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How to Show Affection to Your Children

Updated on March 23, 2007

Maya Angelou says that the best thing for your child is that your eyes light up when she walks in the room. I agree. Taking a moment to acknowledge your precious gift will go far in letting her know you love her. Hug and kiss your babies, never worrying that you'll spoil them. But physical attention is not the only way to show affection to your child.

I am so greedy now for the time my daughter spends on my lap because I know it'll be over soon. She no longer fits and loses patience quickly. As our children grow older, they forsake us for video games and friends. They may not want our snuggles, but a big smile and a shoulder squeeze can do for your older child what lap time did for your toddler.

Whether because they are growing older or because the child is less physical, you may need to find other ways to show your love. The best way depends on both of your personalities. Some people are physical, others like to talk or hear praise, and some like tangible proof of love.

Talk To Me

Tell your child in words all the things you feel in your heart. That you are proud of her, that she is beautiful, that you love her very much. Praise and recognize your child for the small things, not only the good report card or the reading award. Let her know that you appreciate the little things she does like brushing her teeth without being told. We can never say these words enough and you never know when something you say may hit a nerve in your child's inner life that makes an impression she'll carry with her throughout her life.

Kids who love to talk will tell you about their day, their friends, what they ate for lunch and the problems they're having in class or on the playground. These kids will also enjoy hearing about your day and love stories about how things were for you when you were a kid. Share with them how you approached and solved your problems.

If you have laid a good foundation, even in adolescence your child will open up given the right opportunity. Make a date for coffee or walk the dog together. If you travel a lot, make time for the phone and for emails with this kind of kid. If your child likes to talk, never assume he knows you love him. Tell him.

Proof of Love

Some kids need tangible evidence of your love. Small gestures mean a lot and a child may save a ball cap from a faraway stadium for years. It doesn't matter if it's from the airport. They don't know that. Bring home a little treat from work once in while, or a pen from the bank. Although older kids may ask for high dollar fashion or electronics, you don't have to buy your child's love. It's okay to say no. Just find something else he can hold in his hand to remind him that you love him.

Spend Time Together

Do things together. Work on projects together or play games. A kid who held onto your leg in the kitchen when he was two just wants to be with you and it doesn't matter what you do. He might do things for you to show his love - especially when he knows he's been bad. Do special things for him in return. If you have more than one child, make sure you find some time with each child alone.

Maybe you recognize some of your child's traits in the descriptions above. There is no magic formula, no right or wrong answers. Try something for a week or two and watch the results. Your child will love it all.

I am an ordinary Mother. And a Writer. I spend a lot of time 'down on the driveway' with other mothers trying to figure out this motherhood thing. I hope these articles can be a virtual driveway for all of us!



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  • profile image

    Parent  8 years ago

    this message is for loner , your not a loner and you have to understand that you mom does not see the world as you do. I'm sure she loves you, I have a teenage daughter and we have disagreements form time to time on issues.

    commication is the key.

    your pal

    concern Parent

  • profile image

    loner 8 years ago

    i wish my mom would do that for me....

    i know that she loves me, and she wants the best for me

    but it has come to a point where i feel like i was adopted

    for some reason or another

    she wouldn't say any of those to me

    she say the exact opposite and does it too

    if i walk into the room and i im happy

    i turn completely sad cuz i see her turn her face expression as if she doesn't want to see me

    she says im a failure

    im dumb and all the things you wouldn't thought a mother would say

    but i held on up to this day thankfully cuz

    i want a life of my own mein

    im surprised im not suicidal at this point...:(

  • profile image

    Nin 9 years ago

    I read all of this love and it reminds me that my father left before I was born to a mother that was very bitter at her marriage to her first love and left at 19yrs . old for another woman. An awful marriage. I never felt any love from my mother. Never heard an I love you unless i initiated it then it was, "me too" Never got any kisses. No hugs therefore there was no self esteen built. I am 50 yrs. old now and I am still waiting for my mother to show me some type of love but I have come to understand that she has no maternal instincts. which kind of makes it not her fault. She does not feel it. I inturn am very loving and physical. But the one love I still crave is my mother's love.

  • profile image

    Tosin 9 years ago

    Hi Lela,

    Thanks for all these wonderful and enlightening posts.

  • bluerabbit profile image

    bluerabbit 9 years ago

    This is so sweet, and so true.

  • Dottie1 profile image

    Dottie1 10 years ago from MA, USA

    Nice hub Lela. Even when their 18, your young adults still need this kind of affection. My daughter really appreciated me being there for her today as she was getting ready for her senior semi formal. I knew she was feeling anxious and brought her home her favorite chinese pork fried rice and man did she appreciate that. I think we all need affection for survival. Thank you.

  • MoralsEthics1960 profile image

    MoralsEthics1960 10 years ago from Florida

    Great advice