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This season of partial lockdown must have been a real challenge for parents who are juggling work, chores or younger children! A busy work life may keep you occupied from spending time or showing some affection to your children. Clearly, this has not made parenting any easier. However, there is nothing wrong with being busy or not having enough time. It is the little things that you do that your kids will surely remember. 

If you are worried that loving them too much would ‘spoil’ them (or something like that), remember that love is a feeling as well as an action. Which means, one can only ‘spoil’ their kids by what they do or give in an occurrence. This includes materialistic things, over-protection or how lenient you are to them. 

With all that said, let’s jump into some ways that you can show affection to your children and why is it important to. 

1) Warm hugs? Yes, please!

Mom hugging her daughter

Showing physical affection is important especially for younger children to give them a sense of closeness and warmth. Children who are raised by parents who are consistently responsive and affectionate grow up to have better emotional and social developments.

You can demonstrate affection by giving them warm hugs when they’re feeling blue or by kissing them good night. While walking in the park or mall, hold their hands. This is a good way to give the child a sense of security.

2) Grab the calendar!

Woman marking dates on her calendar

Younger children seem to need more undivided attention from their parents as compared to teenagers. This does not mean that older children are less important. Parents should always do their best to be available even when their ‘socially-awkward teen’ is having a phase.  The best way to show your children that you care is by remembering the important dates – this includes birthdays, school plays or sports day. If you aren’t very good at remembering things, write them on your calendar or save it on your phone.

This also gives you an opportunity to know more about your child and their interests, their surroundings and you might even get to meet their friends. By doing this, a circle of trust will be bonded around you and your child.

3) Big talks, small talks

Father and son playing

You have probably heard this too many times but communication is ‘really’ key to any problem and the ‘why’ question is more important than you think it is. Children aren’t supposed to do something the way it is only because they were ‘said to’. They need explanations as much as adults do and sometimes, they don’t  show it. Leaving your kid confused will only lead to them having bigger thoughts and misunderstandings on your values. 

That is why it is important to show affection by listening and reasoning with them. Describe the problem, express your feelings and give them a safe space to express theirs too. Keep talking until a mutual level of agreement is reached. 

Remember to also have small conversations to know about your child’s day or how their sports practice was. Also, give them compliments, however small; it will make them feel capable and will boost their confidence. Comparing your child with another will only make them feel worthless and crumbles their interest.

4) Hang out

Happy family having breakfast togetherThis one is rather simple; just spend some quality time together! If you are always in a rush, schedule a ‘hang out’ time with your children so you won’t let it slip away. You could even practice a ‘no-phones’ policy to assure your children that they are a priority. On a regular basis, you can make or have breakfast together, or even take a trip to the convenience store! Most kids tend to act out because they aren’t getting enough attention from you. So remember to spend time at the breakfast table and give yourself a free pass to avoid scattered broccolis altogether.

5) “Ask nicely”

Stressed out working mom

You sure do know that you still love your child even if you are not pleased with their behaviour. So let them know, through your actions. For example, when you are talking to your child about something they did wrong, put your hand on their shoulder as a gesture of love.

Avoid using words or phrases like, “Can you not do anything right?” or “Why are you like this?” as this will only cause damage as much as spanking would. Be the mirror your child needs to see. Everything you do reflects on your child’s behaviour or personality. Instead of telling them, “Stop bugging me”, say “Ask nicely”.

Lastly, try not to smother your kids too much with attention or things in the name of love to the extent where your child’s normal psychological development is affected. Give them space to learn and grow as individuals, to learn life as we know it.

Happy Parenting!

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