Like so many parents, I always wonder if my kids are actually listening to what I’m saying. My husband and I often tell them how much we love them and how proud we are of what they are doing, but wonder if they are taking it in or if it is in one ear and out the other. As they have grown older and begin to face challenges outside of our home, I want to know more than ever that they are feeling supported by us.
A few months back, I began once or twice a week leaving special messages in stuck in my children’s breakfast. I call them “Muffin Messages” or “Wake-up Words”. My children love them. With my 6 year-old son, the messages double as a way to practice his reading skills and let him know we love him. For my 12 year-old, who is morphing into a teen before my eyes, it is a way to ensure she is getting the message that we are there for her and support all the things she is trying out. By putting the messages on toothpicks and sticking them in the food, they need to look at the note before diving into their food.
Some of the notes are more creatively crafted and others are simple handwritten messages. My words range from telling them I’m proud of something that they’ve done to reminders about things coming up to encouragement for the day or week ahead. I take time to write the notes before I go to bed, or I get up a few minutes early to do them. To me it is a way to build my kids’ self-confidence and start their days off on a good note.
My notes may not be as artistically awesome as the Lunch Bag Art Dad, as he is probably in the running for coolest parent of the year. Though sometimes it is the thought and intent that counts when it comes to showing our children how much we care. My daughter already talks about getting “Muffin Messages” sent to her when she is in college. Things like this let me know that what I’m doing means a lot to her. Sometimes it is the little things and moments that stick with our children the longest and make the biggest impact.