1. Tell Them
I love you.
You are so precious to me.
I missed you.
I made a mistake, I’m sorry.
I believe in you.
A child needs to hear that they are loved in all situations.
Say it when they wake up and before they go to sleep.
Tell them for no reason, and when they’re scared and weep.
Assure them when they’re cranky, feeling scared or sad.
Tell them when you’re angry, even though you’re mad.
The comforting words of assurance can never be said too much.
2. Play With Them
Get down on their level and do what they love best. Watch your little one’s eyes light up as you find the kid in yourself, let loose, be silly. They’ll be thrilled to have you not focused on adult-ing… just you and their favorite toy, game, or outdoor adventure. Your child loves your attention, so be present, be playful, and embrace quality time together making the best memories for both of you.
3. Listen To Them
Listen to the noises they make, whether it’s happily playing on their own, gently breathing as they sleep, gurgly baby coos, or exuberant half-word toddler chatter. Soak in the sounds of their childhood. The little moments will stay with you.
Listen to what they say. Ask questions. Be interested as they speak. Have a conversation and listen with both ears and eyes on them. Babbling and gibberish included, show them that their voice is valuable.
Just listen. What do you hear?
4. Be Close
Remember your baby so small that they barely filled your arms? The smell of newborn hair? The gentle weight of their head as they fell asleep on you? Those close moments wove their way into the fabric of our memory so deeply. Your child’s been cradled, rocked, soothed, and cared for by your loving hands. Your touch holds more love than anyone else’s and no one else has such privilege of that bond. Our emotional bonds are tied to proximity of our loved ones.
As a child grows more independent, they may not need your physical help as much, but they still need your affection and physical presence for comfort, reassurance, and connectedness. Hugs, cuddles, kisses, gentle pats, sitting next to you, their little hand in yours, curled up on your lap as you read a book, goodnight and good morning snuggles… cherish these connected, affectionate moments that no one else is privileged with.
5. Stop Everything
Whatever you’re doing, stop for a moment… or more. Chances are whatever you’re doing can wait and a little spontaneity can change your life. You will never have this moment in time again. Your child will never be this little again. The next hour, day, and week will all be different. Can you love them a little more in this moment? In a world moving full steam ahead, we’re so focused on surviving the day, planning for tomorrows, and achieving the next milestone. Our busy lives are focused much too often on “do all the things!” and not enough on appreciating the now.
Time is precious. Where will you spend it? With whom will you spend it? How do you want to remember the right now? You have a child that you love to love and who’s worth pausing everything for. Let yourself love them a little more, before they’re not little anymore.