As parents, our days are consumed with infinite demands and endless
responsibilities, all of which can leave your body and mind exhausted and
your thoughts directed toward a well-deserved vacation. Despite the
craziness of the day-to-day hustle and bustle, take a moment to think, ‘what
was the last thing I said to my child before bed tonight’?
I hope that as all kids doze into dreamland, they receive a hug and
kiss to last them through the night. I am satisfied knowing that my children
have these needs met each night, followed by an “I love you”, but as I read
somewhere when my children were very young, I also am sure to say, “I am
proud of you”.
Some sleepy nights when my inevitable, “Cinderella-time” looms, (and
I don’t mean going to a ball), these simple phrases may be all I say. Other
nights, I try to define my adoration, “I love you when you draw me pictures”, “I
love when you are honest and when you try hard at tying your shoes”. “I am
proud of you for being such a good friend”. “I am so proud of how well you
write your name, or play baseball, or how well you ate your dinner”. It really
doesn’t matter what you are proud of or why you love your child; we know the
reasons are endless, but it is the act of saying it that supports your feelings.
“Wait”, you might say. Did me waking before dawn to make lunches,
pack backpacks, lay out clothes, prepare breakfast, check homework, sign
permission slips, fold laundry (and if lucky, start a load before work so the
ballet outfit or t-ball uniform is clean for after school practice), not show
that I care?
I actually applaud the parent whose children are secure enough in
their little lives, to come to expect these actions because I believe all of
these everyday, “small acts of kindness” in the parent’s handbook do get
noticed and are appreciated, (when they are not being taken for granted).
As a teacher, I see the child who is visibly worried that their parent will not
remember to send in that healthy snack, permission slip or have the costume
that they need. It saddens me to see this additional stress at such a young
But here’s good news is; this selfishness is very age-appropriate.
Even the most confident, intelligent and sociable child is also sensitive and
impressionable and eager to please. The reality is that our kids have long,
very active days and hearing that they are appreciated at the end of the
day sends them off to their sweet dreams with the acceptance and love that
let’s face it, we all crave. Kids are bound to mimic the behavior they see; if
you show love and appreciation, that is what they will learn to convey to
As class sizes are bound to increase, family-time is limited and
bullying behavior continues, you can make sure that your child feels secure, accepted, and
appreciated as their day ends and they mentally prepare for tomorrow.
Hopefully by you modeling open-communication, you will not only receive the
recognition that we all crave, but you might also be lucky enough to sample
the good parts of your child’s day and maybe more importantly, what may
have gone wrong.