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Teaching Your Kids How to Show Love to Others

How many times a day do you find yourself telling your kids to “be nice”? We can help them “be nice” to others by teaching them concrete ways to show love. This family activity will help your kids see and understand a simple but powerful way to show love to the most important people in their lives.

Anxiety workbook for kids

If you are familiar with our STALL conflict resolution plan for kids, you may remember that the last of the steps in the process is to “show love.” The thinking behind this is that regardless of the outcome of any conflict, we need to teach our children that love trumps all. Biblically speaking, there is nothing greater than love:

Matthew 22:36-40“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 Corinthians 13:8 & 13Love never ends . . . So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

So how can we communicate this supremacy of love to our kids? We need to teach them about the meaning of love in a family context. Here’s one approach.

Hot Buttons

Everyone has sore spots or areas in their life that are triggering – we often refer to it as “having our buttons pushed.” These buttons are different for different people. Here are some examples:

  • being late
  • having to wait
  • being ignored
  • disorder
  • being the center of attention
  • being criticized

So what are your hot buttons? Chances are your family knows them well.

The Message

So how do we show love to others? We can start by practicing the following:


The Activity

You can cut out cardboard “buttons” for each family member and have each person write down his or her hot buttons on them. Or, if you want, you can pass around the buttons and have family members identify other member’s hot buttons. You may find that those triggers you thought you hid so well are clear as day to your family members.

How can we show love?

  • If little brother doesn’t like people in his space, respect it.
  • If big sister doesn’t like people barging into her room without knocking, knock first.
  • If Dad doesn’t like being interrupted when he is working on a project, wait.
  • If big sister hates her curly hair, don’t mention it, no matter how mad you get.
  • If clothes on the floor is a hot button for Mom, pick them up.

Try wearing your buttons for an hour or longer and practice not pushing them. Sometimes our love can shine brightest when we choose not to push a button – even if it would be easier (or more satisfying) to do so.

We can show love in a myriad of ways. Knowing, but not pushing, someone’s buttons is a great place to start.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment from a qualified mental health professional. Cornerstones for Parents is not liable for any advice, tips, techniques, and recommendations the reader chooses to implement.

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About Laura

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura is a licensed clinical social worker who offers individual therapy to women and moms in Connecticut. She is the author of More Than a Conqueror, A Christian Kid's Guide to Winning the War on Worry. Cornerstones for Parents is the place she combines some of the things she is most passionate about: God's word, parenting and mental health.

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