25 Sly Ways to Tell Your Kids You Love Them

25 Sly Ways to Tell Your Kids You Love Them

A few years ago we produced a video for our gratitude journals in which we conducted private interviews with 10 tween girls. We recorded them answering the question, “What are you thankful for?” The most surprising outcome in this process was not their replies (although, they were precious), but rather, how their parents responded to seeing the recorded footage of what they shared.  

Mom with KidsSeveral moms were moved to tears. One mom remarked, “I didn’t even know she was paying attention to that.” Another said, “I can’t believe she remembered that...I forgot that even happened.”

The other surprising piece was that most of the answers were not about epic vacations or grandeur events, but rather simple things that made them feel special, especially in the hearts of their moms & dads.  

As a mom of three young boys, I totally understand why these moms were so moved. Heck, I use my airtime with my own kids to bark orders to get dressed, do homework, brush teeth and for-the-love...hurry-up! I spend time (& money) on vacation planning when the destination sometimes turns out to be just a different venue to bark the same orders, less the homework one.

In my mind, I do all the things for my kids and pack their social lives because I want it to be special for them. But is all that what really counts in their minds? Based on what I learned while producing our "tween" gratitude video, the answer is likely, no.

Here is a list of 25 [simple] things to do or say to your own kids that will speak right from your heart to theirs! Except for the ice cream treat in #2, they won’t cost you a dime.

1. Ask them...tell me about the funniest thing that happened to you today?
2. May I sit next to you?
3. Put your seatbelt on.
4. [While standing in freezer aisle at local grocery store]. Let’s buy a treat...you choose!
5. Show me how you [play a video game, do a trick shot, do a handstand, draw a rainbow, do a cheer, etc.]
6. Would you like to play a game?
7. I’m sorry.
8. Will you read to me? [OR] Pick out three books you’d like me to read to you.
9. I believe in you.
10. You are so good at _____.
11. Let’s build a fort/castle.
12. Be careful.
13. It’s ok to feel that way.
14. Friday’s dinner is your choice, what should we make?
15. Eat your veggies.
16. Let’s make a snack...what sounds good right now?
17. Want your back scratched?
18. What did you dream about last night?
19. I could use a good helper like you to ____. Will you help me?
20. I really enjoy doing this with you.
21. I’m so proud of you.
22. Thank you for being honest with me.
23. Ok, I’m putting my phone away while we do this.
24. I’m done working. What would you like to do together?
25. I challenge you to a game of [tic-tac-toe, Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders or their favorite game]!

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