Besides “I love you”, our kids need to hear two more things from us…
“You are significant.”
For some kids saying “I love you” isn’t enough. And you guessed it, for some kids saying “You belong” and “You are significant” just isn’t enough either.
In these cases, actions truly do speak louder than words. As parents, how can we show our kids that we love them, that they belong, and that they are significant?
Well, I wish I could say I could give you the exact formula that every child needs, but I can’t. What I can do is offer you just a few simple actions to get you started…
1. Pray for them: First and foremost, they need to know that they are children of God. Ask Him to open their eyes to see how they are loved by Him, how they belong to Him, and how significant they are to Him–that they have a special purpose that only they can fulfill! Ask God for wisdom for each child. He loves them (even more than we do). He created them and knows exactly how they are wired. Pray for Him to guide your words and actions for what each child needs.
2. Have Special Time: To kids, our time means significance. Our time means they belong…they matter…they are important. Our time means love. Make it a goal to not let one day go by without connecting with your child in some way. Whether it’s reading a book, asking them bedtime questions, rubbing their back, throwing a ball, etc. Find something that works for each child and your schedule. (And if your schedule is too busy to connect, ask yourself what you can cross off your to-do list so that you have more time to connect.)
3. Have Monthly Dates: One idea a mom shared with me is for the day of the month that each child was born, do a special date night with that child. Oh my goodness do my kids LOVE this and look forward to it each month!!!
4. Put Them Above Things: Your kids need to know that they are more important than a broken glass, a broken toy, a stained shirt or even our phones!! You can always replace those things but your kids are irreplaceable. Help them clean up the mess, fix the toy, or put stainstick on their shirt. No big deal. And when they talk to you, put your phone down and give them the eye contact and respect they deserve (I’m preaching to myself here too!)
5. Work as a Team: Ask for their opinions when appropriate—meals, restaurants, vacations, movie for family movie night, etc. Do things as a family—clean up the house together, serve the community, pray, eat meals, etc. Work together to figure out how to solve problems in your family–too much fighting, back talk, disrespect, yelling, etc. “Kids-this isn’t working for our family. I would love to hear your ideas of how we can do ______________better. Then, we will come up with a plan and work together!”
Lord, give us moments to show our kids we love them. Give us opportunities to teach them that they belong to You and to our family. And challenge us to put our kids above the things of this world. Help us plant seeds that grow significance in their hearts.
Here’s to building better families—