In honor of my youngest’s fifth birthday today (crazy!), a list of ways to show your child that you love him.

There are as many different ways to show love as there are different kids. And that’s a lot. So this is obviously not an exhaustive list. Please note that since I have four boys, I am using masculine pronouns. Feel free to use the list with your daughters, too. 🙂

Did you know that a child who feels loved, and therefore feels secure, behaves better, listens better, and follows rules better? Think about it. When you feel loved by someone, you want to please them and to make them happy.

First of all, find out his primary love language.

If you’re not sure what that means, check this out and run the quiz for each child (you can do it online, or print out the pdf version). Note: To get a more accurate and detailed look, you should get the The 5 Love Languages of Children. Fill that “love tank” daily with his primary language and throw in the other love languages. Every language is important to every child (or every person, for that matter). All of these ideas incorporate at least one love language. I will admit, of all of them, the “Gifts” language might cost the most money, but you have to think outside the box for it. 🙂

  • Tell him about Jesus every day.

  • Tell him you love him, continually.

It might seem too simple, that kids should just know that we love them. But hearing the words is really important.

  • Teach him how to pray.

  • Love your spouse.

Feeling secure is a huge part of feeling loved. When he knows you two are well-connected, he’ll feel safe.

  • Tell him God loves him so much that He died for him.

  • Tell him that only God loves him more than you do, and that you would give up your life to save his, too.

  • Look in his eyes and get down on his level when he’s speaking, so you can really listen.

This shows you really care about what he’s saying. And know what? You can’t be looking at the computer, ipad, or phone when you are looking into his eyes.

  • Swing him around.

  • Spend time with him.

It doesn’t have to be hours a day, but spend at least 5 minutes with just you and him. His choice of activity.

  • Model healthy habits.

  • Let him try new things and don’t be afraid to let him fail.

  • Write him love notes.

If he goes to school, send a note in his lunch. If not, slip a note somewhere that he’ll be sure to notice (on his pillow, where he keeps his toothbrush…).

  • Give him a piggy-back ride.

  • Set up reasonable house guidelines and be consistent.

Yes, kids need rules! It helps them feel safe and secure.

  • Comfort him when he’s hurt or sad.

  • Offer random hugs and kisses.

Pick him up and snuggle him when he’s playing, eating, reading, doing school, etc.

  • Make his favorite food for dinner.

  • Smile at him often.

A real smile can make his heart light up.

  • Run races.

  • Always accept a hug or kiss when offered.

When it’s appropriate. Like, don’t let them do either when you’re in the bathroom or something.

  • Laugh with him.

  • Tell him you love his heart.

The inside is so important. Let him know you love the beauty inside his little spirit. You love his kindness, helpfulness, how he cares for his siblings and you, and how he shows love for Jesus.

  • Be his biggest fan.

  • Pray with him.

At scheduled moments, or random moments, your child will feel so treasured and loved when you pray with him.

  • Tell him he is a blessing from God.

  • Don’t downplay his feelings.

When he has a physical or emotional injury, it’s a huge deal to him, even when you think he’s over-reacting. Sure, don’t let him wallow, but let him express his feelings, and let him know you’re there for him. Please please please don’t tell him boys don’t cry. Boys cry. Men cry. They should be allowed to do so without shame.

  • Make paper airplanes together.

  • Tell him you love him, even when he does wrong.

Everyone needs to know they are loved unconditionally. Make a point to tell him you love him after being disciplined, or after he’s made a mistake.

  • Make a kite together and go fly it.

  • Touch him. Often.

Give high fives or handshakes. Poke his nose. Gently pinch his cheeks. Pat him on the back. Hold his hand. Gently squeeze his shoulder. Caress his face. Ruffle his hair. (Note that some of these things will NOT be accepted by a teenager. Nor would it be appropriate. :P)

  • Play hide and seek.

  • Randomly give a gift.

It can be small, like a ball, a balloon, a sticker, a flower, or a cool rock you found on the ground. I always check clearance sections for small, cheap toys that I know the boys will love.

  • Listen to his stories.

  • Make up your own silly handshake.

  • Say “yes” whenever possible.

If it’s something you don’t care one way or the other about, just say yes! Don’t be afraid of the word.

  • Change the words to popular songs to be just for him.

  • Baby him when he’s sick.

Not so much that his future wife will hate you, but enough that he feels special and nurtured.

  • Make an acrostic poem using the letters of his name.

  • Draw with chalk outside together.

  • Interview him like he’s a celebrity.

It can be as simple as you making dinner while asking him 5 questions about his day, or as elaborate as pulling out the video camera, silly dress-up clothes and a fake microphone.

  • Make a movie together.

  • Make up your own secret language.

  • Rejoice in his wins, and weep in his losses.

Again, don’t let him wallow, but let him know that you’re his biggest fan, and what matters to him matters to you as well. Winning isn’t everything, but doing his best is important.

  • Celebrate his birthday in a special way.

Wake him up with surprises, have special things throughout the day, and end the day with surprises.

  • Be honest with him, but don’t over-share.

  • Make sure every day starts new.

If yesterday was a bad day, remember it’s in the past. Focus on today.

  • Make his favorite breakfast and serve it to him in bed.

  • Take him to church.

  • Listen carefully when he explains his drawings.

Even if they only look like blobs or scribbles to you.

  • Send him real mail.

  • Tell jokes to each other.

Depending on the age, you should start being honest when something isn’t truly funny. Don’t be afraid to say “Honey, I don’t get it.” (Hey, honesty shows love!)

  • Blow bubbles with him.

  • Push him on the swings.

  • Look when he says, “Look at me, Mama!”

Even if it’s the three millionth time you’ve seen him do it.

  • Bake cookies together.

  • Praise him.

Make sure it’s relevant and age-appropriate. Don’t gush over a 10 year old washing his hands after using the restroom.

  • Teach him the power of a quiet voice.

  • Sit down and be with him.

LEGOs, puzzles, cars, coloring, blocks, play-doh, clay, drawing, painting…Whatever he loves doing, do it with him. And be in it – not just while you’re browsing facebook.

  • Believe the best in him.

Don’t jump to negative conclusions. Listen to his words, tone and body language to get to the truth. If a child feels he’s being accused of something all the time, he gets defensive and grumpy.

  • Dance with him.

It doesn’t have to be Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance quality. It could even be a dance that would end up on the outtakes. But dance with your kid and have fun with it.

  • Let him pick the movie for movie night.

  • Hold him.

If he is still willing, rock him, hold him, hug him. I still grab my ten year old. I remember the “I’ll Love You Always” book, with the little old lady holding her grown son. Yes, I’m going to be “that” mother.

  • Teach him the ASL sign for “I love you” and sign it to him.

Being a boy family, we often shoot “I love yous” to each other, Spiderman style.

  • Let him know you care about his opinions.

  • Have a tickle war.

Don’t hold him down and tickle him against his will though. That is NOT fun for a kid. (Ask my hubby.) When he yells “Stop!” STOP.

  • Save and display his best creations.

  • Let him “overhear” you bragging about him to his dad (or grandma, or anyone else).

Just think of the proud glow he’ll feel inside.

  • Read to him. Even when he can read.

  • Offer to rub his back/scratch his head.

Some kids love this, others hate it, so only do it if he likes it.

  • Be polite; use good manners with him.

  • Let him know you’re happy to see him after you’ve been apart.

After a long stay at Gramma’s or a short separation at church, you were missed. Let him know he was, too.

  • Make a meal together.

  • Look through photos of his life with him.

Most kids love looking through photo books. Okay, maybe not teen boys. But you can try.

  • Let him know you trust him.

  • Make dinnertime a share-your-day time.

Talk about the best things of the day. Tell each other one kind deed done. Talk about how to make tomorrow even better.

  • Discipline him in a godly, loving manner.

  • Go camping in the backyard.

  • Sing to him.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing well. It might be more fun if it ends up on the “worst of” American Idol auditions reel. Your kid doesn’t expect perfection.

  • Let him be involved in things that make him feel good about himself.

  • Try to share only the good things he does.

Don’t spout off every bad deed your child does to everyone. Share the positive things he does instead.

  • Teach him something new.

  • Give him a job.

Everyone likes to feel needed. He might groan or fight, but tell him how much you appreciate his efforts.

  • Let him see physical affection between you and your spouse.

  • Be willing to accept his help.

No, it won’t be perfect, but the offer itself is wonderful. Lovingly show the proper way to do it, but let him try. And thank him for the offer and the help.

  • Say his name in a loving voice.

  • Tell him you are so thankful that God chose him to be your son.

  • Make yourself look silly to make him laugh.

Nothing like humbling yourself to look like a dork for your kid!

  • Demonstrate the Fruits of the Spirit so he knows what they look like.

  • Go on a walk together.

A nature walk is fun, or just walking around the block holding hands is nice, too.

  • Read the Bible together.

  • Offer a sincere apology when you are wrong.

He will know if you are really sorry or not. It means a lot for him to know parents are not perfect, and that you can admit you were wrong.

  • Try not to yell at him.

  • Tell him how he makes you so proud he’s your child.

List specific traits that he possesses.

  • Don’t go to bed angry with each other.

  • Share a goodnight prayer, kiss and hug, and say “Goodnight, I love you” and tuck him in.

There’s nothing that makes a kid feel so warm, toasty and ready for sweet dreams.

Download the Boys’ copy?

Download the Girls’ copy?

I hope you enjoyed the list! It was going to be a short list, of about 10 ways, but I just kept going and had to make myself stop!

Would you like to share with me any that I missed? Please leave them in the comments. 🙂

God bless,

JennAbout Jenn: I’m a Christian wife to an amazing man (since 1998) and a stay-at-home-teaching mom to four special & incredible boys (born in 2004, 2005, 2007, & 2009). I’m messy and cluttered, but working on that (really, I am!). I’m a discouraged perfectionist and a classic procrastinator who probably has both ADD & Autism, so I tend to jump from topic to topic (and activity to activity) without notice. My Love Languages are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. I’m an INFP who enjoys friends but loves to be alone. I love getting and giving hugs, and encouragement is a Spiritual gift of mine that can too-easily be turned into the weapon of discouragement, if I’m not careful. I enjoy writing, singing, words, drawing, photography, digital creations, and reading. Oh, and pizza, tacos, and steak. Now I’m hungry. That reminds me; I eat gluten free and try to eat organic and avoid white sugar and GMOs as much as possible.  Find me on Facebook (Writer/Editor page) (Fan page), Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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  1. GREAT list!! I would add:
    Love his Daddy.
    Learn Bible verses together.
    Make up an ongoing story about someone something like him.
    Show him how/then expect him to do simple tasks that make him feel a needed part of the family.
    (put his clothes away, set the table, tidy up his room etc.)

    1. Thanks, Mom! And thanks for the extra ideas. 🙂
      Love you!

  2. What a great list! I love it! And, I love that you start it by encouraging parents to discover their child’s love language and speak it often. As I read through it, I realized that many of these same ideas will work as well for my teens as they will for your younger one. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Carrie! 🙂
      I tried to come up with things for all ages, but it totally depends on the kid, at any age, doesn’t it?! 🙂
      God bless and see you soon!

  3. This is so sweet. We all need to be reminded to savor the moments during our crazy days. Love that most of the ideas simply include being really present in the moment.

  4. Simple and sometimes taken for granted gestures that go a loooong way. Thanks for sharing these things. I think sharing a good night kiss after a prayer is gonna be effective. (will apply when i have my own kids. :))

  5. I love this, my children are all so different two with autism and I have had to learn how to show love in ways that are different to most. But they are my biggest gift and have my heart so i work at making them know this xx #bloggercaregroup

  6. Great list. Sometimes it’s just the small things that tell our children we love them. 🙂

  7. Love this list! What a perfect reminder of real love and how simple it is when we are present with our families to continue to show them and teach them God’s love. Beautiful!

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