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FOR RELEASE: February 5, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

14 Ways To Show Your Child Love On Valentine’s Day

The Oklahoma State Department of Health joins with the American Academy of Pediatrics in wishing you and your child a Happy Valentine’s Day. Here are 14 ways to show your child love on Valentine’s Day and everyday:

  • Use plenty of positive words with your child.
  • Respond promptly and lovingly to your child's physical and emotional needs and avoid using words that are put-downs.
  • Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Use words like "I'm sorry," "please," and "thank you."
  • When your child is angry, argumentative or in a bad mood, give him or her a hug, cuddle, pat, secret sign or other gesture of affection.
  • Use non-violent forms of discipline. Parents should begin instituting both rewards and restrictions many years before adolescence to prevent trouble during the teenage years. Once youngsters are adolescents, allowing them to break important rules constantly without being disciplined only encourages more rule violations.
  • Make plans to spend half a day alone with your young child or teen doing something that he or she enjoys.
  • Mark family game nights on your calendar so the entire family can be together. Put a different family member's name under each date, and let that person choose the game.
  • Owning a pet can make children, and especially those with chronic illnesses and disabilities, feel better by stimulating physical activity, enhancing their overall attitude, and offering constant companionship.
  • One of the best ways to familiarize your child with good food choices is to encourage him or her to cook with you. Let the child get involved in the entire process of planning, shopping, food preparation and serving the meal.
  • As your child grows up, he or she will spend most of the time developing and refining skills and abilities. Encourage your child by providing equipment and instructions.
  • Your child's health depends significantly on the care and guidance during early childhood. You can help by taking your child to the doctor regularly, keeping him or her safe from accidents, providing a nutritious diet, and encouraging exercise as a way to help protect and strengthen the body.
  • Regardless of whether you actively try to pass on your values and beliefs to your child, he or she will notice how disciplined you are in your work, how deeply you hold your beliefs and whether or not you practice what you preach.
  • One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self-esteem. Provide support and encouragement as your child. Part of the process involves loving the child and spending time with him, listening to him and praising his accomplishments.
  • Don't forget to say, "I love you" to children of all ages!

For more information about parenting tips, call a child guidance counselor at your local county health department.

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