Today is Valentine's Day -- a day devoted to celebrating love. The longer I'm a parent and the more time I spend with kids of all ages, the more convinced I am that love is the most important thing to kids. They need to know for certain that God loves them and that their parents love them. They need to know that no matter what they do, both of those things will always be true. Last week, we talked about how to create Valentine's moments that help our kids to see how much God loves them. Today, I want to encourage you to use the day to show your kids how much you love them.
To best show love to our kids, we have to understand what says love to them. My girls are really different from each other in the ways they need to be shown love. My youngest needs to be touched. She wants to be hugged and snuggled. When she's feeling down or frustrated, she needs to be wrapped up in someone's arms and reassured that she is loved. My oldest, on the other hand, has never been much of a cuddler. Even when she was a baby, she wanted to be left alone. Too much cuddling would send her into a screaming fit. My oldest feels loved when you praise her and when you spend time with her.
Every kid is different in what they need to feel loved. If you haven't figured out what actions make your child feel most loved, check out The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman. This is a great book that will help you determine the things that make your kids feel loved. Along with the book, talk with your kids about the things that you do that make them feel loved. You might be surprised to find out that something small can make a big difference. For example, my youngest loves it when I have a "special snack" ready for her when she comes home from school. It's a little thing, but it says to her that I love her.
Celebrate your love for your kids today. Even if you have plans for the evening with your spouse or significant other, make time in your day to make sure your kids feel loved. Choose to do something for each child that specifically meets that child's needs. Consider these ideas:
- Make a special meal for your kids. If you have a child who likes to cook, let them help you prepare it.
- Surprise your kids by taking them lunch.
- Set aside time to spend doing something your child chooses -- even if it's not your favorite thing to do.
- Get a few small, inexpensive gifts and hide them around the house for your child to find. Mark them with hearts so your kids know they are loved when they find them.
- Put everything aside and sit on the couch and talk with your child. Let your child tell you all about his day without you being distracted.
- Declare today a hug day. Give your child a hug every time you see them.
It's important for our kids to know they are loved, and we need to show that in whatever fashion our kids need most. Jesus told us "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34). He shows His love to each of us in the way we most need it. Some of us need to read it, some of us need a friend to be "God with skin on" and some of us need to hear Him speak to us. No matter how we need to be loved, Jesus loves us that way. We need to do the same for our kids.
Find the best way to show your love for your kids. Spend some time on this day that we celebrate love to make your kids feel loved. You won't regret the time spent.