These are 5 things you should tell your kids every day:
I love you
This one seems so obvious but in the rush of the day, are you actually saying it? I say it to my big kids every day before they go to nap and bed but I realized that because the baby nurses to sleep and is asleep when I put him in his bed that I don’t say it to him nearly as much. So I’ve starting making it a point to not only tell the baby “I love you!” every chance I get but also to say it more to my other kids throughout the day (it’s easy to inject during our random acts of affection.)
We spend sooooo much time directing our children, telling them what to do and going over expectations and I, for one, try to say “thank you!” as much as possible. My older kids are invaluably helpful in life and do a lot of things for me around the house that they probably don’t really want to do so I am always sure to let them know I appreciate their help. But I often say thank you to my little ones as well when they follow directions or do kind things. Whenever Pipsqueak toddles over and gives me messy, open-mouth kisses all over my face, I respond with “thank you for the kisses!” and whenever Doodle shares with his sisters I’ll say “that is so nice, thank you for sharing!”
How are you?
This probably seems like one that is best reserved for older kids but I use variations of this every time my kids wake up. When I get Pipsqueak out of his crib I say “Good morning! How’s my boy?” and when I see other little faces peeking around the corner I’ll say “Hi! Did you have a good sleep?” or “There’s my girl! How are you feeling today?” I want my children to know that I value their feelings and am interested in how they are doing and I hope that by regularly asking them to share how they feel they will be comfortable coming to me in the future when they have something they’d like to discuss.
It seems I spend all day bossing my kids around but I make it point to always start or finish with please (and sometimes both!) I expect my kids to talk politely to me when asking for things and use words like “please” and “thank you” so by regularly saying please, I am not only modeling for them the behavior I want to see but also showing them the same respect I expect them to show me. Just because I’m the mommy doesn’t mean I don’t need to be respectful of my children as well.
What do you think?
I love hearing what my kids think and how they see the world and I hope to develop children who are independent thinkers rather than followers who believe anything they are told. I often answer their questions with “what do you think?” in order to give them the chance to process their own question and so that I know what their beliefs and understandings are before I proceed with an answer. It also helps to put us on an even playing field when it comes to discussing things that are not black-and-white but more a matter of opinion, it shows that I can listen to and respect their ideas instead of always having to be “right.”
What other things do you say to your kids daily?