As parents we know that it’s so important for our children to feel loved. But how can we do that effectively everyday? Here are 41 simple ways to show love to your child!
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Showing your child that you love them is one of the most important things we can do as parents. But it’s so much more than just saying “I love you” or giving hugs and kisses. And while of course we love our kids like crazy, it can sometimes be challenging to put our love into action and find the best ways to express that love to them.
So whether you want to give your kids extra love for Valentine’s Day, or are searching for creative, yet simple ideas to let them know you care, these 41 ways to show love to your child are sure to be meaningful for both of you.
41 Ways to Show Love to Your Child
1. Tell them you love them
Ok, so maybe this one didn’t even need to be listed here at all since it’s so obvious, but just saying “I love you” is incredibly powerful. Tell your child every single day that you love them because they’re words that need to be said often. They will never get tired of hearing how much you love them!
And since sometimes “actions speak louder than words,” here are even more ways to show love to our kids in addition to telling them everyday.
2. Give them your undivided attention
In our fast paced, busy, always connected lives it can sometimes be difficult to just slow down and be in the moment with the people around us. But giving our kids our undivided attention is so important. It lets them know that you really care abut them and what they’re doing or saying.
So the next time they want to play or talk, put away the phone or whatever other distractions you have, and give them your full attention.
3. Laugh together
They say that laughter is the best medicine so why not try having a good laugh or two with your kiddos. Tell jokes, make up silly stories, watch something funny…whatever you do, just have fun with it and enjoy the time spent laughing with your kids.
4. Ask about their day
Sometimes getting our kids to open up and talk about their day is like pulling teeth, but it’s still important to ask them how they’re doing and how their day was. You may get a shoulder shrug, a few words, or a breakdown of their entire day, but what’s important is that they know you care enough to ask and are genuinely interested in their life.
5. Give lots of hugs and high-fives
There are a lot of ways to show love to our kids through what we say, but it’s also good to physically show them you care as well. A high-five or a hug is a small gesture that can go a long way in showing love to your kids. Don’t underestimate the power of these small, physical things.
6. Leave them hearts saying why you love them
Every February 1st I start leaving cut out hearts on my children’s bedroom doors that say one reason why I love them. I do this every day until Valentine’s Day, adding a new heart and reason each day (read more about how to do this here). They love this activity and every morning they look forward to seeing what their heart says that day. It’s such a simple way to tell them all the specific reasons why you love them.
You can cut out your own hearts (or save time by buying precut, colorful hearts) and write on them, or sign up below and get my FREE preprinted hearts that you can cut out yourself. You’ll also get a one page paper with 14 hearts (one for each day in February that leads up to Valentine’s Day) all on the same page that you can hang on their door and write on each day – no cutting out of hearts required!
These are also perfect to do for your kids anytime of the year (not just Valentine’s Day) or use the cut out hearts as sweet, thoughtful lunch box notes! However you decide to do this activity, your kids are sure to feel extra special and loved.
Sign up below to get these FREE “I love you because…” hearts and tell your kids the many reasons why you love them! You’ll also get access to my free resource library with even more fun printables for you to use!
7. Take an interest in their life
Ask questions, pay attention to the things they talk about the most, show up to their extracurricular activities and hobbies, know who their friends are, talk with them on a regular basis (and listen when they talk) – all of these things show your child that you care about them and their life and that you really want to know more about who they are.
8. Give praise
When your child does something well, be sure to let them know. Give compliments and praise them for their accomplishments, good behavior, or other positive traits and actions. And if your child doesn’t mind the attention being on them, you can praise them around other people so that they too can hear.
9. Pray together
Not every family is religious, but if you are, then this one is powerful. Make it a point to pray with, and for, your child on a daily basis. Show them that you want to share this special time with them, and that you love them enough to include them in your prayers.
10. Celebrate fun and unique holidays
Sometimes we all just need a break from the challenges and stress of daily life. That’s where this list of fun holidays comes in! There are so many fun days to celebrate throughout the year and you can use those holidays to add a little fun into your family time.
Find days that you know your child would enjoy (or let them pick out some of their favorites) and incorporate them into your day together. You can celebrate days like popcorn day, Lego day, opposite day, pizza party day, board game day, smore’s day, card playing day, or my favorite…hot fudge sundae day!
No need to do all of the days of course, just pick what works for your family and have fun spending quality time together. I share lots of activities and ideas for celebrating these unique holidays on another blog post if you want to know more.
Get a FREE printable list of all the fun holidays you can celebrate throughout the entire year when you sign up below!
11. Create a special routine
This doesn’t have to be anything complicated or elaborate, just something that is meaningful to your child. You could read a Bible story or devotion together each morning (or at night before bed), have breakfast together, pray before bed, read a bedtime story each night, or make a special food together every Saturday morning.
Whatever you decided to do, try to be consistent with it so that it becomes a routine your child can count on and looks forward to. They will soon appreciate the special time they get to have with you on a regular basis.
12. Let them make decisions
The decisions they get to make obviously depend on the age of your child, but letting them make some of the choices lets them know they are a valuable part of the family. Maybe they get to pick the movie you watch, or the meal you have that night, or where to go on a Saturday afternoon. It’s up to you of course on what kind of things you are letting them decide on, but giving them a say shows you care about, and value them and their role in your family.
13. Have a family movie night
My kids really love this one! Find a new movie (or an old family favorite), grab some popcorn and tasty snacks, and get comfy! Put away your phone and set your work aside as you watch the movie and enjoy the time spent together as a family.
And if you want to add a little something extra to your family movie night, you can give your child a “ticket” to the show and even let them pick out the snacks they want – just like at a concession stand – only cheaper!
Sign up below to get these FREE printable blank movie tickets that you can fill in and use at your next family movie night!
14. Surprise them
This doesn’t need to be an expensive or elaborate surprise. It can just be something simple that you know would be meaningful to your child. You can give them a special note, make their favorite snack, take them on a fun trip, or get them a new toy/book/game that you know they would enjoy.
15. Do what they are doing
Spend some time just doing the same things that your child is doing. Play Legos with them when they’re building, join in when they are pretending to serve food at their restaurant, or throw the ball around with them if they’re outside playing basketball. Whatever they are playing or doing, just join in alongside them and enjoy watching them do something that they like.
16. Go for a walk together
Taking walks together is good for your physical health, but it’s also a great way to spend quality time with each other out in nature. You are free from most distractions, allowing you to focus on your child. You can talk about what is going on in their life, how their day is going, what their plans might be for that day or week – or just talk about what is around you at that moment.
17. Do their chores
It’s a pretty safe bet that your child will love this one! You can surprise them by doing one (or more!) of their chores for them. It can be “just because” or to help them free up some time during a busy or stressful part of their day/week. Either way, this one is sure to be a hit!
18. Give them notes or jokes
Let your child know you are thinking of them by leaving them notes. You can put the notes around the house in a place where they will see it, pack it in their lunch box, or put it in their backpack. The notes can be handwritten on a plain piece of paper, or you can buy premade printable notes like the ones below.
Your notes can be funny jokes, sweet and meaningful sayings, or cute and catchy pictures – whatever you pick for the notes, your child will appreciate the thoughtful gesture and will be reminded of your love for them.
If you don’t have time to make your own notes, you can buy these premade ones in my Etsy Shop!
19. Play a game
This is something else that my kids really love to do as a family! We all enjoy spending time playing games together. Thankfully the list of games you can play is almost endless – from card games, to dice games, to board games, to more active games like Pictionary or Charades – there is something for everyone!
20. Make or get their favorite meal
Surprise your child with their favorite meal. Whether you make a homemade meal that you know they love, or get takeout from their favorite restaurant, they will see that you care enough to do something special just for them.
21. Have family nights often
In our busy lives it can be hard to find time when everyone is all home together, especially if you have older kids. That’s why I love having family nights (or afternoons, or mornings if that’s what works best for your family). Having family nights on a regular basis brings everyone closer together and shows your kids that you look forward to, and enjoy, spending quality time with them.
I’ve already mentioned doing things like movie nights and game nights, but there are so many more fun things that you can do together! So if you’re looking for ideas on what to do during your next family night, I’ve got you covered! I wrote a post (complete with a free printable list!) sharing 67 fun family night ideas that are sure to be a hit with your kids!
To get your FREE printable list of fun family night ideas, simply sign up below!
22. Tell jokes and riddles
My kids have always loved hearing, as well as telling, jokes and riddles. If your child likes jokes too, then sharing riddles, jokes, and funny sayings with each other is another good way to spend time together. You can make up your own jokes, or spend time reading a joke book – either way there’s sure to be lots of smiles and laughter!
23. Watch their favorite show or movie
You may not like your child’s favorite TV show or movie, but taking the time to sit down and watch it with them shows that you care about the things they enjoy. The same goes for music. Listening to a few of their favorite songs, even if you don’t like them, shows your child that you love them and are interested in the things they like.
24. Cook together
My kids both like to help out in the kitchen when it’s time to make food. When they were younger they would always want to help me cook, and to be honest, it wasn’t my favorite thing to do with them. Things seemed to take twice as long to do, and sometimes I wished that I could just do it all myself.
But looking back, I can now see how special those times were because we were doing something together – something that they really enjoyed doing and now have fond memories of. So even if cooking with your child is slow or messy (or both!), if they enjoy it, then it’s worth it because you are creating special memories and showing them you love spending time with them.
25. Send them mail just because
As a child I remember feeling so happy whenever I got something in the mail that was just for me. And I now get to see that same excitement in my children if something in the mailbox is for them. As adults we don’t have this same feeling anymore (thanks a lot, bills!!), but we can give our kids that sense of happiness by simply sending them something in the mail…something just for them.
You can write a letter, send a cute card, draw them picture – anything goes! Whatever it is that you send, just make it personal and special for your child. They are sure to feel loved when they open something just for them from you!
26. Make up your own phrases or codes to say I love you
Maybe this is something you already do, but if not, try to come up with some cute (or silly, or cheesy, or funny!) ways to say I love you. For example, there’s the popular saying “I love you to the moon and back” which you can say (it is pretty cute!) or change it up and make it your own like, “I love you to Pluto and back again.” Or, “I love you a million, bajillion times!”
In addition to cute new sayings, you can also create your own code words, or secret movements that mean “I love you” and that only your family knows. Maybe it’s a certain kind of wave, or motion with your hands. Maybe for your family the word “popcorn” secretly means “I love you” (ok so that example isn’t the most creative, but you get the idea!) You can even learn the sign in sign language to say “I love you.”
Just have fun coming up with different ways to say “I love you.” They don’t have to make sense to anyone else, they just have to mean something special to you and your child.
27. Read together
In addition to family nights, playing games, and watching movies together, this activity is another one of my kids favorites. Even though they’re getting older, they still look forward to reading books together. It has become part of our nightly routine, and something that we all enjoy.
The books you pick will of course depend on the age of your child, but no matter what you decide to read, just taking the time to share a book (or chapter in a book, daily devotion, etc.) shows your child that you love them and value the time you spend together. And even older kids can appreciate this time with you, which is good since reading to kids of all ages has great benefits!
28. Try a new activity
Talk with your child and see if there is a new activity that they have been wanting to try. If it’s something that you can fit into your schedule and budget, then give it a go! Who knows, maybe it’ll become a new favorite family activity!
And trying something new doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You could learn to cook a new kind of food together, start learning a new language, volunteer in your community, visit a new place that’s local to you, or even try a fun outdoor activity such as geocaching!
29. Have a meal together
We hear it said all the time that it’s important to eat together as a family, but with our busy lives and often conflicting schedules, this can be difficult to do. But whenever possible, we should try and find time when we can all sit down and eat a meal together.
30. Give them love coupons
This is a fun idea that is great for Valentine’s Day, but would also be special to do any time of the year. You can write up your own coupons, or use premade printable coupons like the ones below (which you can buy in my Etsy shop!) to give to your child as a fun gift.
They are simply pieces of paper where on each one, you write something that you can do for them or give to them…or tell them something they get to do that they normally wouldn’t. For example, you could write “stay up late one night,” “get extra video game time,” “get out of chores for a day,” “read an extra book together,” “have your favorite meal,” or ” take a trip to the park.” Then give them all to your child at one time, and they get to redeem their coupons (to you) whenever they’d like.
You can get as creative as you want with the things you write on the coupons, just think about your child and what they would like and what would bring them happiness. It’s an easy, yet meaningful way to show love to your child!
If you want the premade printable love coupons shown below, that are all ready to print and use, head on over to my Etsy shop!
31. Share your favorite stories, memories, and pictures of them
Bring out the scrapbook or old baby photos (or the pictures on your phone if you’re like me and are not so good at printing pictures out!) and go through them with your child. Talk about what they were like when they were younger and share some of your favorite memories that you have of them. Tell them some of the things they used to do that made you laugh. Taking a stroll down memory lane with your child is special for both them and for you!
32. Write them a poem or make a card
I am definitely not the most creative person, and maybe you can relate, but this idea can still be a fun one! Write your child a letter or poem, draw them a picture, or make them a card. It doesn’t have to look or sound perfect (mine sure doesn’t!), all that matters is that your child sees how you are taking time to do or make something just for them. You can hand it to your child, leave it in a spot where they’ll find it, or you can mail it to them so they can get their own special piece of mail (see number 25 above).
33. Do a project together
The age of your child will determine what kind of project you pick, but think of something your child would enjoying doing and plan to do a fun family project together. You could plant a garden, do a small DIY home improvement project, build a bird house, or bake treats for your neighbors.
Another fun project idea is to make a family (or individual) time capsule. There are many ways to do this and a variety of things you can included, all of which I cover in my blog post on how to make a time capsule (along with free printables to use in your time capsules). Whatever project you decide to do, your child will appreciate the time that they get to spend with you doing something creative and fun!
34. Take a trip
This does not have to be expensive or extravagant, but taking a trip with your child is another fun way to show love to them. You can surprise them with the place you go, or let them pick a place – either way it’s all about spending time together and thinking about what they would enjoy doing.
You can go to the park, play a round of mini-golf, go to the lake or beach, stop to get ice cream, have a picnic, find a new hiking trail, go to a movie theater, or find a new playground to visit. There are so many fun (and cheap – or free!) things to do and places to go!
35. Plan a fun scavenger hunt
My kids LOVE scavenger hunts! I mean they really love them! Their favorite kind is the treasure hunt type one where you follow clues leading to a “treasure” at the end, but they enjoy all types of scavenger hunts. And I am sure that your child will love these types of games as well!
And if you prefer more of a checklist type scavenger hunt, one where you have a list of things to find, you can check out my Etsy shop where you’ll find color scavenger hunts, outdoor scavenger hunts, summer themed ones, and even a bundle with a variety of scavenger hunts to keep the fun going all year long!
36. Play an active game together
Board games and card games are great and we play these types of games a lot together, but sometimes it’s nice to do something more active. So whether it’s shooting hoops, kicking a soccer ball around, playing a game of tag, or even playing some outside night games, your child is sure to enjoy spending time with you and having fun!
37. Pack a special treat in their bag
Like most of the other suggestions in this list, this one can also be something simple. In their lunchbox or bag you can pack a fun card or note, your child’s favorite snack, a note with a funny joke, a dessert that they normally don’t get, or even a sweet handwritten note saying how much you love them.
38. Let them help you with “grown up” work
This idea may be geared more towards younger kids, as older kids probably won’t find it as exciting! But when you have a task or job to do, one that your child could help with, let them help. When they help you with something “grown up” you are showing them that you trust them with the job as well as value them and the time they spend helping you.
39. Make a family bucket list
This is something that’s great to do as a family because everyone has a chance to share their ideas and can get excited as you think about all the fun things you want to do together. You can do a bucket list that covers the whole year (this would be a good New Years project), or you could do a new list for each season.
Summer is the perfect time to make a bucket list if you have never done one before because there are so many options for fun things to do. In this post, I share 185 ideas for what you could add to your own family bucket list. Both making a list, as well as doing the things on that list, helps to bring your family closer and it also shows your child that you value their opinion and the time you get to spend together.
To get this handy FREE printable list of summer bucket list ideas, all you need to do is sign up below! You’ll also get access to my entire free resource library!
40. Start fun traditions
Starting a new tradition doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it just needs to be special and meaningful for your family. You could start a tradition of getting an ice cream on the first day of school (or last day- or both!), making pancakes every Saturday morning, or going to the park on the first day of summer vacation.
Whatever traditions you decide to start will be great because you’ll know that you’re working to create special memories and connections with your child.
41. Let them teach you something
Instead of you teaching your child, let them teach you! Kids are like sponges and often times have knowledge about things that we don’t. And they can sometimes be better at something than we are. When you let them show you what they know, and allow them to try and teach you, you are telling them that you’re proud of them for what they can do. And that you find what they know and can do important enough that you’re willing to learn from them.
So there you have it! 41 simple and cheap (or free!) ways to show love to your child.
Showing our kids that we love them doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. Simple, thoughtful gestures can go a long way in letting them know just how much they mean to us. Spending quality time together, laughing, having meaningful conversations, being silly, and encouraging their passions and interests can all have a big impact on their lives (and ours).
And for even more ways to help your child feel loved and valued, be sure to check out this post on games to boost your kid’s self esteem!
Through loving words and actions done on a regular basis, we can show our kids just how loved they are – working to create memories, connections, and a bond that will last a lifetime.