We had a tough day last week. The house was a wreck. Dishes piled up in the sink. Rice from the rice bin was scattered everywhere. And the kids’ room… oh my. The floor was covered – pillows, blankets, used pull-ups, stuffed animals, trash, LEGO – you name it, and it was somewhere on that floor.
I sent the girls in to clean, and told them that they needed to get it done, and then we could play. They worked well for awhile, but then it deteriorated. By the time the day was over, the house was mostly clean, but we were all frustrated and angry with each other. There may have been yelling…and lost playtime.
And then my daughter slipped me a note, “Please love me, Mommy.”
How many times do we inadvertently make our kids feel unloved? It’s so easy to get caught up with our own busy-ness and the day to day running of a household. We often forget about the hearts in those little bodies.
Research suggests that when kids feel a strong sense of acceptance and love, that they develop positive self-esteem and they feel safe and secure. They’re likely to be more open to us as they grow. And we want that. We want our kids to trust us.
And we want them to feel loved.
So let’s make sure they know.
Here are 100 ways to tell your kids that you love them:
- Thank you.
- Good job.
- I’m sorry.
- I forgive you.
- I’m proud of you.
- Great work.
- I can tell you worked hard.
- You look great.
- Sure, I’ll watch.
- Let’s play a game.
- May I help you with that?
- You have a kind heart.
- I know you can do whatever you put your mind to.
- You’re hilarious!
- You crack me up.
- You’re a great friend,
- I can see how much you’ve improved.
- Can you help me?
- Let’s do this together,
- I believe in you.
- Tell me more.
- I’ll always be here for you.
- I know you’ll do your best.
- You’re fantastic.
- Even if you hadn’t won, I’d still be proud of you.
- Your [sense of humor, dedication, loyalty, etc.] is the perfect addition to our family.
- I’m so proud to be your mom.
- We don’t always agree, but I always love you.
- I can’t get over how amazing you are!
- You’re so compassionate.
- I noticed that you______. I’m so proud of you.
- Let’s hang out. What do YOU want to do?
- I saw this and thought you’d like it.
- You are really growing up into a wonderful young [man/woman].
- Wow! That ________ showed such maturity.
- That was a wise choice.
- Let’s both forget about our chores today and go for a walk.
- I trust you.
- Why don’t you sleep in tomorrow? You’ve worked really hard this week.
- You’re an impressive kid.
- Where did you learn to do that? Wow! That’s cool.
- What do YOU think?
- I love your [mom/dad] so much, and I can see so much of [him/her] in you,
- I love being around you.
- I’m so glad you’re here with me.
- I love doing things with you.
- I was so blessed the day I had you.
- I feel so proud when I’m with you.
- I made your favorite [snack, breakfast, lunch, dinner].
- You handled that well.
- How can I pray for you?
- How do you feel about that?
- That looks great on you.
- You have such good taste.
- Would you turn your music up? I want to hear what you love.
- Can you teach me how to play [your favorite game].
- When did you get to be so well-disciplined?
- You’re very courageous.
- What would you like me to understand about you?
- You have such a gift for ________.
- What one thing would you change about me if you could?
- I love watching you grow up.
- It’s such a gift to spend the day with you.
- I can’t wait to see you perform in your [concert, game, etc.].
- Hey! I know you’ve always wanted to learn to [bake, sew, build]. We’ve got some time this afternoon – want to give it a try?
- Let’s read a great book together after dinner tonight.
- How about you pick tonight’s family movie?
- When I was a kid, I did _______ too.
- Let’s go for a picnic today!
- Hey, why don’t we look through your baby pictures together? You were a fantastic little guy/gal!
- Do you want to pop popcorn and just chat by the fire tonight? I feel like we haven’t sat and talked in awhile.
- Let’s go bake muffins!
- Everyone makes mistakes; I know you’ll learn great things from this.
- You rock!
- Let’s go have a water gun fight! (Or just ambush your kiddo for lots of giggles.)
- I know you’re afraid of ________. It’s hard. I remember when I was a kid, I was afraid of ______.
- Surprise! I baked cookies. Let’s sit out under the tree and eat them.
- Let’s go out for dinner. Where would you like to go?
- I found this little container – let’s go catch lightning bugs.
- You are the best.
- Here… I saw this and thought of you.
- Let’s go surprise [our neighbor] with these cookies. You can take the credit for the idea; I know it will make her happy.
- Will you play your [instrument] for me? I love hearing you play.
- Let’s go for a ride – just the two of us.
- You are awesome.
- I love the way your mind works.
- You have a great work ethic. I know you’ll be an amazing adult.
- You were so wonderful with _______. What a fantastic dad/mom you’ll be one day.
- I’m so sorry you’re feeling sick. Lay down and I’ll go make you some soup.
- What do you think our family should do about _________?
- I’m never too busy for you.
- How was your day?
- May I brush your hair for you?
- I think you need a hug.
- You always make me smile.
- Do you want to cuddle?
- My life is better because you’re in it.
- You have a wonderful imagination.
- You’re so creative.
- You are strong.
- You matter.
- I’m curious about what you think.
- You make a difference in so many lives.
- I’m listening.
- Thank you for being such a great [brother, sister, daughter, son].
Okay… so that was a few more than one hundred. But, simple, positive words make all the difference. Raising kind kids starts at home. Love begins with kindness.
And, while we’ll all have bad days like I did last week, we need to make sure that our kids know that we love them… always.
How do you tell your kids that you love them? I’d love to keep adding to the list, so leave me a comment.