In the Spirit of Love

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we want to talk about love. The expression of love comes easy for some parents and usually translates to their children too. However, in lots of households, one parent is the lover and nurturer, while the other is the joker or even the strict one. It’s important for kids to see expressions of love and kindness from all the important people in life, in order to learn to live a life of thoughtfulness and kindness.

In fact, it is argued that one of the most important values you should teach your child is love. Love doesn’t have to be expressed in some grandiose way (no matter what Valentine’s ads show). A simple hug in the morning and before bed to say, “Good night/morning. I love you!” can drastically change a child’s day. In the morning it can help them feel more comfortable and prepared for their day. At night it makes them feel safe and secure. 

Don’t keep your expressions limited to your child. Make sure they know how much you love their siblings and their other parent too, as well as extended family and friends. Let them see not only expressions of love, but conversations had with respect. Oftentimes, it can be much easier to hug and love on your baby than your toddler who loves pushing your buttons. And they can be easier to forgive than your moody teenager. Try to spread your love evenly. Also, try to limit disagreements or stressful conversations with your spouse to private time, and express thanks or love to them in front of your children. Even just a simple, “It means a lot that you cooked dinner for us tonight,” reminds your child to be thankful too.  

While expressing love at home is important, expressing thoughtfulness outside the home can be just as rewarding. Hold the door open for strangers at the store, get a coffee for the person in line behind you once in a while, or take a weekend to volunteer at your church or local shelter. Find something that lets your child get involved, rather than just be a spectator to truly appreciate doing a good deed. When your child sees how impactful kind, simple gestures are to someone else’s life they will want to continue doing them. 

The more you put emphasis on being loving and thoughtful, the more your child will want to model your ways. Make sure to pay attention. Let them know how considerate it was to share their toys. Tell them how proud you are when they helped their brother or sister. And, above all, reciprocate their love. When your child comes to you for a hug or gives you an unwarranted, “I love you!” put the phone down, stop working or cooking and hug them back. Stop folding the laundry or loading the dishwasher and let them know you love them too and how happy it makes you hear their kind words. 

At Great Beginnings, we strive to build a loving, nurturing environment for kids to learn and understand the teachers are someone they can trust. But, we also put emphasis on children learning to express and love themselves. Children who feel loved naturally feel more confident in themselves. As your child learns to live a more thoughtful life, don’t be surprised when they learn new things to love about themselves and feel happier about life in general. It’s amazing what a little kindness can do.