Is showing love without words even possible? You bet. One of my favorite things to do with my youngest daughter is go grocery shopping. I know—weird. But since she was young, she’s always wanted to tag along. Sure, it was often inconvenient to take her with me. After all, it’s more efficient to run to the store and grab what I need without lugging a curious kid along. Yet I just couldn’t say no when she’d look up at me with those big eyes and ask if she could come. Even now, occasionally I’ll poke my head into the living room as my teenage daughter scans TikTok. “Hey kid,” I’ll say. “Want to go to the store with me?”
Regardless of her answer, it’s a little way of saying, “Remember, I love you.” Showing love without words is one of the most important things we can do in our relationships with our daughters. Don’t get me wrong. She needs to hear you say it. But on top of that, she needs to experience it as true in your every interaction. Here are 7 ways to tell your daughter you love her without saying a thing.
1. Hug her.
This is essential for showing love without words, regardless of her age. Your daughter needs to experience appropriate physical affection from you. The older she gets, the more you’ll need to be cognizant of when and how to do this well. But even if she says it’s embarrassing, do it anyway. Appropriate physical touch is critical for communicating love.
2. Listen.Give your daughter your attention when she’s talking, just as you would that client you can’t lose.
You probably don’t care about the new Harry Styles album or the YA novel she’s reading. But listen anyway. Give your daughter your attention when she’s talking, just as you would that client you can’t lose. And fight the urge to tell her she’s being overly sensitive or that what she likes is silly. Just listen to why she thinks it matters.
3. Send her GIFs and memes.
This one is kind of goofy, but having fun is a great way to communicate love and kids love GIFs and memes. On break at work and come across something funny you think your daughter would love? Text it to her. Or save it and show her when you get home. Not only is sharing a laugh a great way to bond, but it’s also a powerful way of showing love without words.
4. Go to her event.
I don’t know what your daughter is into. It doesn’t matter. The point is that she’s into it. Therefore, you need to be present for it. So whether it’s dance or drama, basketball or debate club, do whatever you can to be present to support her. Of course there will be times when that’s impossible. But as often as you can, be physically present at the events your daughter cares about.
Did your daughter tell you about a song she loves? Did she mention a kind of food she wants to try? Perhaps she shared a story of something that made her laugh? Remember those things. Write them down if you need to. Then, when you come across something that reminds you of the story she told or interest she has, buy it for her. Or take a picture of it and text her. This communicates to your daughter that you’re thinking of her, even when she isn’t with you.
6. Take her along.
Is there something you love? A favorite band? A favorite food? A sporting event? Take her along with you. Two of the most memorable moments I have as a dad are taking my oldest daughter to a U2 concert and taking my two younger daughters to a Lakers game. These are things I love and I got to love them with my daughters. Sharing something you love with your kids is a powerful way to communicate their value to you.
Sometimes I look at one of my daughters as she snuggles with our dog or cooks dinner or chats with her friends and I’m just overcome with love. My natural reaction is to smile. If my daughter happens to catch me doing it, she smiles in return. Smiling at your daughter is a powerful way to express your love for her without uttering a word.
Sound off: How else is showing love without words possible?
Huddle up with your daughter and ask, “What’s your favorite part of each day?”