Internet Explorer Alert

It appears you are using Internet Explorer as your web browser. Please note, Internet Explorer is no longer up-to-date and can cause problems in how this website functions
This site functions best using the latest versions of any of the following browsers: Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari.
You can find the latest versions of these browsers at

For Release:


Media Contact:

Lisa Black

Itasca, IL
--The past year has been tough on everyone, including children. Families have coped with a pandemic that has been isolating, frightening and challenging on many levels. Yet there is an end in sight with a vaccine, and this Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to check in with kids and make sure they know just how much they are loved.

“Providing reassurance to children, letting them talk and acknowledging their frustrations and fears is one way of showing love,” said Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and medical editor of its parenting website, “As parents, we set the tone for conversations. We strengthen our relationships and build resilience by offering our unconditional love and support, especially during difficult times.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following 14 tips on how to help children feel loved, which media outlets are free to use with attribution.

  1. Have Heart-to-Heart Conversations
    Ask your child “How was your day?" and listen to the answer. If they tell you about a challenge they are facing, let them finish the story before helping solve the problem. Many kids are having a tough time being cut off from seeing friends in person as much during the pandemic, while facing new challenges such as virtual learning. If you see signs of anxiety or depression, talk with your pediatrician.
  2. Hold Time Together Dear
    Mark game nights or other family activities on your calendar so that everyone can look forward to enjoying time together. With cold winter weather and COVID-19 restrictions, use this extra time at home to play and connect as a family. Also be sure to carve out one-on-one time with each of your children regularly to do something they enjoy. Turn off cellphones, tablets and other media devices during these special times.
  3. Embrace Health & Safety
    Show how much you care by taking your children to the doctor for well-child care visits. Get them caught up on recommended immunizations to protect them against infectious diseases.  Teach them how to be safe from injuries, provide a healthy and nutritious diet, and encourage good amounts of sleep and exercise to help them grow healthy and strong. A good place to start is by using seat belts or car seats every time you are in a vehicle.
  4. Share the Love of Reading
    Start reading to your child beginning in infancy. Many studies show that reading together strengthens parent-child bonds and promotes positive parenting. Plus, when you read to or with your child, you help them build a foundation for success in school, which is linked to long-term wellness.
  5. Cook & Eat Together
    One of the best ways to teach your children about good food choices and enjoy each other's company is to cook together. Involve them in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to preparing and serving the meal. Family meals are a great opportunity to talk and connect. Put away any electronic devices, including your own phone.
  6. Think Hugs First
    When your child is angry, grouchy or in a bad mood, give a quick hug, cuddle, pat, secret nod or other sign of affection. Then, consider talking with them about the event when they're feeling better.
  7. Let Them Know You're Listening
    Respond promptly and lovingly to your child's physical and emotional needs. Be available to listen when your child wants to talk, even if it's not the best time for you.
  8. Discipline With Love
    Use positive, non-violent discipline. While harsh physical and verbal punishments might work briefly, they can damage long-term physical and mental health. From an early age, explain clear and consistent rules that your children can understand. Give praise when they follow them—not just punishment when they don't. Calmly explain consequences and follow through right away when rules are broken.
  9. Choose Words with Care
    Use plenty of positive and encouraging words when talking with your child. Model consideration and gratitude by saying “please" and “thank you." Skip the sarcasm, mockery and put-downs, even if teasing. Children often don't understand your purpose. Even if they do, these messages can harm self-esteem and create negative ways of talking and connecting with each other.
  10. Forgive Mistakes, Including Your Own
    If you lose your cool and react harshly to your child, apologize and explain how you will handle the situation in the future. Be sure to keep your promise. Also forgive yourself. No one, including the parent, is perfect. Understanding how to forgive is important for your child to accept their own mistakes, as well, and build confidence and resilience.
  11. Foster Friendships
    Help your child develop positive relationships with friends, siblings and members of the community. Teach them about the value of kindness. Encourage your child to be involved in activities that require teamwork, such as sports. Get to know your child's friends and talk about responsible and respectful relationships.
  12. Care for a Pet
    Consider adopting a pet if possible. Having a pet can help make some children, especially those with chronic illnesses and disabilities, feel better by increasing their physical activity, enhancing their overall positive feelings, and offering another way to connect with someone they care about.
  13. Continue to Show Affection & Attention
    Remember, all children want their parent's attention, no matter their age. Make time every day to talk. Young people are more likely to make healthy choices if they stay connected with family members.
  14. Share These 3 Words Without Limit
    Information for parents is available at 14 Ways to Show Your Child Love: Valentine's Day & Every Day -


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Feedback Form