My daughter and I sat next to one another on the couch watching TV. She’s never been a big cuddler, but being the mama I am, I grabbed her hand and held it anyway. She immediately looked up at me and gave me a sweet smile before looking back at the TV. At the time, this little gesture didn’t seem like much at all; I was simply trying to let her know I was thinking about her. I thought I knew the tricks for how to give your child positive attention—and I thought it took more effort. However, that moment meant much more to my daughter than I realized. Now, anytime we are next to one another, whether in front of the TV or eating dinner in a restaurant, she grabs my hand and smiles up at me.
Holding hands with my daughter isn’t a grand gesture, but that’s exactly my point—giving your kids attention doesn’t have to be! Now, I am not going to tell you to put down your phone or turn off the TV or leave the dishes in the sink for a while. You already know to do those things. Instead, I want you to try these 13 unique ways to give positive attention to your children.
1. Let them lead for the day.
Instead of following the normal schedule and routines, allow your children to direct the course of your day. Slow down (or speed up!) to their pace and allow their imaginations to run wild!
2. Smile at them randomly.
Of course, we smile at our children when they smile at us first or do something silly, but do we randomly grab their attention from across the room by smiling at them? Doing so will let them know they have our attention even when we aren’t right next to them.
3 Recognize their good behavior and accomplishments with encouraging words.
In order to show our kids that we pay attention to more than just the negative stuff they do, we should make an effort to compliment and affirm the positive stuff, too! This takes a lot of intention and awareness, but it will pay off.
If you’re married, share these four ways every dad needs to be intentional with your husband.
4. Ask if you can join in on something they are doing.
If your child is young, get involved the next time he or she is lost in imaginative play. With older children, ask if they can show you or tell you about their favorite hobby. Kids love when we show interest in the things they enjoy doing!
5. Invite them to join in on something you usually do alone.
Whether it’s baking, crafting, or going for a run, ask your child to join in on the fun the next time you plan to start an activity you enjoy. Our kids love to be included in all the cool adult stuff we do!
6. Listen intently when they’re speaking to you.
This one may seem simple, but as busy moms, it’s easy to “listen” to our kids while we juggle making dinner, answering emails, and packing lunches. Next time, slow down and really focus on what they’re saying to you—they will notice!
7. Ask them questions about something they’re interested in.
Children’s interests are constantly changing as they grow! Take notice of the things they’re currently into and ask them to tell you about them. They will enjoy talking with you about what they’re passionate about and who knows—maybe you will learn something new, too!
8. Send them a sweet message while you’re apart.
Leave notes in their lunchboxes or send them random texts in the middle of the day. Sending them positive words while you’re not around will let your kids know you’re thinking of them!
9. Make eye contact frequently, especially while talking with them.
Similar to listening intently while they are talking, making eye contact is a great idea for how to give your child positive attention. Whether it’s during a conversation, or just a quick glance in their direction, having our eyes meet theirs will let them know we notice them.
10. Show them unsolicited affection.
An impromptu hug, handhold, or quick squeeze of an arm are great ways to remind our kids we are there with them.
11. Read an extra story at bedtime.
Making time for a little more one-on-one interaction before sending my kids off to bed is my favorite way to give them attention on extra busy days. And the bonus is I often receive snuggles from them in return!
12. Display something they’ve made you.
Wear the bracelet. Hang the picture. Displaying the items our children create for us is a great way to give attention to their effort and talent.
13. Give them space when they ask for it.
This one may seem counterintuitive, but honoring your child’s need for some alone time shows just how closely you’re paying attention to their needs.
What special activity can you do with your child this week to give him or her positive attention?
ASK YOUR CHILD…
What is a good way to show someone that you are paying attention?