phone to take a photo. Once you take the picture, however, be sure to put your phone away and experience the moment instead of just trying to capture it. There is a difference between physically being in a moment and actually experiencing it. 

9. Enjoy Your Kids Being Kids

It is easy to be too focused on getting things done that you forget to enjoy your kids being their silly, natural selves. Laugh with your kid when they giggle about farts or want to put their stuffed animal on your head. Make sure tickle fights and dance parties are a common occurrence. Laughing kids are happy kids and the easiest way to get them laughing is to be silly.

Another way to enjoy your kids being kids is letting them be messy. Messy kids are happy kids- even if it means a little cleanup afterward. So, let your kids play in the mud when they want to or get out the glue and make crafts. Instead of stressing, bask in your child’s smiles and notice how happy they are while they’re being messy. This inspires a type of freedom that kids can’t always enjoy. As your child plays with mud, bugs, and other things they see outside, it’s also a great opportunity for them to learn about nature and different things in their environment. 

10. Use Your Words

It is all too easy to overlook the importance of just saying “I love you”. While it is said that actions speak louder than words, some kids need to hear that they are loved and appreciated to know they are. You should make a habit of telling your child you love them in the morning and again at night. However, you should also tell them you love them while you are watching a movie together or while they are playing with their toys. It only takes a few seconds and it is a small reminder to your child that you care. (And, as a mom, I can say there’s no greater joy in the world than when you are doing something and your child comes up to you and says “I love you” for no reason. 

Keep in mind that “I love you” can be said in other ways, too. It can be as simple as asking your child how their day was or giving them a compliment on the shirt they picked out. 

FAQs About How to Make Your Child Feel Loved and Valued

Why is it important to make your child feel loved and valued? 

Children are easily influenced by their parents. They are not born knowing the difference between right and wrong or how they should act, think, and behave. Therefore, when parents show their children that they are loved and valued, children start to believe these things themselves. 

Loving yourself and valuing who you are as a person is critical in the development of key life skills like confidence, self-esteem, and adaptability. It gives your child the opportunity to believe in themselves and try new things. They’ll also have the self-esteem that when things don’t work out in their favor, they can bounce back from it and are not afraid to try again. 

Furthermore, children who feel loved and valued are less likely to run away or seek love from other sources. Statistics from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show that 1 in 6 runaways are likely to become victims of child trafficking. You can learn more about how to keep your child safe from human trafficking here. 

Can I spoil my child by showing too much love and affection? 

No, you cannot spoil your child by showing love and affection. It’s not uncommon for people to tell parents they are spoiling their baby if they pick them up too often. However, there is no maximum amount of love that you can give a child. Picking up your crying baby shows that you care about them and their needs. Why wouldn’t you want your child to know you care? 

Something to keep in mind is that a child cannot be spoiled by affection. Giving your child love and affection is critical to their development and teaches them to be more resilient as they face the challenges of life. 

What are some fun activities I can do to make my child feel special? 

Sometimes, a small activity or gesture goes a long way in showing your child they are important to you. Here are a few fun ways to show your child you care: 

Send Cards or Letters Via Snail Mail

Send cards or letters via snail mail. Even before your child can read on their own, mailing them something makes them feel special. They might also like drawing or painting pictures to send you back. As they get older, you can continue writing to each other and sending things back and forth. 

Have Family Outings

Even though one-on-one time is important, it’s also good to go out as a family and have fun. You don’t even have to spend money on outings- some of my favorite memories involve loading up and spending the day hiking or at the beach. These give everyone an opportunity to bond and create memories that will last a lifetime. Even when a lot of the physical things you’ve bought for your child have broken or been outgrown, the memories made with family will last for a lifetime. 

Create Your Own Traditions

Building family traditions give holidays meaning. They are those things that your child will share with their partner and children when they’re grown. Family traditions bring everybody together, which is what the holidays are really about. To this day, I still remember baking holiday cookies with grandma in the kitchen. I’m sure I’ll cherish those early memories with her for the rest of my life. 

If you don’t have any family traditions being passed down, it’s easy to create your own. Let your kids help as you bake pies or cookies for the holidays. Have a candy swap after everyone is done collecting their Halloween goodies or have warm cocoa or apple cider before bed. Make it a habit to give your child small gifts for Valentine’s Day, even though it usually centered on couples. 

Final Word

Showing your child they are loved and valued is critical to the development of their self-esteem, confidence, and resiliency. It builds also builds the foundation for how much they love and value themselves. Kids who have a positive sense of self are less likely to give into peer pressure or run away from home. 

It is never too early to start building your child’s self-esteem. Offering praise and affection, saying “I love you”, doing things as a family, and having one-on-one time are all great ways to show your child how important they are to you. Even just being silly with your child and paying attention to them shows your care.

Hopefully, this article has given you plenty of strategies on how to make your child feel loved and valued. 

Sources

  1. The Importance of Family Dinners, sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu
  2. Child Sex Trafficking, www.missingkids.org
  3. Can You Spoil a Baby?, www.psychologytoday.com

Samantha Davis is a part-time writer and a full-time mommy of two boys, Apollo (age 5) and Adrien (age 7). She has been working as a writer for seven years and loves the freedom it gives her to spend time with her boys and fiance.and do things like camping, swimming, and painting. She is also a parent to three fur babies- two dogs and a cat!



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