The Search Institute is one of my favorite parenting resources! They are all about helping youth to succeed and they make it accessible to everyone. It’s been a while since I first saw the piece on 150 Ways to Show Kids You Care, but it stuck with me. Such simple ideas, but they make a big impact! Their premise is that “Everyone in a community can make a difference in the lives of children and youth. Even if you don’t think you can tackle tough problems such as a violence, alcohol and other drug use, or school problems, you can make a difference by being a caring, responsible friend for young people.” Wow!
Need some ideas for what you can do today? Here are 150 of them:
150 Ways to Show Kids You Care
Smile a lot.
Learn their names.
Seek them out.
Remember their birthday.
Ask them about themselves
Look in their eyes when you talk to them.
Listen to them.
Play with them.
Read aloud together.
Say yes a lot.
Tell them their feelings are okay.
Set boundaries that keep them safe.
Listen to their stories.
Forget your worries sometimes and concentrate only on them.
Notice when they’re acting differently.
Present options when they seek your counsel.
Play outside together.
Stay with them when they’re afraid.
Invite them over for juice.
Suggest better behaviors when they act out.
Feed them when they’re hungry.
Delight in their discoveries.
Share their excitement.
Send them a letter or postcard.
Follow them when they lead.
Notice when they’re absent.
Call them to say hello.
Hide surprises for them to find.
Give them space when they need it.
Contribute to their collections.
Discuss their dreams and nightmares.
Laugh at their jokes.
Kneel, squat, or sit so you’re at their eye level.
Answer their questions.
Tell them how terrific they are.
Create a tradition with them and keep it.
Learn what they have to teach.
Use your ears more than your mouth.
Make yourself available.
Show up at their concerts, games, and events.
Find a common interest.
Hold hands during a walk.
Apologize when you’ve done something wrong.
Listen to their favorite music with them.
Keep the promises you make.
Wave and smile when you part.
Display their artwork in your home.
Point out what you like about them.
Clip magazine pictures or articles that interest them.
Give them lots of compliments.
Catch them doing something right.
Encourage win-win solutions.
Give them your undivided attention.
Ask for their opinion.
Have fun together.
Be curious with them.
Introduce them to your friends and family.
Tell them how much you like being with them.
Let them solve most of their own problems.
Meet their friends.
Meet their parents.
Let them tell you how they feel.
Help them become an expert at something.
Be excited when you see them.
Tell them about yourself.
Let them act their age.
Praise more; criticize less.
Admit when you make a mistake.
Enjoy your time together.
Give them a special nickname.
Marvel at what they can do.
Tell them how proud you are of them.
Ask them to help you.
Applaud their successes.
Deal with problems and conflicts while they’re still small.
Chaperone a dance.
Tell them stories in which they are the hero.
Believe in them.
Nurture them with good food.
Delight in their uniqueness.
Let them make mistakes.
Notice when they grow.
Wave and honk when you drive by them.
Give them immediate feedback.
Include them in conversations.
Join in their adventures.
Visit their schools.
Help them learn something new.
Be understanding when they have a difficult day.
Give them good choices.
Respect the choices they make.
Be silly together.
Hang out together.
Inspire their creativity.
Accept them as they are.
Become their advocate.
Appreciate their personality.
Talk openly with them.
Tolerate their interruptions.
Share a secret.
Write a chalk message on their sidewalk.
Create a safe, open environment.
Cheer their accomplishments.
Encourage them to help others.
Tackle new tasks together.
Believe what they say.
Help them take a stand and stand with them.
Daydream with them.
Do what they like to do.
Make decisions together.
Magnify their magnificence.
Build something together.
Encourage them to think big.
Celebrate their firsts and lasts, such as the first day of school.
Go places together.
Welcome their suggestions.
Visit them when they’re sick.
Tape record a message for them.
Help them learn from mistakes.
Introduce them to people of excellence.
Tell them what you expect of them.
Give them your phone number.
Introduce them to new experiences.
Share a meal together.
Talk directly together.
Expect their best; don’t expect perfection.
Empower them to help and be themselves.
Love them, no matter what.