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15 Small Things Parents Should Do To Their Children Every Day To Make Them Feel Loved

15 Small Things Parents Should Do To Their Children Every Day To Make Them Feel Loved
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Can you remember what made you feel loved as a kid? Think about it. Maybe you remember having a great time with your parents, holidays, being helped with homework or just telling them a few secrets. As a parent now, are you making the effort to make your kids feel loved? Very often, it is the small things that count. Here are 15 ways to make your kids feel loved. When you become grandparents, you will be touched that they still remember them.

1. Turn off your smartphone.

When you get home or your kids get back from school, turn off your phone and give them your full attention at least for the first half hour or so. The kids love this because they know you are not going to be distracted by texts as they tell you what happened at school. The Swedish government did a poll and discovered that 33% of kids complained that their parents were always on their smartphones.

2. Turn off the TV and all gadgets at mealtimes.

Not much fun when kids have to compete with TV commercials or everybody texting away. Mealtimes are rare moments to enjoy each other’s company. There are enormous advantages for kids. They eat more healthily as it is not rushed. They also enjoy the companionship of their parents and they are much less likely to have an eating disorder later on.

3. Make bedtime a precious moment.

With younger kids, they will always treasure those moments when you read them a story as they drift happily into sleep. It is enormously reassuring and it is a unique bonding experience for parents and kids. The extra bonus is that this also helps your child’s brain development.

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4. Show physical affection.

Countless studies show that kids thrive on warmth and affection. The child feels loved and will have a greater self-esteem. There is no need to go overboard but a kiss or a hug once a day will do you both a lot of good. It lessens the chances of your kids becoming aggressive, anti-social and having other behavioral problems. While adolescents might be embarrassed at the physical affection, there should always be words of support and empathy to take its place.

5. Spend quality time with each child.

It is wonderful when a parent or both parents can spend quality time on a one-on-one basis with their kids. This is great because they feel special and their brothers and sisters are not around. It can be anything from playing sports, cooking, or helping with chores. There is no better way of showing your kids that you really love and cherish them.

6. Discipline them with love and affection.

There are still parents who believe that beating a kid is probably the most effective and time saving way of dealing with discipline. The kid learns that violence is an effective way of dealing with disagreement and conflict. The key to successful parenting is not to switch on the love when they do well and deny it when they misbehave. There are no conditions but just a steady flow of affection so that kids feel their parents’ love is truly unconditional.

7. Leave funny and affectionate notes and messages.

It can be a text or a little note tucked under their pillow. It can be a joke, an affectionate nickname or anything that shows the kids they are still on your radar.

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8. Look into their eyes.

The best way of communicating with your kids is to look them straight in their eyes as you talk to them. Eye contact is so important in this age when everyone is glued to some computer, device or phone. The child can learn to wait until he or she has your full attention but this is worth waiting for. It is also a great lesson to teach a child that eye contact is a very important social skill as they get older.

9. Smile more often.

What better way of showing your love and warmth for your children than smiling every time they come into the room. This immediately puts them at ease and also confirms that their presence is valued and that they are not a nuisance. There may be times when they will need to be reminded about bad behavior but why not use the other 90% to show that you love them?

10. Be a great role model.

How many times have you told your kids what to do, how to be polite and to always wear their seat belt? Oftentimes, parents forget that they must be the perfect role models because children are great copycats. No better way to show that you love your kids than to walk the talk. Be kind, affectionate and caring to others and teach your kids to be color-blind about race.

11. Involve them in decision making.

What to wear for school the next day or where to visit when you go on holidays can be decided together with your kids. Make sure your kids are fully involved and engaged. It is also great for kids to start learning how to make decisions with their parents’ guidance.

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12. Just play with them.

When kids were interviewed, they often said that they felt there was far too much going on and that they were overscheduled. They really want some downtime with their parents where they can just play, have fun, laugh and be together. It might be a good idea to cut out one or two activities so that you just do not end up being their chauffeur!

13. Take action when your child is unhappy.

There may be problems at school with bullying or with the sports coach. Show that you care and ask to see the people involved and just try to find out what is the cause of the tension and unease. It may well be the child’s fault but when it is not, there is an ideal opportunity to show that you are there for them and you will be their champion. You can do practical things like participating in a bully prevention program at your kids’ school and also teaching your child how to react when bullied.

14. Save the cards and gifts.

When your child gives you a note, funny drawing or little poem, show that you care by treasuring them. Put them in a special drawer or folder. Show the child a photo of where you keep a favorite picture in your office. You can take digital photos of the artwork and store them on a photo sharing site. Show your kid the results at regular intervals. It gives the child a great sense of achievement It also saves loads of precious storage space at home.

15. Never interrupt their stories.

When a child has a story to tell about what happened at school never interrupt them but hear them out. The same goes when they want to share a book with you or show you a picture story. They will feel loved and wanted. If parents ignore them or are far too busy, kids will be the first to suffer and it is likely to last into adolescence and adulthood unless we really make the effort now.

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Love and affection are the foundation of happiness. By showing kids this love every single day, we are giving them the greatest gift of all.

 “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle

How did your parents show their love for you? Let us know in the comments.

Featured photo credit: Stanley Yuu via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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