There are all kinds of ways to make your family feel loved. Telling them you love them, hugs and kisses, and spending quality time with them are some of the most obvious ones. But I think that small gestures, surprises, are the best way to make your family feel loved.
Why a surprise gesture is the best way to make your loved ones feel MORE loved!
Once a week, I get to pick up Zach from school. Normally, his Dad picks him up after work. But on my off day, I pick him up early so he doesn’t have to go to childcare after.
Since he’s little, he’s only there a few hours. Which means I have just enough time to get a few things done and then run back to pick him up. Most of the time, what I end up doing is the grocery shopping.
There are these little dried apple packets that Zach absolutely loves. Every time we go to Aldi, he asks me if he can get one or two. We always do.
One random day, I decided to grab him one for him and put it in his carseat. I usually bring a snack for him to eat on the way home from school and I know how much he loves these. So rather than bring something from home, I thought this would be a fun surprise.
I could not have predicted the joy he would get out of this simple surprise!
He was so thrilled to have one of his favorite snacks outside of the normal times we get it. I swear, I think he actually enjoyed them more that day. Now, he almost always asks when I pick him up if I brought him apples.
He isn’t as excited when I do have them as he was the first time, because that was a big surprise. But he is still excited because he never knows if I’m going to say yes. Sometimes I don’t go grocery shopping while he’s at school and then I don’t buy them. So it’s still a surprise.
I could really tell that it meant a lot to him and he felt so loved. His smile was so big and bright. He kept telling me, “Thank you, Mama!” all the way to the car and on the way home.
I think the reason that surprises work so well is because of two things.
It shows we’re thinking about them and know them well.
Surprising your loved one with a small gift, activity, or other meaningful thing shows them that you’re thinking about them. They aren’t around, and yet you thought about them and did something that would make them happy. And you did it for no particular reason. Just to make them happy because you wanted to.
Not only did you do something to make them happy, but you showed them you know them well. When our family sees we know what our likes, interests, and favorites are, it shows we’re paying attention. I think kids, and spouses, sometimes think we aren’t always paying attention.
To be fair, we’re all super busy, and often distracted by life. That doesn’t mean we aren’t paying attention. But do they know that? They might not.
I could’ve brought Zach any snack and he would’ve been happy. The boy loves snacks. But I know some of that thrill was because it was one of his favorite, special snacks. Like I said, I bring him a snack all the time. It was when I brought this one that there was extra joy.
The surprise makes it out of the ordinary.
As I mentioned earlier, there are tons of things you can do to make your family feel loved. But they’re all things that most of us do all the time. So much so that they almost lose a little meaning, I think.
“I love you,” is probably the most uttered phrase in our house. Well, aside from, “Daisy, stop barking!”
Zach not only hears it all the time, but he says it constantly, too. He’ll actually yell it across an aisle in the store at us.
It still has meaning, but it’s not super special. It’s just something he knows.
Surprising them, though, brings back some of that excitement and reminder of what that love really means. What it really feels like. Those simple, small gestures make them feel so loved. It completely catches them off guard, unlike hearing “I love you,” for the fifth time that day.
How to make your family feel loved with special surprises.
Luckily, giving these special surprises to your family can be really easy. It does not have to be time consuming or cost a lot of money. In fact, it can take no money at all!
They also don’t have to be done all the time. They actually shouldn’t be. If you’re always surprising them, they’ll always be looking for a surprise. Do them as frequently as you like, but not constantly.
When deciding what kind of surprises to do for your family, take their interests and personalities into consideration. For your spouse, use their love language to help you come up with ideas!
Below, I’ve listed several ideas to get you started. Use these as is or modify them to fit your family. Or come up with something else entirely! You’re only limited by your imagination.
Ideas for surprises for kids and spouses
- Put a note in their lunch. It can be a love note, a joke, a riddle, or a code they have to decipher!
- Have a special treat waiting for them when you pick them up from school.
- Make something special for them. A bracelet or special painted rock, for example.
- Plan an activity for after school. When you get home, surprise them with an arts and crafts project, a bike ride, or a trip to the playground.
- Leave a special snack, treat, or note in their backpack or coat pocket for them to find.
- Plan a surprise weekend activity that everyone will enjoy. Maybe a trip to a local waterpark or to a movie everyone wants to see.
- Make your spouse’s lunch for them to find in the morning (if they usually make their own).
- Leave a gift or card in your spouse’s car while they’re at work (or for them to find in the morning).
- Do a chore that’s normally something they’re responsible for. For example, if your husband normally mows the lawn, have it done before he gets home from work or while he’s running errands. If your son normally takes out the trash, have it already done when he gets home from school.
- Bring home a coffee for your spouse.
- Bake a batch of their favorite cookies or treat.
- Take your kids to a McDonald’s Playland for fun and french fries. (Or other similar establishment where they can run around and have a fun snack.)
Get creative and show your love in special, fun, surprising ways!
It is so easy to make your family feel loved by surprising them with small, simple gestures. It will really mean so much to your kids and your spouse, no matter what it is. The more in line it is with their personality and interests, the more joy it will bring.
Next time you’re feeling the urge to do something a little extra for one of your loved ones, try one of these!