Birth to 6 months old
"Use both touch and voice," says Julie Watson Smith, family and business lifestyle coach "For example, say, 'I love your toes because they have the cutest little toenails on top,' and while doing that you touch your child's toes. Continue with knees, hands, elbows, chin, nose, eyes ... you get the idea." Other ideas: play peekaboo, sing lullabies, give soft massages, play stick-out-your tongue games.
6 to 12 months old
"Play 'I'm gonna get you,' and rollick on the floor with your baby when you 'catch' her," says Jennifer Brown, a child and disability mental health specialist. Also, she adds: "Make up songs with your child's name in them. Then stick these songs around the house to make your child feel special for years to come."
12 to 18 months old
"Give horse rides on your lap with surprise drops and catches ("ride a little pony, down to town, ride a little pony, might ... fall ... down!")," says Brown. "The little silly songs and games teach children about predictability, and about a beginning, middle, and end. It allows them to anticipate."
18 to 24 months old
"Create your own bedtime stories with your child as the hero to spotlight his special traits," says Smith. "Really, who can resist 'Super Peanut-Butter-and Pickles Boy,' right?"
"This is a key time to find every chance to say yes," adds Brown. "There are so many 'no's' in toddlerhood. Is he scooping up his food like an animal at the dinner table? Make silly plans to have a 'doggy party' later in the day, and eat cereal (Jell-O or yogurt if you are adventurous!) from a bowl outside, and giggle at the wonderful mess doggies make (while outside, and not at the table, of course!)."
2 to 4 years old
"Turn tasks into fun," says Dr. Linda Miles. "Arrange a germ attack and run around with a sponge. Knock on the kitchen door and warn the germs that you and your child are coming to get them. Give your child a cloth and let them go after the germs."
"Create a home art gallery to spotlight your child's personal masterpieces," says Smith. "Then invite family and friends over for a special evening with the artist."
4 to 6 years old
"Start an appreciation board," says Sarah Newton, a parenting coach in the U.K. "Each day, put a word or a sticker on the board and tell your kids what you appreciate about them. Then have them do the same for other people in the family."
"Kindergartners love to step into the role of a bigger kid," adds Smith. "Let them express themselves as big kids by allowing them to set some rules or establish new traditions, such as a little later bedtime, mommy or daddy and child date night, or even ice cream for breakfast Sundays."
6 to 8 years old
"Start a fun bowl in the house," adds parenting coach Newton, explaining that you can fill the bowl with fun, spontaneous ideas for your kids when they say "I'm bored." You might make crepes for dinner or have a jump rope in the backyard. "Above all, spend time with them. Have television-free hours where you are all just together."
"Blow up a big picture of your child and each day stick a word on it that represents a quality you respect about him," adds Newton. "For example, 'caring' or 'funny.'
Syahmi Mukhriz and his funny faces.."i love u ibu.."he loves to say those 4 words..eps before he goes to bed every nite..mmuahh..i love u too Ami..i replied..hehehe!!