How can you show fresh appreciation for your child this week? Try a little word play:
- Incorporate your child’s attributes into compliments about concrete things he or she accomplishes. Example: “That was resourceful of you to set up your own lemonade stand. You have some good ideas!”
- If you need a word bank of positive attributes to refer to, download the free Temperament ABC’s mini-poster via the link on the home page at parentchildplay.com, then tape it to your refrigerator. Thoughtfully consider what traits you see in each of your kids, and delight in those traits!
- When you have more time, consider making lists of attributes into an acrostic of her name on a handmade card.
- A candy poster is especially fun—write a message with candy bars taped where some of the words would be. “I have GOOD AND PLENTY of fun with you!”
- Make your computer screen saver a scrolling message with something like “I love my kids.” It will delight them, and remind you to express your affection to them whenever you sit down to work on your computer. (Actually I stole this one from my kids. They did it for me!)
- Make up funny word games or songs incorporating your child’s name. You can make up a tune, or borrow a familiar one and add your own words, off the cuff. They can be goofy and off-key, but that’s fine: it’s the thought that counts.
When Tyler was a baby I sang to the tune of Bingo: “There was a mom who had a boy and Tyler was his name-oh, T-Y-L-E-R . . .” Aimee as a toddler was constantly moving and exploring, and somehow her song became: “Whatcha doing, Aimee-waimie? Whatcha doing, what’s your game . . . how I love my Aimee-waimee. . .” Elisa’s song was to the tune of La Cucaracha: “Oh, oh Elisa, hu hu Katrina, oh, you are my little girl. . . .”
None of these will make the Top Ten. But they were fun, and for some silly reason they stuck—in fact, my kids still remember their “songs”.
Each child also has a radio hit dedicated to them by their dad, who lip synchs those tunes to them. He’s chosen Brown-Eyed Girl, for our youngest, and got choked up recently when he heard it on the radio while she was away at camp. Same with the songs he’s dedicated to the older two “kids”, now young adults: the tunes bring back memories for him as well as for our grown children.
Ah, the importance of words. But the most important words of affirmation are, of course: I LOVE YOU.
Bookend your days with those words. Wake your children with them. Tuck them in bed at night with them. Combined with loving eye-contact, those words never lose their power.
Excerpted from the book Delight in Your Child’s Design.