By Scott Colby

Hopelessness is a feeling characterized by lack of hope, optimism and passion. Like adults, many kids have days where they feel sad, lonely, irritated or depressed. If it’s persistent, it may be childhood depression. However, if they’re just suffering from the occasional “blues” that occur as their brains and social lives develop, there are things you can do to give them more hope and make them feel both valued and loved.

Here are five ways you can make your kids feel valued and loved instead of hopeless:

Spend uninterrupted time with them each day

Often, the time you spend with your child is not quality time, despite being well-intended. You might take them to the playground, only to sit and scroll on social media, instead of playing with them. Or you get interrupted by a work call. Commit to spending uninterrupted quality time with your child to make them feel that they are a priority. It doesn’t have to be a large amount of time – 15 minutes will have great benefits. Let them choose what they want to do and put your phone in another room, so you aren’t tempted to check it.

Be affectionate with them

Showing affection to your kid will make them feel loved. Whether it’s a kiss on the cheek or a hug, affection helps them feel less lonely and jazz up their mood. If your family isn’t the hugging or kissing type, try coming up with your own unique handshake.

Express gratitude

Tell your kids what you appreciate about them. Don’t just thank them for cleaning their room or setting the table for dinner. Start telling them about the qualities they possess that you appreciate. They might make you laugh all the time – tell them. Perhaps they’re helpful, compassionate or selfless. Let them know! The more specifically you can share your gratitude, the more meaningful it will be for them. When you’re considering all the reasons you are grateful for your children, tell them how hey impact your life. You can even get creative and express your gratitude in a card.

Take an interest in their hobbies

Loving what your kids love is a great way to show you kids how much they mean to you. So, help them build that Lego crane or go out and play catch with them. When you do this, your kids will feel supported and they’ll feel important. Who else would you rather make feel like a VIP than your kids?

Ask loving questions

It can be tempting to simply ask your kids how their day at school was. Don’t. You’re sure to get a one-word response, something to the effect of “fine.” Instead, ask open ended questions that can lead to a caring conversation. Ask questions that show that you’re interested in what’s going on in their lives. And make the questions open ended to stimulate conversation. Ask questions about basketball practice, their favorite TV show or how their best friend is doing. These types of specific questions about their interests show that you care.

There you have it – five easy ways to show your kids that you value and love them. It’s not easy growing up these days. But, regularly practicing these five things will help your kids feel important, good about themselves, and they’ll be happier.

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