Share the love with kids, too

Published On: Dec 14 2011 11:31:46 AM EST
Updated On: Jan 27 2011 08:54:13 AM EST

Valentine's Day is generally thought of as a couples-only holiday, but many forget that it's popular among children, too.

How do you show your kids you love them on Valentine's Day -- or on any day? The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips:

  • Use plenty of positive words with your child. Nurture her self-esteem and self-confidence by praising a job well done, and show interest in what she is saying.
  • Respond promptly and lovingly to your child's physical and emotional needs and banish put-downs from your parenting vocabulary.
  • Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Use words like "I'm sorry," "please," and "thank you."
  • When your child is angry, argumentative or in a bad mood, give him a hug, cuddle, pat, secret sign or other gesture of affection he favors.
  • Use nonviolent forms of discipline. Parents should begin instituting both rewards and restrictions many years before adolescence to prevent trouble during the teenage years. Once youngsters reach adolescence, allowing them to break important rules constantly without being disciplined only encourages more rule violations.
  • Make plans to spend half a day alone with your teen doing something he enjoys.
  • Mark family game nights on your calendar so the entire family can be together. Put a different family member's name under each date, and have that person choose which game will be played that evening.
  • Owning a pet can make children with chronic illnesses and disabilities feel better by stimulating physical activity, enhancing their overall attitude, and offering constant companionship.
  • One of the best ways to familiarize your child with good food choices is to encourage her to cook with you. Let her get involved in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to the actual food preparation and its serving.
  • Don't forget to say, "I love you" to children of all ages!

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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