No matter what stage of motherhood you are in, each phase has its ups and downs. As your child grows, they will need you in different ways. Learning how to be a loving mother will give your child a solid foundation to become a confident and independent adult.
Wouldn’t you love for your child to be home with you forever? In my dream world, my daughter would be nestled in our home, needing my love and attention for the rest of her life.
But my purpose as a mom is to raise my children to make a difference in this world. But, they can’t do that if they are dependent on me. That is why I need to set a foundation built with love, so they will become confident and independent adults.
The first line of Brene Brown’s Parenting Manifesto says:
“Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable.”
I love this. I believe that it’s the first line because it’s the cornerstone of parenting. One thing I know is that when a child is nurtured with love, they will feel comfortable to explore who they are and become the person God made them to be.
It’s not always easy to parent with love, especially when our child is acting out. But if we try to be intentional, this can make such a difference. Here are some things you can do to be a loving mother to a child of any age, along with some ideas for moms of babies and toddlers.
How to be a Loving Mother (to a child of any age!)
It doesn’t matter how old your child is all they want is to feel loved. As a mother, it’s our job to ensure that we are being intentional about doing this. Here are 15 things you can to do become a loving mother (hint: it’s also about you!).
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1. Learn your Child’s Love Language
Knowing how your child receives love is the first step to becoming a loving mom. It’s easy to give love in the same way we feel love. But, this doesn’t mean our kids will receive it that way.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages.” What started out as a couples marriage book has turned into a guide to loving everyone in your family.
In 2016, Chapman and co-author Ross Campbell wrote “The 5 Love Languages of Children:The Secret to Loving Children Effectively.” This book will help you to discover how your child feels loved so that you can focus on doing more of that.
I would read this first because some of the suggestions I have included for how to be a loving mother, may not be your child’s love language.
2. Say I love you
It sounds simple, but tell your children you love them. Not just when they are doing good when you are proud of them, or passively on their way out the door.
Be intentional about randomly telling your child you love them and reinforce the fact that you love them even after they have made a mistake.
3. Let your Child know you appreciate them
Doesn’t it make you feel good when someone tells you how much they appreciate something you’ve done? Whether that be from a co-worker or your husband, it makes you feel loved!
Try this with your kids! Let them know how much you love to spend time with them, or thank them for helping you out. Take time to notice the ways they add joy and happiness to your life.
4. Show interest in what your child is interested in
As a mom, I dream of the days when my daughter helps me in the garden or she starts to take piano lessons like I did. Although I think it’s awesome to introduce children to different activities, it’s even more important to be attentive to what they are interested in.
Part of being a loving mom is encouraging your child in what excites them. Obviously, this is going to look different depending on the age of your child. One way to do this is by going into an event without an agenda and paying attention to what they are interested in.
If you have a toddler, this may look like bringing them to the park for the swings but noticing they want to play in the sand instead. Get down on their level and explore with them (I’ll talk more about this a little later).
For older kids, it may look like a couple of different things.
1. Noticing what they gravitate to and finding activities similar to that
2. Simply asking what things they would like to try.
The key is to keep an open mind to let your child explore the things that they enjoy. When you nurture your child’s interests, this will make them feel cared about and loved!
5. Just Listen.
Don’t we all want to talk about what’s going on in our life? Whether it’s good or bad, sharing these things with someone is vulnerable. When they take the time to listen, this makes you feel loved!
Even when you are feeling busy, try to be intentional and take the time to listen. Just hearing what is going on in your child’s life will make them feel special, understood, and truly loved.
6. Pray for Your Child
I feel like praying for your child often gets looked over as a way to be a loving mom. It can feel like part of our job to cover them in prayer.
Although your children will not always see this, unless you pray for them around the dinner table, they will see the way you treat them in love. I’ve found when I’m spending time with God in prayer for my children, I’m more understanding, compassionate, and loving towards them.
Keep in mind you don’t need to spend hours in prayer. This can as simple as seeing your child playing on the floor and saying to the Lord “Thank you for Emmie Kay. I pray that you would help me to encourage her to become the woman you are calling her to be.”
I have also created a prayer journal for mamas… Check it out here!
Don’t put the pressure on yourself to have perfectly worded prayers either, the Lord always knows what’s on our hearts. (Matthew 6:8)
7. Put Down the Phone
You might be sick of seeing this, but we really need to put down the phone. Our kids see that our attention is averted and can feel ignored, unheard, and even unloved.
I was reading an article in Today Parents about how parents’ screen time is interfering with a child’s development. I knew that it wasn’t good to be on our phones around our kids, but I didn’t realize how much of an effect it had on them.
When we take the time to just be with our kids, it will not only help them learn but will make them feel loved. In the beginning, it’s hard, so there are two ways I’ve changed up my habits:
1. Cold Turkey – Only allow yourself to go on your phone if you get a phone call or text OR if the kids are asleep!
2. Set a Timer – I love to carve out moments of my day to be screen-free. When I get my daughter up in the morning, we snuggle in bed for a bit. I leave my phone in the kitchen so I don’t feel any temptations.
8. Lunch Box Notes
I’m stealing this idea from my mama! When I was in school, a few days a week, my mom would leave an encouraging note in my lunch box. I remember feeling so special and loved. To this day, I leave my husband random notes in his lunch box or car because I remember how much they meant to me!
I think handwriting a little encouragement on a napkin is really special. I totally get how busy it is to be a mama, so if this is you I love these pre-made lunch box notes.
9. Do something they love to do
So often, I find myself saying “I can’t wait to take my kids to do (insert favorite activity)” OR “To take them to (insert favorite place).” As a mom, we want to share a piece of things we love and enjoy. But, it’s important that we take an interest and do something they love to do!
I think this is way more simple than we make it out to be and can be incorporated into everyday life. For example, if your child is interested in bugs when you take your morning walk look around and pay attention to a new insect. When you bring it to their attention they will feel like you are noticing what they are into!
10. Make Special Time with your Kids
When I was a little girl, my dad would take me to breakfast once a month. I felt so special, getting to ride in his truck and pouring the sugar into his coffee. These are the memories I want to make with my daughter.
Making special time with your kids shouldn’t be something you do daily. Rather it should be monthly, quarterly, or maybe just on their birthday. Even if you don’t have the time or money to do something like a mommy-daughter date, invite them to go grocery shopping with you, blare their favorite tunes in the car and make some memories!
11. Always say goodnight
Our bedtime routine with my daughter is one of my favorite times of the day. We splash around in the bath, read a book, snuggle, and sing “You are my sunshine” before bed. Every night before I lay her down, I kiss her soft cheek and whisper “goodnight sweet pea, I love you.”
Try to be intentional about saying goodnight, even to your older kids. Wishing them a peaceful sleep is just a sweet reminder that you love them.
12. Invite them into what you are doing
This is going to be way easier said than done, especially if you have a baby or toddler. Inviting your children into what you are doing will make them feel seen, heard, and loved. But doing this will take a lot of intention and patience.
For some this will look like asking your children to help in the garden, taking a ride to run errands, or going on your daily walk. If you have a baby, you can put them in a wrap or ring sling and talk to them about what you are doing. With a toddler, you could invite them to help cook dinner by asking them to stir the salad or mash the avocados.
Sharing a part of your daily life with your children will make them feel like they are noticed. This will also help to teach them everyday life skills!
13. Compliment them
Who doesn’t love being told nice things?! Think about the last time someone complimented you. I bet it made your whole day!
Even though we can get busy in the swing of life, start to notice the things you love about your child or what you are proud of them for. If you find yourself forgetting, set a reminder on your phone. This always helps me to remember the things that easily slip my mind.
14. Take Time for Self-Care
I bet you are surprised to see this made the list. But, self-care for moms is really important because when our cup is empty, it’s really hard to give love.
Take some time for yourself! If you need some self-care ideas for busy moms, here are some ways to take time for yourself.
15. Spend time with God
In Francis Chan’s book “You and Me Forever,” he and his wife talk about how our relationship with God is the most important factor when it comes to how healthy our relationship is with our spouse. I’m a huge believer that this goes for everyone in our life.
Finding ways to spend time with God even as a busy mom might look a little different than pre-baby. You may need to get up a few minutes early, take some time during nap time, or ask your spouse to watch the kiddos. Prioritize your time with God and your life with reflect it (Proverbs 27:19).
How to be a Loving Mother to a Baby
After having my daughter, all I wanted to do was ensure that she felt loved. When you have a baby it’s easy to feel like caring for their basic needs isn’t showing them enough love. I promise you, mama, this is all your sweet baby requires. But if you want a few more ideas, here are some ways to be a loving mother to a baby!
1. Snuggle Them
This probably comes naturally to most mamas, but seriously take this as your excuse to snuggle that baby. I promise that newborn cuddles do end, so soak up every second.
After my daughter came home from the NICU, the nurses recommended lots of skin-to-skin. This not only helps you to bond with your baby but will release the hormone oxytocin for both you and your newborn!
3. Physical Affection
If you haven’t noticed a theme, babies need and love to be touched by their parents. As they get older, sitting still for snuggles and skin-to-skin isn’t really a thing. You can try simple things like a little hug, kisses, and maybe a massage after bath time. I even find just gentle touch, like stroking her hair or rubbing her back, makes me feel more connected to my daughter!
4. Caring for their Needs
I mentioned this earlier, but at this age just caring for their needs is a way to be a loving mother. Observing your little and not being distracted (by things like your phone), will help you to get to know your baby more and know what their cries mean!
5. Being engaged in playtime
It doesn’t matter if your baby is a newborn or they are almost one, being engaged during playtime is important. I do believe in independent play as well, but spending time with them face to face will help them learn a little faster!
If you have multiple kiddos, it might be difficult to spend all day on the floor. So, plan time each day to interact with them. It doesn’t have to be very long either!
6. Be undistracted during feedings.
This last tip is one I’ve observed about my daughter. When she was a newborn, I found myself scrolling through Instagram to pass the time. But I began to notice she was fussy during feedings or when she got older she would unlatch when I didn’t give her my undivided attention. She loved to make eye contact and play with my necklace. It’s become one of the most special times of our day!
How to be a Loving Mother to a Toddler
These years can be hard. With so much going on developmentally with your little one, being a loving mother to a toddler may feel like a challenge. Here are some things you can do to make your toddler feel loved!
1. Explore with them
At this age everything is new! Every day is a new adventure and they are learning so much.. so fast. Take time to explore with your toddler. Spend some time following them around as they discover the world and pay attention to the things that get their attention.
2. Make time to play together
This age is busy. Throw in your everyday to-do list and you might find yourself expecting your toddler to do more independent playtime. But, it’s important to carve out time to play with them! Maybe take out a special hands on activity like playdough, crayons, or sand.
3. Snuggles + Kisses
It might be difficult to wrangle your toddler for more than five minutes. Even though they may squirm away, always kiss them and give them snuggles. When they do want to snuggle, don’t miss out on the opportunity… they probably really need your attention!
4. Read Together
Last but not least, reading together is such an awesome way to bond. Go to the library and pick out new books. Spending time reading is a great way to snuggle, get in some physical touch, and of course, learn some new words. It’s a win-win in my book 😉
No matter what age your child is, they want to be seen, heard, and loved. Learning how to be a loving mother is really about being intentional with your child, toddler, or baby. I hope these ideas on how to show your children love will help you to become the mom God is calling you to be!
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