So in the first day of the challenge, we talked about how 17 hugs a day can really be life changing.
And how to sneak those in, you can be super sneaky about it. Or be super obvious about it.
It’s really up to you and kind of like how your kids react to things.
Here are 7 ways to show your kids that you love them based on the magic relationship ratio of 5 positive interactions to balance every one negative interaction.
Today I want to talk about words and other positive interactions.
No matter like, what stage of the sensory spectrum we’re on (or our kids are on), we do need touch and hugs and love and that physical affection from each other.
And so that’s why I think starting with the hugs is so important.
This works on husbands (or partners) too.
I love the number 17 because you literally can’t do it all like first thing in the morning. It needs to be something that you’re thinking about kind of throughout the day or else, you’re trying to get 17 hugs in you know, in the last five minutes before bedtime.
Which, could be fun.
Words of Love
A lot of times we might discover that it has been a long time since we told our kid we loved them.
Or I told them something positive that is inside of them.
We need to hear that!
The magic relationship ratio was identified by Dr. Gottman and Robert Levenson while studying the difference between happy and unhappy married couples.
What they found is fascinating! The main difference between whether a couple was happy or unhappy was the balance between positive and negative words and actions.
They found that the ‘magic ratio’ was 5 to 1.
When applying this to relationships, realize that for every ONE negative interaction, there needs to be 5 or more positive ones.
This is so important for our kids. It is so easy to start the day off yelling because they forgot something, are moving slowly, aren’t ready to leave, didn’t turn off the lights, etc., etc., etc.! Once I started looking at this more closely, I was shocked at how many negative things built up in a short amount of time.
Yet on some days the positive things didn’t build up as quickly…and certainly not in a 5:1 ratio.
How can you build positive interactions?
I mean, at a rate of 5:1, we need to be banking some!
Here are some ideas from the Gottman & Levenson research…
7 Positive Interaction Opportunities
Showing your kids that you love them starts with positive interactions and getting that balance of 5:1 in the favor of the positive!
Listen to your kids. That may seem easy, but watch the implementation of it! Pause and hear what they are saying before responding. If they are complaining, try to figure out the problem behind the words. If they are telling a story, think about why they might be telling you that at that time.
Ask open-ended questions. And keep asking. This is a hard one for me because many times my really good open-ended question is met with a “fine” or “OK”. Sometimes a long pause from me can encourage more words and sometimes not. Usually if I can get 3 good open-ended questions in a row, I can break the “fine” spell! But on the spot, it might be hard to think of 3 in a row…so being prepared can be helpful in this situation!
Make eye-contact and watch body language. When you think about how only 7% of language is verbal, if we are not watching body language or listening to tone, we are missing out on 93% of the message. Even if the actual verbal/non-verbal ratio is smaller, the information we can gather is a massive amount. This can be especially important in those situations where you are looking for clues!
Expressing affection is exactly what today is all about. Adding in the loving words and the physical touch that your child needs every day. Expressing affection isn’t about the grand, occasional gesture, but the continuous supply of affection that is the baseline for how your child sees the world.
In a difficult conflict situation, a display of affection can help reduce stress. For instance, when a child gets in trouble and a hard conversation is impending…reaching out to hold his hand and say something like, “This isn’t an easy situation. It is hard to talk about. I really love you and know we can figure this out together” can make a huge difference.
Demonstrate they Matter
The 17 hugs a day strategy is part of this. Your kid matters so much to you that you would take 17 times a day to show it. Nothing is too small. The math of small demonstrations done frequently over time is a powerful result!
Finding ways to show your child that you are interested in what they are interested in and care about how they feel will build trust.
Accentuate the positive! Catch them doing something good! Celebrate the little things regularly!
Keeping thoughts on the positive and why you are grateful for them can keep a positive energy in the relationship. Remember, they are kids…we adults have a responsibility to keep the relationship on the right track.
Find Opportunities for Agreement
This is especially important for 2 year olds…and teenagers! During these stages of a kid’s life, conflict seems to be what the first impulse is. If you can counteract that with quietly finding common ground, the entire tone of the relationship can shift.
Empathize and Apologize
Empathy is showing you understand and feel what they feel. It is an extremely deep connection.
Start sentences with…
- It makes sense to me that you feel…
- Help me understand how you feel…
- It makes me sad to know that you feel…
And apologize. Just because they were dealt the kid card and we hold the adult card doesn’t mean that they are always wrong and we are always right. But often we act that way! When something goes wrong, admit it and apologize. It will mean more than you can imagine.
This is something that we will be working more on all month…having silly fun together! These are the connections of childhood.
A family’s playful memories are the glue that holds it together.
Bank the Positive
We need to make sure those positive statements, actions and physical interactions are a part of our everyday relationship with our kids.
This gives them a bank of positivity at home. Giving them the confidence that home is a safe place because they have heard it from you over and over again.
How you love them.
How amazing they are.
How you’re lucky to have them as a kid.
I love the story of the dad that told his three daughters secretly, never ever in front of each other that they were each his favorite. And then when he passed away, they all realized that he had told them all that their whole entire life.
And that may not be what you want to do with your kids, but I think it’s so so sweet. I don’t know that we necessarily want to pit them against each other. But it’s so so sweet that they had that one-on-one relationship with their dad that they never even suspected he was doing it with the others as well.
So, you’re gonna keep up with the 17 hugs a day.
And you are going to start adding in some sort of positive message.
Today: hugs and just something sweet and lovely that you may not have said lately to your kids that they need to hear.
Finding Positive Praise Printable Worksheet
To help you find things that you can say to your kid, we have created this printable worksheet…
To get started, simply download and print the worksheet here: POSITIVE PRAISE
This is part of the 30 Day Challenge. You can print off the daily calendar journal and find the information about 17 hugs a day here.