National Love Our Children Day: The 1st Saturday in April
Did you know that this past Saturday, April 2nd, was National Love Our Children Day?! That is right, a whole day dedicated to loving your children. Something that should be done on a daily basis, right?! So what is this day about!?
National Love Our Children Day was started by Love Our Children USA. This nonprofit is a national leader and “go-to” prevention organization fighting all forms of violence and neglect against children. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. So this day was created to raise awareness to keep children safe. The day is celebrated just like you would Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but honoring children. Love Our Children USA says,
The day was created to acknowledge the value of children and to educate parents on the importance of giving them love, protection and respect, the three essential elements children need to become strong and successful adults.
In honor of this day and every day of the year, how can we show our kids love, protection and respect?! Here is a list of simple ways to do just that on a daily basis!
It seems so simple, but sometimes we forget it is just that, simple. So in case you are overthinking how to show your kids you love them, here are a few ideas to get you going! And remember, love doesn’t equal a certain amount of money or shiny new things. What are some of your favorite ways to show your kids love on a daily basis!?
1. Be Random
Be funny. Make them laugh. Surprise them. You can do this with random kisses throughout the day or spontaneous dance parties or pillow fights. How about notes in their lunch box or on their bed. Maybe present them with their favorite snack or dinner option just because. Change up your daily schedule and plug in some park time or visit a favorite location. Big or small, being random and doing something you know your child will love is the perfect way to show your love! And the best part, most of these random acts of love are completely FREE!
2. Create Family Traditions
Days go by so fast! Sometimes it is crazy and I hate to think about it. Use this as an opportunity to create those family traditions to not only show your love for your child, but so your family can show each other love. Family traditions are important and are memories that will stick with your child for the rest of their life. Traditions will allow them to pass them on to their children and show their future children love. No matter whether your traditions are big or small, start traditions now that will last a lifetime. If you already have some family traditions, continue them, record them and just enjoy the moment!
Part of the problem of days going so fast is that we are always plugged into technology. We are always staring at screens of some sort; television, phone, Ipads, etc. Take time each day to unplug and just reconnect with your kid. This is such an easy away to show love, but we manage to make it so hard. Get on the floor and play with your kids, get outside and play, when talking to your children or even just listening to them, look them in the eyes.
4. Special Moments
Create special moments just for you and your child. Maybe it is bedtime where they get some extra special time with you or maybe your little one gets a story time with you and only you for a few minutes each morning. Whatever it is, it doesn’t need to be huge. It just needs to be super simple and even just a few minutes that are special just to you and your child. I know our oldest son loves that he gets to choose a game that mommy and/or daddy play each night before bed. Just him and us. It really makes a difference!
5. Physical Affection
There are tons of simple ways to show physical affection that we take for granted. Hug & kiss your child every morning and night, high five them when they do something good, have a tickle fest, or just simple pat their back or hold there hands while disciplining your child. Even though you may be trying to teach them wrong from right at any given moment, it doesn’t mean you can’t show them love at that very moment.
Protection. An instinct that most all of us parents have, to keep our children safe. Although these days many of us seem to argue over what is the right amount of protection, all children should feel protected no matter what. Here are some basic tips for helping your child feel protected that you can practice year around.
6. Do NOT Make them Fearful
It is one thing to discuss and prepare for bad situations, it is another thing to make them fearful. We do not want them to live in a constant state of fear; that is not the point. If your child has fear of situations that “could or might happen” they may not react when needed or may forget how to react appropriately. So always openly discuss situations with your child as they grow up and can understand different situations, but don’t make them fearful. Talk about right versus wrong. Allow them to ask questions and answer back honestly. Let them know the Do’s & Dont’s in situations and even the NEVERS!
7. Have a Plan of Action
While discussing these situations always have a plan of action. Help your child feel protected and empowered by having plans for each situation and ways to get out of bad situations. If your child knows how to react there is a better chance they can help them self when needed. Are they ready to memorize important phone numbers?! Start practicing. Will you allow your child to play alone in their neighborhood? Make sure they know their way around, safe houses (if any) and different ways to get home. Whatever the situation, make sure there is a plan that your child has been taught and understands. You could even have practice drills throughout the year to make sure they remember those plans! Even the youngest of kids can at least know their full name and when to use 911.
8. Be On Their team
If your child knows that you always have their back, feels comfortable talking to you about anything and knows that you will be there when they need them, your child will be more likely to come to you for help. Whether they are dealing with bullying, assault, got lost or just simply a problem with a friend, they will come to you. And when they do come to you, listen. Listen to your child and figure out together how to solve their problem or the next action steps to take. Don’t do it for them. Guide them and be on their team as you figure out how to take care of situations gone bad. This is not a time to discipline or tell them “I told you” or “Why didn’t you.” First get through their situation.
9. Gain Outside Help
There are tons of great programs out there to teach children discipline, self-defense, strength, etc. Depending where you live, these programs vary from 1 day or weekend long workshops to weekly programs like karate. Some of these programs can be done as a family or just for your kids. We have been blessed to find an amazing martial arts studio here in Colorado Springs called Calvary Family Martial Arts & Fitness. I would recommend this program for anyone interested in finding a program to help you feel more confident and protected using self-defense skills. For our oldest son, we have had him at this martial arts location since he was 3 years old. From the very beginning, besides learning martial arts skills, they learned about stranger danger, what to do if someone tried abducting you and self defense moves. He is now 6 years old with a purple belt and continues to learn ways to protect himself if he ever finds himself in a dangerous situation. I am confident that if he was put in a situation that he needed to use the skills he has been taught he would succeed. And I know he feels more confident in himself having these extra skills.
It is amazing the little things we do as parents to our children just because we believe we have that right as a parent. However, if we want to show our children respect and make sure that they grow up to be respectful, we must be their role models.
10. Show Respect that You Would Expect In Return
Look your child in the eyes when they are talking to you. Listen, truly stop what you are doing and listen to what they have to say. Say “Please” & “Thank You.” Knock on doors before barging in on your child. Talk to your children, don’t talk down to them. Such small things, but they really will do so much.
11. Let them Do for Themselves
Sometimes we think we are helping, but doing everything for your children will not help in the long run. Allow them to answer questions for themselves when being spoken to by others. Allow them to try. If they try and make a mistake, teach them to get back up and try again. Let them try to solve their problems. Don’t immediately answer all their questions, let them try to answer them for themselves. Remember, this is all based on age and maturity, but give your children the opportunity to do for themselves before you jump in.
12. Set and Allow Boundaries
Boundaries are critical. Not only do they help show respect, but they show your child love and protection as well. Be respectful of your child if they do not like to be tickled or even hugged. Find other ways that they are comfortable showing physical affection. Never force your child to hug or kiss anyone they don’t want to. Yes! That includes family. Learning to have boundaries and being respected for those boundaries will further help as they grow older, especially when dealing with new relationships and topics of sex.
There are so many SMALL ways we can show our children love, protection & respect throughout the year. I hope this list has got you thinking of some ways to show your love, protection & respect for your kiddos! So the next time it is National Love Our Children Day, you can possibly make that day just a little more fun for your kiddos. Plus, the reason behind celebrating this day is so great! I know I will plan on celebrating next year. So be sure to share below in the comments! What are some ways you show your children love, protection & respect on a daily basis!?