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Labors of Love: 10 Simple Actions that Show Your Kids How Much You Care

Father giving daughter heart-shaped cookie

As parents, we all love our children—and naturally, we also want our children to feel loved as well.

But just as children learn in different ways, children experience love differently, too: What makes your son feel important and unconditionally loved may not have the same effect on your daughter.

For some kids, the old adage “actions speak louder than words” definitely applies. For these children to feel truly loved, you have to show them just how much you care by going out of your way to do things for them. We’re not talking about the umpteen things you do for your kids in the course of routine parenting—you know, the dropping off, the shoe-tying, and the brush-your-teeth reminders. We mean intentionally doing the sort of things that demonstrate to your child that he really matters and that you know what really matters to him.

Perform these 10 acts with a truly giving heart, and children will bloom into secure, attached, and capable kids. Don’t we all want our kids to feel like that?

1. Volunteer in the classroom. 

When you show up to help in your child’s classroom, she’ll know you care about what she’s doing all day!

2. Pitch in with the cleanup. 

“I’m happy to help you clean up your toys. Would you like that?”

3. Make her favorite meal. 

“I made you banana pancakes this morning because I love you so much!”

4. Pack a surprise you know he’ll love. 

“You have a special ‘love snack’ in your backpack today!”

5. Tough morning? Offer to help her out. 

“I see you’re having a hard time this morning. Would you like my help getting your shoes on?”

6. Decorate his room with his favorite stuff. 

Got a kid in a trains-trains-and-more-trains phase? Add a giant picture of a train to the wall over his bed. “I made this for you because I know how much you love trains!”

7. Help her follow her passions. 

Did your child suddenly develop an interest in the plight of the polar bears? Check out some books at the library or plan a trip to a zoo. “I know you’ve been so interested in polar bears, so I got these just for you. Shall we read them together?”

8. Playfully pick him up (even if he can walk already). 

“Would you like me to ‘fly’ you up to your seat at the dinner table?”

9. Fix or replace a favorite toy or stuffed animal that may have broken. 

“I sewed up Spots the Dalmatian today. He told me how happy he is to be your friend.”

10. Make errand day a fun day. 

Do the two of you have a weekend to-do list? Surprise your child with a special experience at the end, like a trip to the book store for a new literary adventure or to the bakery for a fresh, warm croissant—just for fun!

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