Sure, Valentine’s Day crafts and candy hearts are sure to delight our kiddos this holiday, but is there something that we as parents can do that can have a greater impact on our children? Yes. According to an article posted on Parent.com, author Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages can be beneficial to our relationship with our children as well. Here’s the scoop…

Physical Affection – The power of touch, whether it’s a needed hug, kiss on the forehead, fist pump or high five, shows your children that you care and that you are willing and ready to listen. And let’s not forget snuggling. For older children, a hand on the shoulder, pat on the back, even a hug, can be beneficial as well.

Acts of Service – While this might seem synonymous with parenthood in general, there is a clear difference between helping with homework or driving the kids to practice and actively focusing on your kid’s emotional needs. Setting aside your tablet or phone, making direct eye contact and offering to assist or do something special for your child can make a huge difference, build trust and create a strong bond between parent and child.

Words of Praise – According to Parent.com, research shows that it isn’t beneficial to our children when we tell them that they are great at everything.  And, while this doesn’t mean that we should shy away from using praise to connect with them in a more meaningful way, rather, we should be more cognizant about what we say. As parents, we should strive to acknowledge our child’s effort and not the outcome. So, instead of saying, “Great job!” when they show us their latest masterpiece, we should be saying, “I noticed how hard your worked on your project and I’m proud of you.”

Quality Time – We’ve all heard it, quality vs. quantity. When we bombard our children with constant activities and gifts, quite frankly, it becomes noise. For younger children, quality time can be something as simple as engaging in play. For older children and teens, it can be as simple as offering your complete and undivided attention in the rare moments you share together or creating a special tradition that is unique to you and your child.

Receiving Gifts – We all love receiving gifts. It makes us feel special. But according to Parent.com, the importance of a gift is not the gift itself but the intention behind it. It shouldn’t be about the money spent on the gift but the significance of the gift for your child to feel love and appreciation.

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