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100+ ways to show kids you care

Through daily interactions with kids and observing them interact with others, the staff at the Children’s Museum continually see ways in which adults can show kids that they care. We are confident these interactions help build the foundation for kids to succeed.

Every month, our staff would like to share some of the ways they believe we can show kids that we care about them.


New this month!

  1. Put sunscreen on them before they go out in the sun.
  2. Make their favourite meal for supper.
  3. Put up a tent and camp with them in the backyard.
  4. Help structure their summer days.
  5. Let them stay up late once in a while.

Complete List

  1. Make sure they know that they can be whatever they want when they grow up (even if it’s a pickle).
  2. Let them dress wacky.
  3. Tell them they look great dressed up wacky.
  4. Listen to their stories, even the long-winded ones.
  5. Ask for their help, even when you don’t need it.
  6. Play “boy” games with girls.
  7. Play “girl” games with boys.
  8. Keep your promises or ask for forgiveness when you can’t.
  9. Help them solve their own problems without solving it for them.
  10. Don’t let the TV or the video game console be your babysitter.
  11. Laugh at their jokes.
  12. Read stories together.
  13. Make up stories together.
  14. Respect their ideas.
  15. Let them use bakeware as musical instruments.
  16. Wear the jewelry they make for you.
  17. Display the art they create for you.
  18. Pretend to eat the food they cook for you.
  19. Talk to their imaginary friends and their real ones.
  20. Support their imaginations.
  21. Share information with them.
  22. Share your insights with them.
  23. Talk about their goals and dreams.
  24. If you witness child abuse, report it. For a list of resources that can help, click here.
  25. Skip the baby talk.
  26. Acknowledge their excitement.
  27. Feed them healthy snacks.
  28. Play the games they want to play.
  29. Let them win when you’re playing a tough game.
  30. Believe in them, and tell them you do.
  31. Applaud their bravery.
  32. Follow behind them, but not too closely.
  33. Don’t hurry them.
  34. Let them fight their own battles.
  35. Let them celebrate their successes.
  36. Get messy with them.
  37. Have them help you fix things.
  38. Have them test things that you just fixed or things that need checking.
  39. Take time to explain scary things to them.
  40. Share new concepts with them.
  41. Make crafts together.
  42. Clean up together.
  43. Invent games together.
  44. Have sit-down dinners.
  45. Dance with them.
  46. Be loud!
  47. Be silly!
  48. Be crazy!
  49. Be experimental!
  50. Be present.
  51. Explain friendship to them. Make it important.
  52. Be a good friend to them.
  53. Learn the names of their friends.
  54. Teach them to make friends everywhere they go.
  55. Keep up to date with kids trends.
  56. Be honest with them.
  57. Treat them with kindness.
  58. Let them try things out on their own.
  59. Hug them.* (*if they’re your kids!)
  60. Smooch them.* (*if they’re your kids!)
  61. Take them seriously.
  62. Support their beliefs (for example: Santa Claus).
  63. Leave them special notes.
  64. Make a big deal out of small feats.
  65. When they tell you something new they have learned, be really impressed.
  66. Encourage them to get creative with costumes.
  67. Share what happened during both your days.
  68. Surprise them!
  69. Lift them up when they point at something.
  70. Play on the ground with them.
  71. Learn the names of their favourite fictional characters.
  72. Acknowledge their needs.
  73. Encourage them as they create impossible things.
  74. Teach them how to do things on their own.
  75. Be a good example.
  76. Don’t be afraid to be as silly as they are – climb stuff, walk funny like they would.
  77. Play in their forts with them.
  78. Truly listen to them.
  79. Encourage their creativity.
  80. Plan goofy outings and adventures with them.
  81. Embarrass yourself for their sake.
  82. Take the fall for them.
  83. Teach them that making a mistake is okay.
  84. Know when to be The Adult.
  85. Know when NOT to be The Adult.
  86. Share big responsibilities with them (i.e., walking the dog together, making dinner together).
  87. Let them establish some family rules.
  88. Trust them.
  89. Have them help you with important and unimportant things.
  90. Have them make decisions about important things (i.e., decorating, family outings).
  91. Give them the freedom to test their limits.
  92. Encourage physical activity.
  93. Encourage quiet time.
  94. Praise them and celebrate their efforts, even when the result isn’t up to your adult standards.
  95. Put something valuable in their care.
  96. Encourage them to read – ask and talk to them about the stories they’re reading.
  97. Plant and tend a garden with them.
  98. Take them out for lunch.
  99. Cook with them.
  100. Listen to their favourite music with them.
  101. When you fail, or something doesn’t go your way, share your feelings with them.
  102. Teach them secret handshakes.
  103. Let them get the haircut they want (even if it’s silly).
  104. Teach them card games.
  105. Help them make the Halloween costume of their dreams.
  106. Be consistent.
  107. Tell them what you like about them.
  108. Prepare for their future financially.
  109. Ask for their opinion.
  110. Admit when you don’t know something and then research it together.
  111. Keep reading stories to them, even when they know how to read on their own.
  112. Be honest about tough questions.
  113. Help them see the humour in situations – life is funny!
  114. Help them embrace how different we all are.
  115. Be honest and apologize when you are wrong.
  116. Say please and thank you to them.
  117. Involve them with you in your community.
  118. Learn from them.
  119. Believe them.
  120. Play ‘what if…?’
  121. Play in the rain with them. Jump in puddles!
  122. Ask them what they would do instead of doing it for them and then let them try it!
  123. Share your successes and failures with them.
  124. Hold hands.
  125. Laugh together.
  126. Say yes often.
  127. Stay with them when they’re frightened.
  128. Encourage them as they create ridiculous things.
  129. Remember that they’re learning all the time.
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