GOOD MORNING! I once saw a bumper sticker: "Hug Your Kids at Home; Belt Them in the Car". Obviously, the bumper sticker is a safety message to parents and not an invitation to child abuse. It is important to hug kids and to tell them "I love you!" I suspect very few of us - or our kids - ever complained that their parents hugged them too much or told them too many times "I love you."
A child needs to feel loved and safe. I try to ask each of my children at least once a day, "Do you know who loves you?" By now they know that the first answer is "God" (God loves each of us even more than we love our kids! It's important for kids to know this.) Then I ask them, "And who else?" And the child replies, "Daddy and Mommy!" Think what a wonderful epitaph it would be to have your children remember you by how you drove them "crazy" with hugs and kisses and asking them "Who loves you?"
A child needs physical contact with his parents. Here's a fun game called the "Rah Game": (1) the parent thinks of a spot on his face (i.e., the end of his nose). (2) The child guesses the spot by touching a spot on the parent's face. (3) If it is the wrong spot, the parent makes a funny face. (4) The child tries again; if it's the wrong spot, the parent makes a different funny face. When the child touches the right spot, the parent says, "RAH!" Then they switch roles and the child thinks of a spot on his face and has to make funny faces. There is a variation on this game called the "Boo Game." It's just like the "Rah Game," but instead of "RAH!" you say "BOO!"
Perhaps the most precious moments of the day are sitting with my children on their beds before they go to sleep. I and/or my wife hold them and listen to them say the Shema ("Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One" and the first paragraph following in the Siddur/prayer book) and the blessing before going to sleep. One says the Shema and the blessing to affirm trust in God and that He should watch out for you while you sleep.
What a wonderful way to end the day for a child - to be held and kissed by his parents and to go to sleep knowing that God is watching over him.
The old saying goes that "no one ever said on his death bed, 'I wish I spent more time at the office.'" There is no greater pleasure and no better investment in future pleasure than spending time with your children. Kids get the message loud and clear as to what your priorities are if you spend more time at work or in front of the TV than with them. People talk of "Quality Time" vs. "Quantity Time." Here's the truth: "Quality Time" is "Quantity Time"! The more time you spend with your kids, the more your kids know that they are priorities in your life and that you love them! Also, show them that you love them by praising them. For example:
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