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Fun and Creative Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ to Your Child

CVB: Your book is called 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories. I have three grown children and I say, “I love you” at the end of every conversation. But I know that saying, “I love you” is more than just words. Tell us about that.

Julie Lavender: That’s right. I homeschooled all four of my children and these were ideas that I collected with them. My children are adults now as well. My husband was military and we noticed that sometimes some of the little memories that we made, the little activities, seemingly made more of an impact on my kids. When I would ask them, “What did you like best about this?” It seemed like it was the little moment. It didn’t have to be monumental to be momentous.

We might take a vacation to a park that we were close to and I would ask what they liked best. One time we went to Disney and I asked what they liked best about that. My son was seven or eight and he said the thing he liked best was jumping from one bed to the other in the hotel.

CVB: Oh yeah! That’s exciting.

Julie: The thing is we let them jump on the bed at home. That wasn’t really a problem. But in this hotel room they had two beds close together. They pretended that was the moat and there were crocodiles in there that they had to jump over. My husband and I stood between so that they wouldn’t get hurt. We took part in it and it was a wonderful, fun memory for them.

When we would take them to the park, my husband would pretend he was a big crab. He would do something funny with his hands and say, “Crabby is coming to get you.” So he would play on the playground with them. We were intentional. If we took them to a park, we didn’t just sit over on the chairs, we interacted and played games with them.

I think as parents, we can turn anything into something our kids might remember. It might be as mundane as going to the mailbox. At one of the duty stations where we lived, my kids got letters from their dad if he was gone, or from their grandparents. That was back in the days of snail mail, so to kill time, I would take the kids with me. We skipped to the mailbox one day and the next day we would walk backwards. The next day we would zigzag. I would let each child come up with something. Then when they got to the mailbox and had a letter from someone, it made it all the more exciting.

We tried to take little moments and turn them into big moments to create that family bond.

More interviews and articles by Craig von Buseck


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