February LOVE Challenge: Week 1

Focus on THE KIDS!

Can you believe it’s already February? To help celebrate the month of love, I am working through a Love Challenge all month long! The first week focuses on showing some love to our children…

Day 1:

Today’s challenge: Play a game with your kids! My children get so much joy out of playing games together – whether that’s an impromptu basketball game in the dining room (please don’t judge me for having a basketball hoop in my dining room!) or a board game that we play together at the kitchen table (which is much more civilized). Take some time today to let your child pick out a little game for you to enjoy together. The best gift you can give them is your time

Apples

Day 2:

Yesterday, we had a lot of fun with the Day One challenge playing our own version of “Apples to Apples” (we included Super Hero cards!) – and I was surprised at how something so simple really made the kids’ day 🙂

Today’s challenge: Find a time in the day to give your child a hug and tell them something that you really love about them. Maybe it’s their sweet heart for their younger sibling or their consistent effort on their homework. It doesn’t have to be anything big – just take a few seconds to let them know that you love them and you see the good in them!

 

Day 3:

Yesterday, I took the time to intentionally give each of my children a hug and tell them something that I really appreciate about them. I was happy with the result: one child took it as an opportunity to discuss a broader topic that he had been worrying about. I was surprised that this one little gesture on my part got him talking about some things that were bothering him – and we had a good conversation about these issues that neither one of us realized he really wanted to talk about.

Today’s Challenge: Write a sweet note to your child and leave it in a fun place for them to find! The location that you choose will depend on the age and temperament of your child. I put one note in a lunch sack because I know that particular child will be excited to find it there – but my older son might not be so thrilled to pull out a “Love, Mom” note around his buddies. Be creative: you might leave it at their place at the dinner table or on their pillow. Just write a few simple sentences to let them know that you love them and you are proud of them – whatever you think might bring a smile to their face!

 

Day 4:

So yesterday, I stuck little notes of encouragement in various places for my children to find during the day. I’ll be honest: not one of them mentioned it to me afterwards 🙁

So, I asked my daughter if she had seen her little letter from me. She smiled and said, “Oh yeah, thanks!” before giving me a quick hug and running off.

Not satisfied with that resounding response, I asked one of my sons if he saw his note. “Oh yeah! I found it in my lunch. I didn’t want to throw it away, Mom, but I had to at the end of lunch…but thanks!” Okay, he didn’t want to throw it away – so that’s something, right?

Lesson learned: every attempt I make at this whole parenting thing will not be a huge success greeted with fanfare and applause. But I remind myself that’s not the point 🙂 The key is to keep trying, which leads us to the next idea…

Today’s challenge: Make tonight’s dinner fun! Include at least one “surprise” course that will make the kids smile. For us, that means breakfast for dinner – the easiest way I know to win “mother of the year” in our home.

 

Day 5:

I would *love* to hear if any of you had fun at dinner last night! Nana made pancakes for our special treat – and (as expected), it was a hit!

For our final challenge this week, I encourage you to find a little chunk of time this weekend (maybe 30 minutes or so) that you can dedicate to exploring something your child is really interested in. Maybe that’s a sport that you could play with your child just for fun (no instruction or “practice” – just fun!).

Maybe that means playing an electronic game and, instead of playing on your phone while your child plays their game, you could say: “Hey, now how does this Minecraft thing work again?” – and really listen 🙂

Show them you are interested in what interests them. And even if you don’t “get it” – focusing on their likes and letting them explain it to you will be a gift they will cherish!

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