Adapted from the book Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day

How to bring extra love to the holidays

We often associate love with Valentine’s Day, but the holidays are a fine time to reconnect with your family in affectionate ways.

Just as excitement over Valentine’s Day sweets can take away from its main theme of expressing extra love, the hectic pace of the holidays can overshadow its core message of family appreciation and togetherness. Amid busy schedules packed with holiday parties, school or work events and time designated for shopping for gifts, families can easily get caught up in the season’s material madness.

How you take time to show affection and love to your children in between all of your busy events speaks volumes to children. They notice when you’re stressed, and also know when you’re making an effort to turn your attention to them.

Studies find that children—and adults—reflect more fondly on what parents tend to view as life’s mundane events than they do on extravagant, over-the-top experiences. It’s all the more reason to take time each day to build rituals that express love and compassion than to splurge on expensive gifts or events.

7 ways to show love to your family:

  1. Take time each day to say “I love you” to your partner so your children hear you.
  2. Be supportive through everyone’s ups and downs this season. End-of-the-year stress affects family members differently. Be tuned in to what your partner or your children need to help them unwind.
  3. Pay close attention to your children when they’re talking to you. Make eye contact and let them know you’re listening.
  4. Make time alone with your partner this season doing something not related to running errands or holiday shopping. Do the same with your children.
  5. Apologize when forgetting to do something your partner or children asked you to do. The holidays can challenge even those with the sharpest of memories. Ask how you can make it up to them.
  6. Always thank your helpers in the same way you would thank someone you professionally hired to do a task. Did your son help string holiday lights? Did your daughter polish all of the silverware? Express your gratitude.
  7. Stop what you’re doing once a day to deliver a special hug and kiss to each of your loved ones.

Double up on these loving actions throughout December and be sure to keep them up throughout the year.