Natural born lover- we’ll call them the NBL’s.
You know the ones. They give away hugs like wholesale stores give away free samples to Saturday shoppers. They express their love freely and always have the right words to say to the people they love the most. They might even sneak a kiss on the cheek when they tell you goodbye if your especially important to them.
They have natural gift of expressing loving behavior through their actions. Everyone is capable of showing love in action even if you aren’t a NBL. Children especially need to be shown love. They thrive on love. We all do, no matter what our age. Feeling love makes us feel important, needed, and valued.
As a child grows into adulthood they develop much of their character by the way they are shown love. Some children will be naturally drawn to express their love by giving away hugs, kisses, and crawling up into the laps of their loved ones and snuggling. They are the natural born lovers.
But, what if you are one of the ones where showing love is a task?
What if you are one of the ones where receiving love is hard for you?
Let’s think about our human senses.
Human senses are great “go to” guides to help us all show love. If we remember how we live by our 5 senses then we can discover great ideas to help us display our affection in a way the recipient can understand and accept.
A great way to show love is to actively look for ways to show love using our senses. Here we go…
1. The Love Touch
Touch is essential. When you were born you were held as a baby, you spent 9 months inside of your mother’s warm body letting her know you were with her by touching her with kicks, ﬂips, and hiccups. So why would we not want to use the sense of touch to show love?
A warm, unexpected hug while a child is playing, a quick kiss on their cheek as you place them into their carseat, patting their head when they are at the breakfast table, or giving them a high ﬁve randomly for not reason at all-these are all very simple love touches that anyone can do. The key is doing.
2. The Taste of Love – favorite foods that you know your child loves.
Even if it is, don’t cringe junk food; let your child have it, enjoy it, savor it, indulge.
!Disclaimer: Not every day of their lives! Use your best judgement. You know when too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing.)
Take it to the next level: use cookie cutters shaped like hearts and make pancakes decorated with chocolate shaped heart eyes and a whipped cream smile. And don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to do this- you can create this anytime.
- Place a favorite food in their lunch.
- Let them choose what the menu will be all day long for one day of the week once in awhile.
- When you go grocery shopping let them choose a few of their favorite foods to place in the cart. Children love adding to grocery carts.
3. Love at First Sight – only have eyes for them.
Focus on them attentively and on purpose. Look into their eyes when they talk to you. Really see them when they share their thoughts with you.
Have a (insert your child’s name here) day. On this day you show them visually how much you love them all day long. Start in the morning, when they wake have a path of hearts with messages of love leading from their bedroom to the family area. If your child is too young to read you can still make a visual path of love by leaving the heart stepping stone paper, or attaching the hearts to ﬂoating balloons using pictures of you and them and other family members inside the hearts. Children love to see pictures of themselves. Did you know that most people look for their self ﬁrst when looking at family group pictures? It’s natural.
Here’s another idea: get a small mirror from around the house and place the mirror side up inside a larger box, then wrap the box like a gift. Tell your child that inside the box is the most wonderful gift you have ever received and that you want them to see this very special, important gift. Ask the child to unwrap the gift and then tell them to look into the box.They will see themselves in the mirror.
That’s your chance to smile at them, hug them, and tell them that they are the best gift ever!
4. Hear Ye, Hear Ye -What we hear has a big inﬂuence on us.
Sound is a very important sense. Right now think about a song from any era more than likely you will choose a song that has a special meaning to you.
Music is a great way to express love because many songs do the work for us. The words are poetic and heartfelt. The melody captivates us and draws us in leaving us with a sense of longing or warmth.
And guess what: our words do the same exact thing. Pay attention to every word that comes out of your mouth. Are your words loving, uplifting, and encouraging?
It is so easy to get caught up in the to do lists of the day,and with constant interruptions it’s even easier to say something you really do not mean to say in the heat of the moment. Remember we can never rewind our words and place them back into our mouths. Once it is said, it’s out there.
And now, your child or loved one has heard you, and is processing what you said as good or not so good. No second chances on this one.
Stop before you say anything, think, ask yourself would I like what I’m about to say if someone said this to me? How would I receive what I am about to say? Is what I am going to say important, encouraging, and loving? If it isn’t. Keep your words in your mouth. It is much easier to rethink and revise your words before they are out in the open air where little ears can hear.
(By the way, I am talking to myself on this one too.) Believe me- I need to keep my words in my mouth many times. When I mess up, I am very quick to ask forgiveness. I use my words and apologize, I am genuine, serious, and I make eye contact.
People and children are very smart and they will know if you are authentic or just pacifying them to appease them. Guarding our words is one way to show love. Here’s another:
Have a dance day!
Get a playlist together of your favorite songs, any tempo, and dance with your children. New music experiences are fun. You will love reliving some of your favorite musical moments invoked, and making new memories with your child is priceless.
One of my favorite memories is of my mom and I dancing together. It was silly, it was fun, and every time I hear the song “Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau I automatically revisit dancing with her in our living room, blasting the stereo, clapping our hands, laughing, and waiting for the cassette tape to rewind (showing my age here) so we could dance to it all over again.
This is a two-for-one idea because you can pick your child up in your arms and slow dance with them too. There you go no. You have touch and sound covered. (Wink wink.)
5. Smell. Love is in the air, literally.
Did you know that there are special scent beads that popular amusement parks use to draw you into stores, restaurants, and special events? It’s true. Imagine sitting in an audience watching a movie, and the actor in the movie is making cookies- then all of a sudden you smell warm chocolate chip cookies wafting in the air, tickling your nose. Your mouth waters and you remember leaving chocolate chip cookies on a plate for Santa as a child. You smile, you feel warm inside, and you remember the feeling of love.
Recreate moments by using our sense of smell. Perfume companies spend millions of dollars connecting their perfume with the feeling of love. They appeal to the consumer that if we use their perfume our husbands will go crazy for us and we will be irresistible (leaving them helpless and hopelessly in love with us as we walk past them wearing the incredible love potion!)
We can apply this same principle to our child’s scent response. Discover that showing love in this way is so easy. Perhaps your favorite memory is of the sweet smell of your grandmother’s perfume as she bent down to kiss you on the cheek leaving a strawberry lipstick print as evidence of her love. Every time you smell that brand of perfume you think of her kiss. Or maybe it’s the smell of her hair you remember if she used hairspray. You don’t have to wear perfume, or strong smelling hairspray, to make a memory imprint in the mind of your child. But, we can take pointers from grandma’s everywhere and make the most of our time together. Sit down with your child and read to them their favorite story near a gentle scented lit candle, or use one of the new scented aroma machines if you are concerned about using a lit ﬂame. As you read to your child they will enjoy the soft scent in the air and will remember the special story time you share with them more vividly. They will not forget the quality time you are setting aside especially for them.
Side note: this is a great idea that homeschooling teachers can use too, because using scent can help with memory recall when teaching something new to the student.
Smell is more important than we think.
Here’s a special secret I want to share with you. Giving long distance hugs is one of my favorite ways to show love. I had the honor of speaking to over 500 people at a special educational seminar last fall. I talked about bullying,the topic was intense and it was easy to notice that my audience was reliving some not so happy childhood memories. I wanted to hug my audience. I wanted them to feel love, and to know I cared about them.
When I can’t reach out to someone in person or if I want to hug a group of people all at the same time I ask them to do what I am going to ask you to do right now.
Please place your arms over your chest just like a great big X with each hand touching your shoulder.
Now SQUEEZE, a good squeeze. There- did you feel it? I just hugged you right back. I was crossing my arms and squeezing just like you.
Be easy to love. Express what you feel inside your heart. Show love to the ones you love every chance you get.
Make every day a day for love.