Little Things That Mean a Lot to Kids

From Parents Magazine

Children can notice the tiniest of details, which means even the smallest acts can be great ways to show them you care. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started—see if you can take one small action that shows you care every day (and consider this list just a starting point!).

1. Wear that macaroni necklace to work. Well, at least until you’re safely out the door. 

2. Tape a family mantra or slogan (Unstoppable! We can, we will! We’ve got this!) to your refrigerator and invoke it whenever your child feels discouraged. 

3. Go for a walk with just one child. 

4. Slip a note (and an occasional piece of chocolate) into her lunch box. 

5. 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.

6. Say “Yes” to something usually off-limits, like sitting on the counter.

7. Show as much enthusiasm on amusement-park rides as they do.

8. If you quarrel in front of your child, make sure that she also sees you make up. 

9. When his room looks like a tsunami swept through it, close the door and get on with your day. 

10. Call a grandparent or other special person together. 

11. If your child has given it a good try, but she’s still miserable and really wants to quit the team, give her your blessing. 

12. Go ahead: Let your 4-year-old stomp in every puddle along the way. Even without rain boots. 

13. Get out the glitter glue and make a birthday card for your child. 

14. Take in a pet that needs a home—and a child’s love. 

15. Give your toddler a chance to fight his own battles in the sandbox or on the playground before you intervene.

16. 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.

17. Cultivate your own rituals and traditions: Taco Tuesdays, Sunday afternoon bike rides, apple picking every fall.

18. Ask your kid to teach you how to do something for a change. Once you get the hang of it, be sure to tell her what a good teacher she is.

19. Let your child wear dress-up clothes to the supermarket. All month if he wants to.

20. Let your child overhear you saying something wonderful about her.

21. Stay up late to see the full moon. 

22. Print their childhood photos so they have something physical to look at one day. 

23. Share your old diaries, photos and letters from when you were his age.

24. Cook heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. 

25. Crank up the music in the middle of homework and have a dance party. 

26. Make a secret family handshake. 

27. Hang a whiteboard in her room to leave messages for each other. 

28. Start a pillow fight.

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