One of my favorite parts of each day is when I arrive home. When I come to the front door, it is locked. Before I can unlock it with my key, I hear the sound of my children fiddling with the doorknob on the other side. They know it’s me, but remains quiet until the door opens and we make eye contact. Then they start jumping up and down excited to see me. They continue jumping before finally yelling, “Daddy!” Their simple show of excitement makes me feel special and loved.
There is nothing like the love of your children to make even the worst days wonderful. The reverse is equally true. The love of a father powerfully reassures security and self-confidence. However, it needs to be clearly displayed and communicated. Here are simple gestures that say, “I love my kids.”
Physical Affection –
Give them kisses and hugs. They’ll probably expect them when you greet them or when saying goodbye. The ones that will make them feel especially loved are the spontaneous ones. Also, occasionally, hold their hands when you sit or walk with your children. These are tender touches that communicate they are precious to you.
Compliment them –
Do this privately, but also publicly with them present. They may tell you it embarrasses them, but down deep, they will be beaming. Do NOT use false compliments just to make them feel good. Think through and find the things about them that merit compliments. Focus on affirming her nonphysical qualities as much or more than their physical ones. This is especially important when you are raising daughters. Make sure to tell her how special she is otherwise, she will find out how to be special from magazine and Hollywood.
Know your children’s Favorite Things –
Know their favorite drink, foods, band, actors, restaurants, books, subjects in school, etc. Study these things. Read their favorite book or watch their favorite movie with them. When providing snacks or packing lunch for them, you can include their favorites. Showing your children that you pay attention to their “small” nuances will make them feel loved in a big way.
Spontaneous One-on-One Time Together –
Take your children out for a coffee, dinner or a walk. Take them for a picnic and pack their favorite foods. Nothing makes someone feel more special than setting aside time to be with them. Get some focused time with them.
Written Note –
This is, unfortunately, becoming a lost art. You don’t have to be Shakespeare. Just a couple of words written on a piece of paper are perfect. It can be as simple as “I love you.” Write “Who loves you?” on one side of the card and “Your daddy does” on the other side. Surprise them by leaving these notes in places they will find them. Her mirror is a great place, especially if the reflection makes her insecure.
One of the things we need to get better at as fathers is showing our kid how important they are. Your children want to spend time with you. You are their hero!!
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.