Everyone understands their world through the five senses. When we give our children supportive messages through all of their senses, we communicate our unconditional love more fully.

Using eye contact and smiles to send positive messages communicates good feelings. Eye contact actually magnifies the emotions we are expressing. If we look directly at children when we are having positive feelings, they experience our feelings more strongly. Look at your child fondly with a smile in your eyes when they are playing, walking into the room, or whenever you can.

Children not only need to see that we like them but they need to hear it as well. Words carry power. Think of the remarks your parents made, positive or negative, that still ring in your ears. Give your child support and comfort with your positive comments. When you say “You are special to me,” with an affectionate, smiling voice, the message is clear because the words and the tone of voice match each other.

The tastes and smells that your children connect with you and your home also provide messages of comfort. Your perfume or aftershave, the cake you bake, and other aromas and flavors create strong associations for children.

Loving touch is another powerful communicator. Since skin is our largest sense organ, we take in many messages about the world through the sense of touch. Younger children and older children need to be touched by parents in pleasant ways, though the frequency, form, and timing may change over the years and may differ based on a child’s need and responsiveness to touch. Even infants have differing preferences for touch. Gauge your touch by your child’s reaction. If your child snuggles up to you, then you know that your touch is welcome and wanted. Some children want a full body hug; others might prefer just a pat on the back or a gentle touch on the shoulder.

Children receive information through all five senses, and when they get messages through many different senses at the same time, the impact of the communication is stronger. When you tell your child “You are special to me,” while you give him a hug and look at him with a loving smile, you communicate unconditional love and acceptance fully and clearly.