Maybe she’s lost her pet or grandparent. Maybe you two have been at each other’s throats lately. Maybe she’s feeling alone or rejected by her friends. Or maybe, like our little Squirrel, she’s already learned to protect her heart by shutting down and refusing to let love in. Whatever the reason, broken hearts can mend…but it takes a lot more than candy hearts and chocolate to do it.
Here are 6 ways to practice feeling the love in your home and help your daughter mend what hurts:
Celebrate LOVE WORDS that you say to one another
Love words are an offering of connection, sweetness or encouragement between you and your little girl. Whoever says the “love words” gets to put a sticker on the heart chart. Fill up the heart and have a family dance party! Love words sound like, “I loved when you came to give me a hug first thing this morning,” “Thank you for teaching me how to cook, Mommy” or “I love exactly as you are.”
Help your little girl get present and manage anxiety by holding onto a HEART STONE
She can keep it in her pocket or hold onto it during transitions. Ask her if it’s smooth or rough, cool or warm, heavy or light. Tell her that it’s shaped like a heart so she can remember how loved she is. Rubbing the stone will help her let go of worries.
Use a magic wand to put all your love in a HEART PILLOW
Let her know that when you are apart, she can hold onto the pillow to feel your love. It’s in there so she can take it with her anywhere she goes.
Read her the book The Invisible String
Learn how our hearts will forever be connected to those we love through an invisible string. Make art together after that shows all the strings and who they are connected to.
Use GENTLE TOUCH that will soothe her nervous system
Communicate a ton without saying anything. Brush her hair out of her eyes. Rub oil on her feet at night. Kiss her fingertips. Rub her back. Rock her in your lap even if she’s big.
LAUGH A LOT
What is so funny to her that she really lets her guard down? For our daughter, it’s when I surprise her by turning my “stern mom” face into a silly face without warning. Get her laughing. Often.
Okay, now- break out the chocolate, the candy hearts and the love notes! Happy Valentine’s Day!