You are a busy parent. When you are not at the job, you are running your children around to their appointments and activities. Shouldn't that be enough? No, your children still need you to relate to them on a personal and encouraging level.
Here are five shortcuts to meeting their emotional needs:
First, drop your child a written note from time to time. Put your note in your children's lunch boxes or in their school notebooks. Your notes do not have to be fancy or embarrassing. Here is an example of a quick note.
"Hi Paula, I hope you are having a great day. I am thinking of you and looking forward to being with you this weekend. Love Mom (or Dad)."
Secondly, offer your child an invitation from time to time. Many parents meet their children at the breakfast table with only a critical eye. Parents mean well. They tell their children to remember their back packs, finish their breakfasts, and get their teeth brushed before heading out the door.
How about letting your child hear friendly banter before leaving for school? How about giving your child a big smile and saying, "Hey, why don't we do something special together this Sunday? A movie? A drive? What would you like us to do together?" By asking to spend time with your child, you are letting your child know how important he or she is, without taking a lot of time from your morning routine.
Third, why not throw out a genuine form of praise to your child? All children have strengths. Unfortunately, many children hear their shortcomings more than their strong points from the adults around them. Most adults think they are helping children when they give constructive criticism. To a point, constructive criticism is fine, but certainly not all the time. Why not tell your child, as he is heading out the door: "Hey Johnny, you are smart. I know you will do well in school today." That sentence takes about two seconds to say but could last a lifetime for a child.
Fourth, give your child a small gift from time to time. You do not have to spend a lot of money. You can pick up a stuffed animal from a garage sale for 50 cents, or you could give your child a gift certificate for a back massage. The point is that a small gift lets your child know he or she is special to you.
You will not spoil your child by this act of kindness. Sure, if you were showering your child with gifts all the time, even if your child would not help you around the house or refused to stop talking back to you, then you would certainly be spoiling your child. However, a child who is cooperative and who is trying hard, deserves a reward sometimes.
Fifth and finally, tell your child: "I love you." It takes about a second to say these words but the effects are monumental. Children who feel loved are more confident, happy, and often more healthy. Aren't these the greatest gifts you could ever give your child? Taking a few minutes to make your child feel special will make you feel special too.
By Yvonne A Jayne