14 Ways to Show Your Child Love on Valentine’s Day (and every day)
By Bianka Soria-Olmos, D.O.
Parenting can be hard. Everyday stresses can decrease patience and make parenting even harder. Always try to slow down, take advantage of every moment, and seize the opportunity to turn negative experiences into positive ones.
Consider the following ways (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) to show your child your love this Valentine’s Day and every day.
1. Use Words with Care
Choose positive and encouraging words, and those that model consideration and gratitude, to help build your child’s building self-esteem. The opposite can occur when negative words or sarcasm (which is typically not understood by children) are used.
2. Spend Time Together
Hold the time together (even if limited) with importance. Celebrate the quality of the time, not the quantity. Try to take time for one-on-one activities with each child. Ensure the time is uninterrupted by cell phones or other devices. Switch off the electronics and play board games or enjoy an outdoor activity.
3. Have Heart-to-Heart Conversations
Make sure you take the time to listen to your child’s response to common questions like “How was your day?” Ask about challenges they may be experiencing and let them finish the story before you offer a solution. If you worry your child is anxious or depressed, make sure to discuss your concerns with your pediatrician
4. Give Hugs First
Human contact has shown to be a calming measure for anger and other situations in which the child may be in a bad mood or grouching. A quick hug, cuddle, pat on the back or nod or some other sign of affection can be used before talking through the difficulty. Consider waiting to discuss it further until after some time has passed when they are feeling better.
5. Always Listen
Ensure your child knows you are always listening and ready to respond promptly and lovingly. Being available to listen when your child wants to talk, even if it’s not a good time for you. This shows your child that they are a priority and tends to help with reciprocating when it's their to listen.
6. Discipline with Love
Use positive, non-violent discipline instead of physical and verbal punishments, which can negatively impact the physical and mental health of children. Clear and consistent rules are important from an early age. When rules are followed, offer praise. When they’re not followed, calmly describe consequences and follow through with them.
7. Forgive Mistakes
If you respond too harshly, make sure to apologize and explain how you will change your response in the future. No one is perfect, so forgive yourself when you react harshly. Teaching forgiveness will also teach a child to accept their own mistakes and build their confidence.
8. Create a Love for Reading
Start reading to your child during infancy. Many studies show children who are read to early and consistently have increased school success. Some studies also show that a parent-child bond is strengthened by spending time reading together.
9. Cook and Eat Together
A good way to enjoy each other's company is to spend quality time cooking and eating together. This also gives parents an opportunity to teach kids about good food choices.
10. Foster friendship
Help your child build positive relationships with friends, siblings and other family and community members. Consider helping your child volunteer or participate in other opportunities in which you can help those in need together. Encourage them to play sports or other activities that require teamwork. Spend time with neighbors doing fun activities. This can be especially hard during the pandemic, but technology can help keep people connected.
11. Adopt a Pet
Consider bringing a pet into your family. Animals can increase physical activity, enhance overall positive feelings and also give children an opportunity to connect with someone they care about. This can also offer an opportunity to develop the sense of responsibility when age-appropriate.
12. Model Health and Safety
Keep your child healthy by taking them to their wellness checks at age-appropriate intervals. Model a safe and healthy lifestyle, including nutritious eating, adequate sleep and exercise.
13. Give Affection and Attention
Make time every day to talk. Children and adolescents are more likely to make healthy choices if they are well connected with family members.
14. Use Words of Affirmation
Don’t forget to say “I love YOU!” as much as possible.
Download free heart templates here.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Get to know Bianka Soria-Olmos, D.O.
Dr. Soria-Olmos is a Cook Children's pediatrician in Haslet. She was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, so Cook Children's has always had a special place in her heart. She came to know Cook Children's when she was just a kid herself. She went to the medical center a number of times with her active younger brother, who needed care following several mishaps with broken bones. The visits inspired her to decide, "I want to be a Cook Children’s doctor one day."
In pursuit of her dream, Dr. Soria-Olmos attended Texas Christian University (TCU) for a degree in biology and to fulfill the pre-medical school requirements. After graduating from TCU, she chose to stay local and attended medical school at University of North Texas Health Science Center/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth. She completed part of her pediatric clerkship at Cook Children's, learning about pediatric medicine by attending rounds with pediatric hospitalists. It was then she knew she wanted to be a pediatrician.
She began her career with Cook Children's in 2014 as a pediatric hospitalist caring for sick children admitted to the hospital. Today, she works at Cook Children's primary care office in Haslet. Her special interests include child safety, child development and asthma.