This week includes Valentines’ Day – a day where couples traditionally express their affection for one another – often in the form of flowers, gifts or evenings out. All to show their love for one another. Cynics will says it’s a big marketing ploy! Either way, it’s all focused on LOVE.
‘Love’ is a word we use in so many ways…. We say we ‘love’ our morning coffee, and we ‘love’ when we get a bargain at the shops, or that we ‘love’ a roast dinner at Mum’s on Sundays. We also use the word love to express affection eg ‘I love you’ or ‘I love it when you hug me’.
We know that love is really about strong affection and caring for someone else whether it is a partner, children, parents, siblings or great friends. We also know that love can be shown in different ways – through touch, words, gifts, and spending time with someone. Through these gestures we show the other person that we care for them and hopefully they feel it also.
What do children know about love?
A few years ago a group of 4 – 8 years old children were asked: ‘What is love’?
These were some of their responses:
- Love is when my Mummy makes coffee for my Daddy and she takes a sip before she gives it to him, to make sure it’s okay. Danny 7yrs
- When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. Billy 4yrs
- Love is when you Mummy see Daddy smelly and sweaty and she still says he is handsome. Chris 7yrs
- Love is when your puppy licks your face even when you left him home alone all day Mary 4yrs.
They also understood how love is shown to them….
- My Mummy loves me more than anybody does. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night time. Clare 6yrs
Even young children seem to understand that it is ‘good’ to show nurturing care for others.
So, how do you teach your children about love? By:
- Modelling to them via your actions and
- By directly engaging with them.
We know that children are like little sponges… they notice and absorb all we say and do, and pick up a lot of it as behaviours for themselves. They will notice when you hug or kiss another. They will hear when you speak kind words to a person. And they will see when you treat a person gently and respectfully.
The same goes for the way you treat them… speaking kind words to them – not just ‘I love you, but also ‘I appreciate you’ or ‘Wow, you’re really good at that.’ They will learn from how you play with them and touch them… Is it fun? Is it gentle? Is it respectful? You might show your love at time by giving them gifts – I don’t mean expensive large presents, but buying their favourite apples, or a blue T-shirt because blue is their favourite colour. You might show your love for them by being fully engaged in your play with them – be it a game of backyard cricket, dress-ups or building with blocks.
There are many different ways to teach our children about Love – how will you show them this week?
Happy Parenting in LOVE!