100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child

by Alissa Marquess on September 23, 2013

100 ways to be kind header

When I wrote this list of 100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child I was in one of those exhausting phases of parenting where days were going by in a blur and I often went to bed feeling defeated and guilty.  Thus, these ways to be kind are not complex or fancy; they are basically a reminder to myself of the simple ways I can connect with and be there for my children.  Many of them will remind you of ways you already are showing your love to your kids.
Thank you for spreading kindness for our children.

100 Ways to Be Kind To Your Child

100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child


Tell your child:

1. I love you.
2. I love you no matter what.
3. I love you even when you are angry at me.
4. I love you even when I am angry with you.
5. I love you when you are far way.  My love for you can reach you wherever you are.
6. If I could pick any 4 year old (5 year old, 6 year old…) in the whole wide world, I’d pick you.
7. I love you to the moon and then around the stars and back again.
8. Thank you.
9. I enjoyed playing with you today.
10. My favorite part of the day was when I was with you and we _______.

11. The story of their birth or adoption.
12. About how you cuddled them when they were a baby.
13. The story of their name.
14. A story about yourself when you were their age.
15. The story of how their grandparents met.
16. What your favorite color is.
17. That sometimes you struggle too.
18. That when you’re holding hands and you give three squeezes, it’s a secret code that means, “I love you”.
19. What the plan is.
20. What you’re doing right now.

21. Charades
22. Hop Scotch
23. Board Games
24. Hide & Seek
25. Simon Says
26. Twenty Questions
27. I Spy on long car rides
28. Catch

29. To catch their kiss and put it on your cheek.
30. That their tickle tank is empty and you have to fill it.
31. That their high five is so powerful it nearly knocks you over.
32. That you are super ticklish.
33. That you are explorers in the amazing world of your own backyard.
34. That it’s party day!

35. To get enough sleep.
36. To drink enough water.
37. To eat decent food.
38. Dressing in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
39. Calling a friend the next time you feel like you are about to lose it with the kids.
40. Giving a gentle touch to show approval.
41. Dancing in the kitchen.
42. To get your kids to bop to the music with you in the car.
43. Showing your kids that you can do a somersault or handstand or a cartwheel.
44. Keeping the sigh to yourself.
45. Using a kind voice, even if you have to fake it.

46. A book of silly poems.
47. A story and then act out the plot.
48. Your favorite childhood book to them.
49. When the afternoon is starting to go astray.
50. Outside under a tree.
51. In the library kids corner.
52. The comic book they love that you’re not so hot on.
53. About age appropriate behavior so you can keep your expectations realistic.

54. To your child in the car.
55. To silly songs together.
56. For that question that means your child really needs your input.
57. One second longer than you think you have patience for.
58. For the feelings behind your child’s words.

59. Why do you think that happens?
60. What do you think would happen if______?
61. How shall we find out?
62. What are you thinking about?
63. What was your favorite part of the day?
64. What do you think this tastes like?

65. Your child how to do something instead of banning them from it.
66. How to whistle with a blade of grass.
67. How to shuffle cards- make a bridge if you can!
68. How to cut food.
69. How to fold laundry.
70. How to look up information when you don’t know the answer.
71. Affection to your spouse.
72. That taking care of yourself is important.

Take Time:
73. To watch construction sites.
74. To look at the birds.
75. To let your child pour ingredients into the bowl.
76. To walk places together.
77. To dig in the dirt together.
78. To do a task at your child’s pace.
79. To just sit with your child while they play.

80. That your child is capable.
81. That you are the right parent for your child.
82. That you are enough.
83. That you can do what is right for your family.

84. Clean your child’s room as a surprise.
85. Put chocolate chips in the pancakes.
86. Put a love note in their lunch.
87. Make their snack into a smiley face shape.
88. Make sound effects while you help them do something.
89. Sit on the floor with them to play.

Let Go:
90. Of the guilt.
91. Of how you thought it was going to be.
92. Of your need to be right.

93. A kind look.
94. A smile when your child walks into the room.
95. A kind touch back when your child touches you.
96. The chance to connect before you correct so that your child can actually hear your words.
97. Your child a chance to work out their frustrations before helping them.
98. A bath when the day feels long.
99. A hug.
100. You get to choose the next one!  What is your favorite way to be kind to your child?

In case you’d like a visual reminder of this list…

There is now a beautiful print available for 100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child!

Get yours in my Etsy shop here!


100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child was written in February 2012 as a participating blogger for Toddler Approved’s 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge.  I spent a month knowing I would be writing about how to be kind to your children.  It’s not that I don’t want to be kind to my kids all the time, but honestly, it made a real difference to be thinking about this list.

When I consciously decided to find ways to be kind to my kids I found I was catching myself more often before I sighed impatiently.  I started finding more times to make kind eye contact, or smile.  These are just little shifts, but they add up.

If you are new here you might like to sign up for my Joyful Parenting newsletter to get more simple ideas about how to nurture connection with kids.  Thanks for stopping by!



This is such a wonderful poster - so spot on and in tune with what really matters to kids.  Thank you!


Love this, sharing on Great Parenting Show facebook page. We all need a reminder sometimes


Could some clever person turn this into a simple app? I'm thinking a checklist for each category? I know it's kind of lame, but it's much more practical than carrying around a poster or a piece of paper to remind one of the little things we may forget. 

Nyree Bell
Nyree Bell

How do we purchase posters? Please looks fab. Also a great visual reminder

Vartika Dalal
Vartika Dalal

Would be interested in these posters when you release them.


I have this saved on my home screen and read it every single day. We have tickle tank fill ups daily thanks to you. I find a new idea to try daily because of you. I just had to take a second to say thank you for this! 💙💙💙


I love that this list was made. There are so many excellent ways and tips to take care of children. My favorite list item is teaching a child how to whistle with a blade of grass. It' is so much fun!  http://www.akarrasel.com/

Val Curtis
Val Curtis

One of my all time favorite posts.


I would love to include this blog post in our newsletter to families at our church.  Would it be possible to get your permission to reprint?  If so, how would you like for us to acknowledge your website, blog post, authorship, etc?  Thank you


This is wonderful but I disagree with the implied approval of tickling. Tickling can actually be very sadistic. Just because the person is laughing doesn't mean he or she is enjoying it.


That would be the appropriate time to teach that the words "no" & "stop" are to be honored.

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess moderator

@SherrySiedenburg Yes, exactly. In the short sentence written above I don't go into the intricacy of touch relationship, but I strongly agree that it is critical to teach that stop means stop no matter who is saying it, and to show that parents will stop. Our kids ask for their tickle tank to be filled when they're in the right mood, but it isn't assumed that it's just ok to grab them.


I'd say we are all guilty of not putting our phones down and looking our Cullen in the eye every. Single. Time. They really need or attention.

The Guilty Mommy
The Guilty Mommy

I love this article. It demonstrates how small things that only take a moment can impact a child so much and teach them kindness. I am enjoying reading all the comments too. some great and creative ideas. I started a blog called the guilty mommy (theguiltymommy.com) because I, like many other moms often feel overwhelmed by my mommy guilt like I am always doing something wrong.  These simple things may just ease my guilt a little. Thank you for such a great list.


What a wonderful list.  We were so excited that we had done almost everything on the list when our kids were little.  We shared it with our new-found friends with an 18 month old little girl, and they loved it as well.  Thanks so much!


Kids will be Kids but grown ups can teach them how too be good


Does your wonderful poster come in Spanish?


We make sniffling code noises to get a kiss!


My kids and I have a "code" for when we can't talk.....we blink three times to say "I love you"


When my kids were little, before they went to bed I would always "put some love in their heart." I explained that having lots of love in their heart would give them a good sleep and great dreams.  Love was a magic that would keep them happy and warm and cozy.  I would hug them and squeeze them and kiss them and ask, "is that enough?"  Sometimes they would say, "yep, that's enough" or "more!" and I'd kiss and squeeze and hug them a few more times.  I remember one night when my son Scotty was about four, he woke up crying and when I went into his room, he sobbed, "I need some more love in my heart."  So I wrapped him in my arms and hugged him and kissed him all over his face and told him I was filling him up with love. It settled him right down and he went back to sleep.

Heather Tudhope
Heather Tudhope

We do kissing hands (book by the same name) everyday before school and bed since reading the night before pre-school started.

Lesley Bauer
Lesley Bauer

I love kisses for the pocket! What a sweet idea :)


Love this post!  A favorite way to show love/kindness at our house is a special hug that we call a '[child's name] sandwich'.  This is where Mom and Dad hug with the child 'sandwiched' between them, usually causing another child to come running in asking for the same treatment.   Always ending in much laughter... a spirit-lifter for all!


This is so touches my heart. I appreciated the opening paragraph as well. It's impossible to be supermom/superdad....but there are little things we can do to love our kids!  With my kids, we all try to be silly sometimes. Bubble in your milk Mondays....Join them on the swings....Have fun with your children. They want you happy too :) Plus it is so fun to be childlike too. 


Take time to take them to their favorite places a park a movie and actually engage with them.

Bonbon Break
Bonbon Break

This is the first post we shared from you and still one of my all time favorites! A true gem. :)


Muy lindo! Tan simples, pero parece que a diario algunos items se me olvidan.

Jennifer Tollefson
Jennifer Tollefson

We do this every night at the dinner table and have been for 5 yrs (our oldest is 6). It starts conversations and it helps find everyday things that we are thankful for.


My fave way to show my kids kindness is a sincere apology to them when I mess up as a parent. I think it's a huge kindness to ask their forgiveness and give them the opportunity to forgive. They are learning that it's ok to mess up, and it's ok to own up to it!

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

Thank you for this Emily - so important, and yes, you both learn from it I find.

JomarRachelle Dioso
JomarRachelle Dioso

Our #100 is playing "tickle time" Kids romp on the bed under covers and we tickle/poke any which way :) and they love it!! They look forward to this especially on high strung days.. our way of 'release' that is usually followed by hugs & a nap. Now just thinking about it brings out a smile .


I love this! Reading it almost brought tears to my eyes.nits also kind of comforting that I'm not the only one who needs reminding. :)


I love this! I would definitely add: Try to look after yourself and manage your own stress. It is incredibly important! The effects that a parents stress has on their children's health and mental state in the future can be profound. I HIGHLY recommend every parent research Dr Gabor Mate and his study on the consequences of stressed parents. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGmADfU5HGU It really blew my mind and made me realise why my partner is suffering from Crohn's disease. He had a verbally abusive father with a very short temper. As a consequence of his childhood experiences, my partner cannot manage stress and his emotions in a healthy way, which has now manifested into an auto-immune disease. There is a strong link between chronic illnesses, such as cancer and asthma, and your childhood experiences with stressed parents and a lack of attachment with them. The way you care for and treat your child now, can have a significant effect on their chances of becoming ill in the future. Please research this for your children's sake!!


@Laura "Relax! Or your kids will die of cancer!"  Good one Laura - that ought to do the trick nicely.


Do you know of a list of 100 ways to love a teen? I need to search for one when I have more time. I ran across your list and read thru it to see if any could still apply and so many wonderful memories popped into my head as I realized I could have wrote this list and more. I have a wonderful relationship with my 17 year old son, we have lived this list and we have so many wonderful memories because of it. I love that you put it out as a reminder that this list is more important than anything happening in your life because it fills the world with so much more love. It is those little moments that can add so much joy to your relationship. Having a son that is almost an adult I could use more suggestions from parents who have loved those adult years in a similar way to the young years. One thing I still do that I have done since he is young is spontaneously take a "mystery trip" that brings some unexpected joy. It can be something as simple as a bookstore, a favorite restaurant, a drive-in movie, an ice cream, a picnic on my bed with movies even. It is the one thing I learned from my father who died when I was 11 and left my mom to raise 5 of us alone. Those little mystery trips, even the ones where I was little and it was a ride to see the leaves changing, mean even more now than they did at the time. I gave my baby sister those mystery trips as soon as I could drive because I felt it was important she didnt miss out, and I did the same as I raised my son alone from the time he was 2 until now. What he has learned from living this way is in HIS words, "Mom ... some people have everything they want and arent even happy, but we dont even have tv and we laugh all the time." I've told him to remember this when he is a parent and to not miss out on the joy we have had with his own kids.

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

Kristy - I have been wanting to write a list for the teen years. As my oldest is only 9 I will need some help on this endeavor, so it's been on the back burner. I will be sure to email you should it come to fruition.


Thank you so much, #44 really got me as I think I sigh a LOT and it's something I am going to be more conscious about. So glad there's a poster! One thing my 6 yr old son and I do sometimes (not often enough) is what we call talking in the dark. I lie in his room with him before he goes to sleep, with the lights off of course, and we just talk about whatever comes up- sometimes silly sometimes not, wherever the conversation takes us. It doesn't always last terribly long (depending on what time it is when we start!) but there's something about not being able to see each other and not having any distractions that lends itself to opening up. He loves it and I think it's a way to connect on a little bit of a deeper level. Thank you so much for your article!


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