Love is often considered an abstract emotion that can’t fully be expressed, especially to your growing baby.
However, since children begin developing emotional attachments as early as 6 weeks old, it’s never too early or late to show your little one what love really means.
According to attachment theory, caregivers who build emotional bonds with children early impact their lives far into adulthood.
But as a busy mom, finding consistent ways to show your child you love them can be challenging.
On top of taking care of yourself, tending to your relationships, and managing your home, you may feel like there aren’t enough moments in the day to make your child feel seen and heard.
While many parents assume their child will naturally feel loved if their physical needs are met, parents can often overlook important emotional needs.
Luckily, there are lots of simple things you can do to begin showing your child more love today.
- Make them feel included – When it comes to the big and small decisions, children feel loved when they are included in the decision-making process. Whether you’re cooking dinner, shopping for household supplies, or cleaning up, your little one will feel more valued if they feel needed. So before taking on the day’s tasks by yourself, include them wherever possible by asking for their help. It’s always more fun to work together!
- Create a routine – Children thrive off knowing when activities will take place. By creating a morning routine, like brushing your teeth together or a bedtime routine with special touches, your child will know they have a designated time to receive love and attention from you. If creating a daily routine is too much at first, start off by making a weekend routine where you both enjoy an activity such as making breakfast together or a family movie night. In any case, your child will feel secure in knowing they have a special time they can look forward to spending with you.
- Be engaged and excited when they share – As children get older, they begin to learn new ways to express themselves. And let’s be honest…some kiddos can turn into real chatter boxes. As a busy mom, it’s easy to tune their stories out…because they probably can go on and on about their day at the playground. But these are the best moments to show your child love by paying close attention when they speak. You can also show genuine interest in their stories by asking questions and responding in a positive and upbeat tone of voice. If your child is not much of a talker, try to engage with them by asking open-ended questions like “is there anything that made you excited today?” or “is there anything that you liked or didn’t like about today?” By asking open-ended questions, your child is more likely to open up, giving you a chance to really connect with them.
- Don’t take things too seriously – As a mom, there are moments where you may become short-tempered and feel the need to be stern with your child. When it comes to discipline and setting clear boundaries, using a firm voice and serious attitude can be necessary so your child knows you mean business. However, if you find yourself upset by something your child does, take a pause to think before you react. It’s normal for all the tasks of motherhood to make you feel overwhelmed, causing you to respond differently than you normally would. But whenever possible, be gentle with yourself and your child. If the moment calls for discipline, take a second to pick your approach. If it doesn’t call for discipline, but you’re simply feeling the heat of motherhood, take a minute to reframe your perspective with the overall goal to interact with your child in a more lighthearted way. This will help them feel loved, rather than reprimanded.
- Support them after a mistake – Pediatric psychologist Laura Gerak,Ph.D suggests that instead of punishing your child after a mistake, use it as an opportunity to connect. This is the perfect time to discuss what they learned from making the mistake and what they should do next time. Ultimately you can use the mistake to grow closer to your child and help develop their understanding of the world in a positive way.
- Speak up when you're wrong – Speaking of mistakes…moms make them too! When you do, it’s important to acknowledge it. By saying, “mommy was wrong” or “I’m sorry”, you’re letting your child know that it’s okay not to be perfect. Admitting to the fact that we all make mistakes will help to build love and connection by giving your child permission to admit the same when they make a mistake.
- Be spontaneous – Spending quality time together is one obvious way to show your child you love them. But try doing something spontaneous, like taking them to their favorite place to eat or out for a movie on a school night. This will spark excitement and connection when you surprise them with new plans they didn’t see coming.
As a busy mom, it can feel nearly impossible to balance everything while connecting with your child on a deeper level.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that we all benefit from giving and receiving love.
As your little one gets older, you’ll begin to see that small gestures and brief moments of care will add up to make your child feel every ounce of love you have for them.