show your kids HOW grateful you are

We all love to feel important and appreciated and children are no exception. Here are some simple, but powerful ways to make your kids feel valued, show them just how much they mean to you and help foster a closeness that will last a lifetime.

Talk to them

Tell them that you love them every single day — multiple times a day. There’s no greater gift than expressing to them that they are truly loved.

Praise them often for their strengths. Complimenting who they are inside will help to reinforce their burgeoning strength of character.

"What’s better for your children than drifting off to sleep after those 10 minutes with you in the quiet?"

Tell them the story of how they came to be. Describe just how much you wanted them, how much you couldn’t wait to meet them when they were born and what it felt like in those first moments with them.

Spend 10 extra minutes with them at bedtime. Lay in the dark and rub their back, smooth their hair, sing or tell stories. What’s better for your children than drifting off to sleep after those 10 minutes with you in the quiet?

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Listen to them

Every once in a while, truly indulge them. Whether it’s 15 extra minutes at the park or one more book at bedtime, giving in to their requests sometimes makes them feel important and heard.

Ask questions that require them to truly think. Try asking open-ended questions, then, really listen to their answers and ask more questions. Even silly questions count. Try questions like, “If you were going camping for one week and could only bring one food, what would it be?”

Thank them for how they make you feel. Express how grateful you are for their love and share with them how fortunate you feel to know them and be their parent.

Let them make decisions whenever you can. Allowing them to make choices reinforces their belief that you trust them to make great decisions and shows them that you respect them.

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Show them

Pull out their baby books and photo albums or bring up pictures of them on your computer. Go through the photos and tell them the stories that go with the pictures. Kids love hearing about themselves and will feel the love in your words.

Devote a bit of one-on-one time to them every day. Whether it’s five minutes over breakfast, a quick snuggle after school or whispers at bedtime, kids love to feel like the center of your world. Close your laptop, put away your smartphone and be truly present. Let them talk and make eye contact with them. Emails, Facebook, texts and tweets can wait, but childhood won’t.

None of these 10 things take much time, but when those tiny moments add up over time, you’ll see that you’ve created a solid foundation from which your children will thrive.

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Comments on "Practicing gratitude: 10 Simple ways to show gratitude to your kids"

Erin June 05, 2012 | 3:17 PM

I agree with Laura - sometimes we get so busy and caught up doing chores that we forget to give our children special attention when they need it. To a toddler, bumping there arm is a big deal and they want it to be noticed. I am definitely guilty of being more stressed in the evenings trying to get all the cooking and cleaning done for the next day. Great article - it's nice to be reminded of this every now and then!

Laura June 05, 2012 | 11:25 AM

What a great reminder! Last night, my husband and I were so busy trying to get dinner ready and the kitchen straightened up. My daughter bumped her arm on the table while she was moving her chair and went for a big, dramatic, 3 year old overreaction. She wasn't hurt at all, but she wanted someone to come over and kiss her owie. We told her she was okay and she burst into *real* tears and cried, "Nobody cares!" At that moment, she felt that way. It made me realize I need to spend more time doing the little things b/c like you said, they add up. Thanks for sharing these.

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