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Healthy ways to show your children you love them


By: Dr. Wendy Anderson-Willis, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Valentine’s Day is a reminder to show our love and affection to that special someone in our lives.  But there is no one more special than our children. Here are four great ways to show your kids you love them this Valentine’s Day and every day!  

1. Use positive words. 

It’s important to remember that negative words are just that: negative. Adults should keep in mind that children really don’t understand sarcasm. It’s a coping mechanism for many adults, but children just view it as negative. Positive words go a long way. Try to banish put-downs from your vocabulary. 

2. Help your child develop self-esteem

Your child needs your support and encouragement to discover his/her strengths. It’s important to believe in your child as he/she learns to believe in themselves. How do you build up their self-esteem? Don’t be afraid to say “I love you,” spend time together, listen, and praise his/her accomplishments. Read to your child, monitor and watch TV with your older children and use TV time as conversation time.

3. Help your child foster positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the community.

Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Your child picks up on your behaviors and the way you treat others. It’s important to use words like "I'm sorry," "please," and "thank you." Be the person you want your child to become.

4. Your child's health depends significantly on the early care and guidance you offer. 

Start your children off right. By taking your child to the doctor regularly for preventive health care visits, making safety a priority, providing a healthy diet, and encouraging exercise you help protect and strengthen his/her body. It’s a lot easier to start things when they are younger, then you can build on those good behaviors. It’s often harder to stop a bad behavior.