Call your parents at least once a week
Looking for a simple way to be a better child?
Pick up the phone and call your parents more often. We know, it sounds too easy—but frequent communication with parents is one of the best ways to let them know how much you care.
Not sure what to say? Take some time to think about the week ahead; if there’s something exciting or stressful coming up, tell your parents about it. If you’re just calling for a chat, ask them how their day is going, or tell them about something funny that happened at work/school.
Your parents don’t need to hear every little detail of your life (let’s be honest: they probably don’t want that!), but they will enjoy having an idea of what’s going on in yours.
Give them a hug each time you see or talk to them
There’s something miraculous about a hug. Science has even shown that hugging can release oxytocin, the hormone that increases feelings of trust and bonding. It makes sense, then, that hugs can strengthen any relationship — including the one between you and your parents.
In fact, some research shows that children who have more physical affection for their parents tend to be more socially confident and emotionally secure later in life.
Greet them by name whenever you see them
This might seem obvious, but when you’re running late or just want to get on with things, it can be easy to forget that parents like to hear their names as much as anyone else. When you see your dad at the grocery store or talk to your mom on the phone, remember to use their names and greet them with a simple “Hi, Dad!” or “Hey there, Mom!” You don’t need to go into long explanations about why you’re there—just make sure they know that they’re special and loved.
Give them gifts
An easy way to show your parents how much you appreciate them is to get them a gift. Gifts don’t have to be expensive: they could be something homemade, like a card with a nice message in it or a picture of the two of you together. If you’re more experienced at cooking, you could prepare them a meal to enjoy at home or take them out for dinner if you live close enough together.
If your parents are interested in taking trips, it’s worth looking into buying flights for them as a gift, but only if and when it makes sense for everyone involved (in other words: don’t spend money that’s not there). Travel rewards points are ideal for this since they can help get flights for free; see Section 1 for more information on how these work.
Take care of the house and pets
Do chores around the house. For example, you could make your bed every morning, or unload the dishwasher every night before bed. Another option is to make a list of all of your household chores and switch off with your siblings so that you all have to do each chore once a week. You might find that you enjoy some chores more than others!
Take care of the pets. For example, if you own a dog or cat, be sure to give them fresh food and water every day, walk the dogs for at least half an hour, clean up after them when they poop in the yard and take them to the vet regularly. If you don’t own any pets currently but would like one someday, offer to help out by feeding and walking your neighbor’s dog or volunteering at a local animal shelter during weekends.
Collaborate with other family members on big projects such as painting rooms in the house or doing repairs around it; this will show that even though there are different people living under one roof who might not always get along perfectly well with each other – everyone cares about making their home a better place for everyone else!
Understand what makes things difficult for your parents as adults so that when they’re struggling with something (such as finances) then it won’t seem so challenging for us anymore; we’ll also have an idea about where we can step in and help out until things start getting better again.”
Say “I love you too” when they tell you they love you
I think it’s a universal experience that when your parents say “I love you,” you don’t really know what to do. No matter how old you are, the words feel awkward and unwieldy in your mouth. You try to respond, but it feels wrong and weird. I think this is because for a long time, you’re always on the receiving end of the love from your parents.
They tell you they love you all the time, but very rarely do they get a response from their children. So the first thing I’d change about my relationship with my parents is being more vocal back at them when they tell me that they love me.
It’s so easy to fall into this trap of not saying “I love you” back because we’re taught that if we need someone to show us their affection then that means we’re weak or vulnerable—and as children, we want our parents to see us as strong and independent so they won’t worry about us anymore.
But as adults, we can finally see just how much our parents worry about us—they still see us as their kids no matter how old we are now—and they always will be worried!
It’s important for them to hear from their child that yes, I still need them even though I’m grown up now! And yes, even though there are a few miles between us now I still care about them deeply! And most importantly: yes Mom and Dad, thank you for showing me unconditional love my whole life…I love YOU too!!
Tell your parents important information happening in your life
- Tell your parents important information happening in your life. When you’re a kid, most major developments are reported to your parents by default. You even get permission and guidance from them when making decisions, because they’re legally responsible for you until you turn 18.
- Let them know about any significant change in your health or physical activity level (e.g., “I broke my leg! I have to go through physical therapy three times a week at this place downtown called SuperFit.”)
- Let them know about any significant change in your mood or mental stability (e.g., “I feel like I might be depressed these days. One of my friends recommended that I check out the community center next month when they’re having their free mental health support group meetings. It should be good for me to talk to other people who are going through similar stuff.”)
- Let them know about any new job opportunities that come up and whether they’ve offered you a job (e.g., “I did an interview today at this organization called Bespoke Food Artisans, which is one of the most prestigious catering companies in town! Should hear back soon…”).
Apologize for your mistakes.
One of the best ways to prove you’ve changed is to show it through your actions. By apologizing for your mistakes, you’re showing that you realize what you’ve done and understand how it made other people feel.
To apologize, start by saying “I apologize for…” or “It was wrong/inappropriate when I…” Be sincere and genuine, and don’t make excuses. Be specific about what you did, who is affected, and why it was wrong. Take responsibility for your actions and avoid blaming anyone else or making any excuses or justifications (even if they are true). Apologizing is not the same as justifying – an apology isn’t meant to be a list of reasons why you’re sorry; it’s an admission that what you did was wrong.
Prepare them a great meal with their favorites.
As the saying goes, nothing says “thank you” like a great meal. But before you get started, it’s important to plan ahead:
- Plan your menu with your parents’ favorite dishes in mind. It can be as simple or complex as you’re comfortable with—you know them best!
- Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and tools for these recipes on hand and check for freshness before using them.
- Practice making these dishes ahead of time if possible, so that everything will go smoothly when the big day comes. This is especially important if they’re more complicated than what you usually make!
Do more for your parents.
They have done a lot for you. They’ve raised you and taken care of you. You wouldn’t be where you are today without them. Now that they’re older and have less energy, it’s time to give back to them in some capacity.
You could start by helping with household chores like doing their laundry or cleaning the kitchen. Maybe they don’t need financial help – but they could probably use some help taking out the trash if you live nearby!
If you live far away, maybe make an effort to call them more often or visit them more regularly (if it’s safe to do so). If money is tight, think about other ways of showing your appreciation through gestures like sending greeting cards on holidays, or bringing food over when they’re sick!