30 Little Things That Mean a Lot to Kids
While these gestures may seem trivial to adults, they go a long way with your little ones. Here are a few easy tricks to make your child smile.
- Wear that macaroni necklace to work. Well, at least until you're safely out the door.
- Tape a family mantra or slogan (Unstoppable! We can, we will! We've got this!) to your refrigerator door and invoke it whenever your child feels discouraged.
- Go for a walk with just one child.
- Slip a note (and an occasional piece of chocolate) into her lunch box.
- Build your own Minecraft world alongside his.
- Say "yes" to something usually off-limits, like sitting on the counter.
- Show as much enthusiasm on amusement-park rides as they do.
- If you quarrel in front of your child, make sure that he also sees you make up.
- When her room looks like a tsunami swept through it, close the door and get on with your day.
- Skype or do FaceTime with Grandma every now and then.
- If your child has given it a good try, but he's still miserable and anxious and really, truly wants to quit the team, give him your blessing.
- Go ahead: Let your 4-year-old stomp in every puddle along the way. Even without rain boots.
- Get out the glitter glue and make a birthday card for your child.
- Take in a pet that needs a home—and a child's love.
- Give your toddler a chance to fight his own battles in the sandbox or on the playground before you intervene.
- Hold off with the barrage of how-was-your-day questions if your child comes home from school grumpy and tired. You can always get the rundown at the dinner table.
- Cultivate your own rituals and traditions: Taco Tuesdays, Sunday-afternoon bike ride, apple picking every fall.
- Ask your kid to teach you how to do something for a change. And once you get the hang of it, be sure to tell him what a good teacher he is.
- Let your child wear her dress-up clothes to the supermarket. All month if she wants to.
- Let your child overhear you saying something wonderful about her.
- Stay up late to see the full moon. Check when the next one will be on FarmersAlmanac.com.
- Print their childhood photos so they have something physical to look at one day.
- Don't be in a hurry to tell your kid to let it go. He needs to vent too.
- Cook heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast.
- Crank up the music in the middle of homework and have a dance party.
- Make a secret family handshake.
- Hang a whiteboard in her room to leave messages for each other.
- Start a pillow fight.
- Share your old diaries, photos, and letters from when you were her age.
- Thank your child when he does a chore on his own—even if it's just hanging up a wet towel without prompting or refilling the empty water pitcher.