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21 Little Things Every Parent Can Do To Make Kids Really Feel Loved

21 Little Things Every Parent Can Do To Make Kids Really Feel Loved
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It’s easy to say “I love you,” but talk is cheap and kids are clever. They know it’s not enough to hear those three famous words, if they’re not backed up with some kind of reinforcement. It could also be some sort of action, like something that’s going to make your kids laugh or smile, or something that will ultimately result in them feeling loved. These are the gestures that will always be remembered.

Many of these gestures can be made on an ad hoc basis, simply by paying attention to your child’s world. By viewing the world from their perspective, you have a better chance of reaching them and impressing on them.

Here are 21 little things every parent can do to make their kids feel loved. I hope you enjoy trying these out at home.

Draw on Their Banana

My kids love when I do this. If they bring a banana to school, draw a face on the skin of the banana with the words “EAT ME” in a speech bubble. You can even put glasses on the banana or a mustache to mix it up a little. Kids really love this. They love to show their teacher and friends too.  Also, it’s a good way to get them to eat their banana.

Make a Gift

Kids love creating things out of cardboard and glitter, but they will feel appreciated and loved if you also rolled up your sleeves and made something special for them, like a mobile for their room, a rocket ship, or a princesses’ house. It only takes a little imagination, some paint, and some cardboard. Think about the things that your kids are really passionate about and make something in that theme. Not only will they feel loved because you went to such an effort for them, they will also feel inspired to make something themselves.

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Make Talk Time a Priority

Leave aside fifteen minutes a day to just sit and talk to your child about what’s going on in their life right now. Gently probe for information on the times you are not with them (e.g school and the nursery). In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we forget about the importance of re-grouping with our kids. They will feel loved because you are interested enough to ask and follow through on different issues. It doesn’t have to be a very serious conversation, it can even be fun. It’s really just an opportunity to stay in tune  with your child’s life.

Make a Collage

Kids love photos – especially if they are in them. Make a beautiful collage for their bedroom with pictures of your child since birth. This will give them a very good sense of themselves, of who they are, and how they are growing up so much. Increasing self-esteem in a child will result in a feeling of  self-love. This is a very important  part of development. You will be helping to bring this about with this small gesture.

Read a Chapter of a Book

Make a commitment to read a chapter of a book with your kids every night. They will love it even more if you put in the effort of reading with expression and enthusiasm. They will really enjoy this close time with you and they will go off to sleep feeling safe and loved.

Put on a Costume

Kids love it when their parents are silly. Get up fifteen minutes before your kids wake in the morning and put on a silly costume. This might be easier to do when you don’t have to rush off to work. Dress up as anything (a pirate, a witch, a princess), the sillier the better. Then, go on in there and wake them up. Watch their faces. They love it! If you act out the part a bit they will really appreciate it. Fancy them being able to tell their teachers and friends on Monday morning that Daddy was a pirate on the weekend.

Have a Game of Making Up Stories

Your kids really value the time that you give to them. Making up stories is a perfect example of how you can tell them you love them. Take it in turns. Make sure you listen well to their story and laugh at all the right times. Make comments and encourage them to keep going. When it’s your turn, make the stories about them and use your imagination as much as you can. Include things you know they like (their pets, favorite food, favorite colors, or toys). This is good for everyone’s imagination. Most importantly, it brings us closer to our kids.

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Cook Them their Favorite Meal

One day after school, cook them their favorite meal or take them out to a restaurant. Include a treat for afterwards and forget about all the rules. Rules are for breaking. Plus, your child will never forget the day you let them break the rules for “just for one day”. These memories last and help us feel really special. You could also let your kids stay up late as a treat every now and then. You can watch a family movie together. These are the memories we hang onto.

Send Them Joke Texts

Kids love jokes, so why not send your kids a joke during the day on their phone. You will find some good jokes online that will be suitable for their age group. This is a fun way to get closer to your kids and it only takes a minute. Your kids will be delighted by your sense of humor and the fact that your text wasn’t a warning to do their homework or practice violin.

Put a Surprise Under their Pillow

We all love surprises, especially kids. This doesn’t have to be expensive, just get a small gift, like maybe a new book or a card game. You can put it under their pillow if they’ve been co-operative during the week. Sometimes small gifts are more powerful than big ones because the element of surprise reminds them that they are loved.

Label Their Belongings

Believe it or not, something as small and simple as putting a child’s name on their belongings can go a long way towards helping them feel loved. In order to feel loved, a child must first have a sense of belonging. What better way to help them feel like they belong than to label things they own like their school bag, retainer, bottles, bedroom door, coat hooks, breakfast dishes, and  art corner. Older children might not like having so many labels, but for younger children this works like a treat.

Go on Field Trips with Them

If you can, try to attend field trips, football matches, and recitals. It’s hard to be everywhere all at once and sometimes it’s just not possible; however, your attendance at these events means a lot to your kids.

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Make a “Life Story” Book

Buy a large blank scrap book. Start at the front page by pasting in pictures of your kids as young babies. Write some details about your kids weight at birth (etc.) underneath. You can paste in all kinds of pictures. Pick anything that your kid would enjoy. Include family members, pets, grandparents, and neighbors. This helps the child understand that they are part of a loving group of people. Write silly things where appropriate. Make it fun! Your kids can play an active role in what is to be included in the book once you’ve got things established. This is wonderful for your child’s self-esteem.

Give Them their Own Jobs

Kids need a sense of purpose in order to feel loved. Why not help them with that by giving them jobs to do around the house. Select something that is age appropriate and not to difficult for them, of course.

Try Some Decoupage

This is a very old craft that is now back in fashion and used to brighten up old furniture quite a bit. I painted a mirror frame white and cut out some pictures of butterflies. I carefully pasted each butterfly onto the corner of the mirror and popped on a little photo cut-out of my daughter’s face. I then varnished over it a few times before I showed it to her. It took her ages to find herself in the picture, but when she did she was absolutely delighted. YouTube has some great videos on decoupage for inspiration. As added incentive, it only costs a few dollars for varnish and glue.

Make a Power Point Presentation

You may be making presentations every day at work, but did you ever think of making one to your kids? If the presentation is about them, they’ll love it. Include relevant images and use the opportunity to say what you want them to hear. Maybe you want to praise them for a job well done. Maybe you want to talk about plans for the future or the holidays. Maybe you could make some sort of a deal with them, like if they do as you say, they will get something in return.

Don’t forget to keep the mood light or you could lose their interest. This is not the office, after all. You could also include pictures of them when they are asleep or in some silly pose. Your kids will love this and it will definitely bring you closer.

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Spell it Out for Them

Get some alphabet cookie cutters and some cookie dough and spell out “I Love You”. They will love these cookies made especially for them and tasting so yummy too. If you don’t have time to cook just use play-dough instead and leave it somewhere they can find them.

Just Get Stuck In

Whatever your kids are up to, and if you find that you have some free time, go get stuck in and enjoy that opportunity. Whether it’s a water fight, a game of basketball, or a game of shopping, get involved. Playing  with your kids is a fantastic way to show them that you love them.

Leave Notes Around for Them

You can leave notes in their lunchbox, gym bag, instrument case, their bed, or under their pillow. You can make the message appropriate to the situation at the time. If your son is having a hard time with Math, you could send him a note telling him, “Don’t worry. We’ll figure it out. Stay positive.” You get the idea. Not only will kids feel special when they find a note all for them, but they’ll also really remember the message contained on the note. This is great for kids with attention problems.

Dance with Your Kids

Kids in my house love to dance. We all get up and take turns doing really silly dances while the rest of laugh ourselves into a knot. Music is a great medium for bonding. It really does bring people closer together. Bringing music and dance into your home will provide your kids with many happy memories, as well as reasons to feel loved and cherished. So turn the volume up and get down every now and then.

Bring them Along With You as You Do Your Chores

Whether it’s ironing or changing the bed-linen, you will be doing you kids a favor by having them accompany you as you work. You get to spend time together and your kids learn valuable skills they will need down the line. They may prefer to play with their toys or gadgets, but after a while they will grow accustomed to this routine and they will learn to value it. After all, they will also benefit from quality time with their parent. All kids crave this. When these kids grow up and they are able to fend for themselves, they will remember the time they spent putting out the garbage with their Dad or making dinner with Mom, and then they will feel really loved.

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Conclusion

As you can see, these activities don’t cost anything besides a little bit of imagination and some effort. It’s a small price to pay in making your kids lives that much more special.

I hope these little tips help open up a new world of fun, laughter, and love to you and your family.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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