Valentine’s day is a great time for adding a little more affection to your life. If you’re a mom with kids in school you know that life gets busy and without even realizing it you can go through a lot of the day getting things done and suddenly realize that you’ve not even had a chance to hug any of the people you love. If you’re a stay at home mom to young kids you may be thinking that I’m crazy to be talking about affection…your young children give you non-stop affection!
Every family has different ways of showing affection, it’s a way to show our tenderness for one another. It’s also one of the things that bond us to each other and help families to feel close to one another.
Research has shown that strong and healthy families are comfortable showing and giving affection to one another.
For me, I have started to schedule affection into my daily routines so that I don’t end up going through out a day and come to the end of it and realize I’ve only been doing the chores of the day and missed the emotion…the reason why I do all of these mundane activities. It’s because of love. “What? Really? You have to schedule to hug your family?” you say. Yes! I get lots of hugs from my little 8 year old daughter…my 15 year old son? Considerably less hugs. When he was young the hugs were instigated by him. As he’s grown he is less apt to think of hugging.
Oftentimes, I become too task oriented. What can I mark off of my ‘to do’ list today? How much have I marked off my ‘to do’ list? Is it enough to feel like it’s been a successful day?
I have an alert on my phone that says: HUG.
Yes, it’s true.
I have to be told.
It’s become a joke now.
The alert goes off : HUG [someone].
My kids will sneakily turn it off and say something like, “You don’t want to do that alert, Mom.” And that little hint will let me know that it was my hug alert.
And so, now, it’s a game.
They take off running and I chase them down and give them a hug [even my teenager]. What started off as a reminder for someone who gets too caught up in getting things done has become a family game and the kids like to tell people that I have to have a reminder on my phone to hug the people I love.
And I say: you gotta do what you’ve got to do.
It’s working for us in kind of a silly way.
Fit affection into your daily routine in ways that feel natural for you or that may not seem natural but that you know will improve your family life.
If you aren’t off of your computer when your kids walk in the door decide that you’ll close it 5 minutes early and be at the door with hugs when they arrive.
When your spouse walks in the door from work start winking at them from across the room to let them know that you’re glad they’re home.
There are so many fun ways to fit affection into your life. So often, with teenagers, we start to think they don’t want affection or that you’re going to embarras them if you hug them. Start at home to show more afftection, through hugs, a shoulder squeeze, a touch on the arm, more compliments, smiles, a wink now and then.
Choose one or two things from the list below to add to your familyness affection-ness.
Three ways to show affection:
listening without your arms crossed
using open body language (leaning forward when someone is talking)
happy gestures (looking like you’re glad to see someone when they get home)
eye contact while they’re talking to you
putting aside whatever you’re doing to give your full attention
sitting close to them while they talk
rubbing an arm
head on shoulder
soft touch on their face
playing with their hair (my personal favorite)
a neck/shoulder/hand massage
arm around their shoulders
saying ‘I love you’
courtesy and gratitude [saying 'please' and 'thank you']
whispering why you love them in their ear
Life is always throwing us curve balls and adding things to our already busy schedules. Affection is such an easy and happy thing to create good habits for in our homes. Looking for ways to add a bit of affection makes us all happier.
*What are your favorite ways and tips for showing affection? Do you need reminders or are you a natural hugger? (is that a word?)
She teaches other people to see and photograph the real and beautiful stories in their own lives in The Familyness Photo Workshop.