Lynn Staton Dworsky, M.D.  
     
     
14 Ways to Show Love for Your Child This Valentine's Day

1.  Use plenty of positive words with your child. Try to avoid using  sarcasm with your child. They often don't understand it, and if they do,  it creates a negative interaction.

2. Respond promptly and lovingly  to your child's physical and emotional needs, and banish put-downs from  your parenting vocabulary.

3. Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Use words like "I'm sorry," "please" and "thank you."

4.  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  and talk with him about his feelings.

5. Use non-violent forms of  discipline. Parents should institute both rewards and restrictions many  years before adolescence to help prevent trouble during the teenage  years. Allowing children of any age to constantly break important rules  without being disciplined only encourages more rule violations.

6. Make plans to spend time alone with your young child or teen doing something she enjoys.

7.  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.

8. Owning  a pet can make children, especially those with chronic illnesses and  disabilities, feel better by stimulating physical activity, enhancing  their overall attitude and offering constant companionship.

9. One of  the best ways to familiarize your child with good food choices is to  encourage him to cook with you. Let him get involved in the entire  process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to the  actual food preparation and its serving.

10. As your child grows up,  she'll spend most of her time developing and refining a variety of  skills and abilities in all areas of her life. You should help her as  much as possible by encouraging her and providing the equipment and  instruction she needs.

11. Your child's health depends significantly  on the care and guidance you offer during his early years. By taking  your child to the doctor regularly for consultations, keeping him safe  from accidents, providing a nutritious diet and encouraging exercise  throughout childhood, you help protect and strengthen his body.

12. Help your child foster positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the community.

13.  One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child  develop self-esteem. Your child needs your steady support and  encouragement to discover his strengths. He needs you to believe in him  as he learns to believe in himself. Loving him, spending time with him,  listening to him and praising his accomplishments are all part of this  process.

14. Remember to say, "I love you" to children of all ages!

(Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)