Who can resist sharing hugs, kisses, smiles and laughter?

What Are the Symbols of Affection Among Parents & Children?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Your little one loves your hugs and kisses, often running into the room just to get them, even when he knows he should not be underfoot in the kitchen or chasing you into the bathroom. His hunger for affection extends to other family members and friends, so sometimes you have a chat about who he can share affection with. Fortunately, there are other symbols of parent-child affection you don’t mind him sharing.

1. Hugs and Kisses

Hugs and kisses are perhaps the most popular forms of affection between loving parents and children. When that little one is born, you can’t wait to hold her, kiss her and hug her little body. Even when she becomes a wiggly toddler or preschooler, these signs of affection are enjoyed by most parents and children. Many parents don’t mind messy kisses and hugs from food-covered toddlers.

2. More Touching

There are many ways to show affection with touch that parents and children enjoy, including tickling, cuddling, patting his back when you want him to go to sleep, rubbing shoulders and holding hands, according to FamilyEducation. You and your child could enjoy sharing high fives when he does a good job with his chores or on the playground. Sometimes your child doesn’t want to be touched, and it’s important to let him know that he can decide who touches him and how, suggests Survivors And Victims Empowered in the “Child Protection eGuide."

3. Verbal Affection

Affection doesn’t have to be physical, according to the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning’s August 2005 newsletter. Tell your little one she’s an awesome kid and you love her with all your heart. Encourage her and playfully tease her. Tell her how much she means to you and how you can’t imagine life without her. She will get the message that she is loved and could respond with outstretched arms and a declaration that she loves you “this much.”

4. Body Language

Parents and children share affection through body language, such as smiles, winks, thumbs up and a wave as you part company or return. Outstretched arms and an open stance also communicate affection and acceptance. For your little athlete, jump up and down in celebration when he does well, and offer support with an encouraging nod when he does not do as well as he had hoped. He will also feels your affection when you sit close to him to share a bedtime story or prayer or just share space while enjoying each other’s company.

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