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Jelena Jan~i}-Holcer

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way to show your kids you love them

ilustrated by Du{an Pavli}


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way to kshidow your s m you love the


1=1way to show your kids you love them Instead of an introduction Question: Why is it important for you to show your kids that you love them? Answer: Kids need assurance for what they think and what they believe. Their world is full of colours, pictures and associations. They grow up surrounded by a chaos of impressions and experiences, they are not made the same as adults, they have their ownneeds, their emotions and their dreams. In short: what may be obvious to an adult need not be so for a child, in fact often not nearly as obvious as you might think. Question: What do you achieve when you tell your kids you love them? Answer: You make them feel confidence in their family, hence also selfconfidence.Only when they feel certain of the security and support they enjoy in their own family will children be able to grow up with a free and healthy spirit. The most important message you can pass on to children is that you, their parents, love each other dearly, and then that you also love them dearly. Question: Are excessive declarations of love to you children the best way to spoil them? Answer: Showering them with love, tenderness and attention can only be good for them. It can never be excessive or overdone. Spoiled kids are also kids that are loved, but what makes them spoiled is a shortage of parents' expectations, not a surplus of love (no such thing exists, by the way). When parents behave as if their kids will forever remain their babies, not children who are growing up.and maturing, they pamper and coddle them and give in to their every whim - but those children can never loosen up, they never laugh and they grow up lacking self-confidence and trust in their own family. 3


Question: Why 101 ways? Answer: There are an infinite number of ways. The best are those you think up yourself. Those you see here are just a reminder, a collection of ideas. The fact that we have divided them into age categories - two to five and five to eight - definitely does not mean that what you do when your kids are two should be forgotten when they start school, or that when they turn eight you should cease showing all emotions. Quite the contrary. I suggest that you remember them all, but that as the child grows up you modify and perfect them and constantly keep adding to them. Some of our suggestions obviously require a lot of planning, organisation and patience. But you do not have an infinite number of children and seeing them grow up happy is worth your every effort. You need to find time for your kids. Should your patience run out, consider that what you are doing is an investment in the future. And anyway, showing love is something that requires exercise and practice. As you read this book, it is certain that you, too, will think up many new ways to express your love, just as certain as the fact that by telling and showing your children how much you love them, both they and you will enjoy yourselves immensely.

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1=1 First and Foremost:

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

I LOVE YOU Learn to tell your children that you love them. Begin at once - perfecting this skill takes time. However difficult it might be for you and however much you think the child already feels it or that it goes without say-ing… go on saying it. Telling your children you love them only once in a while is simply not enough. Besides "I love you", use all other phrases showing positive emotions. NOTE: if you want to express negative feelings, this rule does not apply - think carefully.

TREASURE CHEST Designate a box or a drawer to hold your kids' most important objects from birth up to age two. The first rattle, the first com-forter, the baby's number tag from the maternity ward, a balloon from the first birthday party, a newspaper bearing the date of birth… Initially your baby will not be able to understand any of this, but as the value of mementos grows with the passage of time, will soon find pleasure in the realisation that he or she was so precious to you from the very beginning. Yet more proof of this would be if you kept a lock of hair from their first haircut, and a list of the first 100 words they learned to speak (daa - daddy, meek - milk…). If you don't start collecting these pre-cious reminders at once, it will soon be too late. Then make another box for the next years, and another…

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PLANT A TREE Plant a tree when your child is born. If you don't have a gar-den, someone else in the family does. When you and the child go and check up on the progess of the tree, it will make you both fell proud. Well, if you don't plant the tree when the kid is born, when will you do it?

Possible ways to show your children you love them when they're aged between two and five:

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BARBIE'S TAILOR Sew clothes for your daughter's favourite doll and set aside screws, bolts and nails for your son's first tool-box. Don't worry, the kids do know that you are doing this because you love them, not their toys. 6


1=1 SPECIAL GREETINGS Think up a special greeting only you and your child are in on (maybe also the rest of the family). It might consist of a special hand move, a wink, a little jump… but should be a combination of several things which you will repeat quite often. This will always represent a special bond between you and your child.

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

SPECIAL PETTING Just as your kisses will be special (rubbing noses, tickling your kids' cheeks with your eyelashes, etc.), you should think up special caresses. Use your finger to write letters and shapes on their bellies, tickle them with a feather, rub oil on them after their baths… You might invent special embraces: one-armed, with both arms, one leg up, one hand behind the back, head turned sideways…

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

PUNCHING CUSHION Express your love by showing your children that you accept them with all their moods, whims and habits. Place at a prominent location in your home a cushion which all family members can use to vent their anger, yell at, punch and throw. The children will know that they are loved even when they are angry, but that expression of anger might be the cause of a conflict between them and yourself. For the same reason you too need the cushion.

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MESSAGE ON A BANNER Make a flag from a piece of cloth and attach it to a pole. Write your kid's date of birth or other important date on it, and put it up on your balcony or in the garden a day or two before the event. You might also write his or her name or simply draw on it balloons, bow ties or something else that is appropri-ate to the occasion. The children will enjoy the knowledge that you want to share with everyone what is important for them, hence also for you.


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way to kshidow your s m you love the

9 PASS THE LOVE MESSAGE When you play Pass the Message, whisper to the children as many words of love and affection as you can. The object isn't that they should reproduce the the words, but try to remember them all.

10 COME AND COMFORT ME Act as if you are glued to your chair, or as if you are on a ship in a storm or a plane passing through heavy turbulence. Use every imaginary roll of the ship or bump hit by the plane to jump to each other's aid, to embrace and comfort each other.

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

11 HAND IN HAND Draw your hand (you know: palm down on a piece of paper and trace the outline with a pencil), a then draw your kid's hand inside yours in the same way, and then colour them with different colours. You might record your every holiday like this, or make a postcard to send to Granny.

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FIRST ART EXHIBITION Organise an exhibition of your kids' artworks. Paintings and drawings, poems and plasticine or dough figurines can stand in any corner and await visits by family and friends. You should also display all presents you get from your kids and tell everyone how much you appreciate them, especially in the children's presence.


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COWBOYS AND INDIANS Show your children you love them by not always being a stuffy and boring grown-up. If you decide to show them the difference between cowboys and Indians, which might also be useful later for showing right and wrong, don't miss the unique opportunity to slap paint on yourself and dance a rain dance around a table covered with a blanket playing the part of a tepee.

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POTATO STAMP Make personal stamps for your children. Carve shapes chosen by the kids from a potato, dip in paint anduse to stamp everything you would not wish to have to wash later. It will help the kids feel special, unique and different, and form a positive image of themselves. You can alsomake pictures from potato, carrot and cucumber slices. Perhaps a small Smiley with raisins for eyes might also help help you kids eat better?

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

15 GOOD MORNING Wake your children every morning with a kiss. Maybe they upset you the preceding night, maybe you're in a hurry or you think they're still asleep and have no idea you're waking them, especially not how you're doing it‌ but don't think about that. Just do it. Make a habit of it: wake them up with a kiss. If you're already awake, apply lipstick to yourself and your child and smooch away, leaving prints on each other's cheeks. And then join forces and attack the other parent in the same manner.

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WEARING YOUR CLOTHES Show your kids that you love them by sharing with them what you would never think they would like you to share with them. If they want, let them wear your clothes around the house or for special parties, even the clothes they are grossly oversized. Sometimes children do this to establish a special link with parents, to identify with them as their principal idols, to be much more important and bigger in their own eyes, and much less lonely. 12


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way to kshidow your s m you love the

17 THE HAPPY UMBRELLA On the inside of your child's umbrella, where it never rains, draw a sun, hearts and flowers, write your names, a message in code only you can understand ‌ decorate, cheer and brighten up your child's rainy afternoons.

18 PARTY GAMES Make up new rules for party games, which do not need to apply for anybody but your own family. The reward for the winner could be ten kisses or the fulfilment of a wish, their favourite sweets or seeing a movie. When playing, use superlatives when addressing them: Where has Super Mike concealed himself? Who will find the most beautiful Susan?

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

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THE FAMILY BAND Make up new instruments using one another. You might make various sounds by tapping one another in rhythm, whistling and humming, saying ''beep'' when you touch the end of each other's noses… You could also pretend to be a musical instrument (especially enjoyed by daddies) by lying flat on your belly and letting your child walk on your back, which is a special form of massage. Touching while making various noises is an excellent substitute but also a stimulus for verbal communication, as the vocabularies of little children are usually not too developed. All such contacts are usually tender and playful, helping the child to easily understand the non-verbalmessage of love.

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NOISE IS FUN! Sing to your children (even if you're completely tone-deaf). While we're on the subject of noise, collect some old pots and pans and bang away at them together with your kids. Just ten minutes of this will work miracles in raising spirits, and will also not be too much for the neighbours. Soon even thinking about this “music” will bring smiles to your faces. 14


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way to kshidow your s m you love the

21 FLOWERS FOR THE CHILDREN Once in a while, bring your daughter a bouquet of flowers as if she were agrown-up. But don't make a great show of it. Make sure that it's properly wrapped, that you give it without any special reason and that you behave as if she's getting something that goes without saying and that she's already used to getting from you.

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A ROLL-UP PAINTING I personally know a father who painted on the inside of his family's wooden blinds a huge heart surrounded by flowers. How is that practical? Well, it's on the inside and cannot be washed away by rain and the blinds are usually raised or the curtains drawn so the picture will not attract any derision, but it is quite enough for the shutters to be lowered every evening to bring a smile on little Kathy's face and remind her of her father's love.

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

23 HOW MUCH? THIS MUCH! Teach your child a simple exercise that can become a life-long habit. When you ask him "How much does Mother love her Robert?", he should raise his hands high in the air. Later on in life, both of you can use this well-known gesture to remind each other of your childhood secret and the extent of your love for each other.

24 DESIGNER PERFUME Together with your child, create a special scent of your own. Mix all the ingredients she picks in a bottle and name the per-fume after her. It probably won't smell too good if you put in oregano, food dye or nailpolish remover, but you'll both have fun and your child will be very proud to have her own designer perfume. 16


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My Old Toys

way to kshidow your s m you love the

OLD TOYS FOR NEW KIDS If you have any room, keep all your children's old toys. At least their first and their favourite toys. You'll always have fun inspecting them together or giv-ing them to a younger child.

NOTE: Never throw anything away or give to someone else without first consulting your child.

26 PICK A PHOTO Together with your child, pick a photo of him or her or the entire family to take to work with you and put on your desk. This is one more way to show your children how you value them and think of them even when you're away from them..

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way to kshidow your s m you love the

27 THE HERO OF THE STORY When telling bed-time stories, you can make them up with your child as the hero.The hero will of course always be positive -good, handsome, clever and big, and adored by all other characters in the story.

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BADGES, MEDALS AND CROWNS Make badges and medals of cardboard which you or your children can award to members of the family once a week.

For example, the best dishwasher in the first week of May, the best swimmer during the summer holidays‌ Maybe you could make a cardboard crown, whose holder will once a month enjoy having his or her every wish fulfilled by the rest of the family. 18


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THE RIGHT OF PRIMACY Parents are the people responsible for teaching their chil-dren to swim, ride a bicycle, throw snow-balls and many other things. Don't miss the pleasure of being the first to make a sand-castle with your child, to fly kites or make a snow-man in winter. Your children won't forget it.

30 FATHER IS SHAVING Bring your son into the men's world by allowing him to attend your morning shaves and sharing little male secrets and men's stories. Dear Mums, even if their secrets involve football or girls, don't ever be jealous of the male bonding. The more such love-filled relationships there are, the happier your child will be. Relax and enjoy yourself.

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101 way to show your kids you love them