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Two young children sitting in a cardboard box getting pushed by a man and woman smiling

I Love You Rituals


Children are faced each day with external stressors such as media, screens, family hardships, illness, and financial struggles that collectively build, placing internal stress upon their development. Meaningful social connections with safe, trusted adults provide an opportunity for a child to release that stress and allow their growing energy to flourish rather than diffuse. I Love You Rituals, developed by Dr. Becky Bailey, are a way to create emotional connection with children that are engaging and powerful. 


Using I Love You Rituals During Daily Routines

Man holding young girl; he is smiling while she rubs her nose against his outdoors with the sun behind


Each day, opportunities present themself for caregivers to bond with a child and add a sense of security to their world during a time when external stressors abound. Taking the time to incorporate rituals like these into everyday routines gives a child that sense of familiarity and love. Often it is the unknown for a child that cultivates unease so each time a caregiver connects, the developing brain is freed from stress management and made available to build language, cognitive, and social skills. For example, mealtimes occur daily and are wonderful opportunities to check-in with a child. Choosing a song with some finger movement and physical touch to sing at the beginning of a meal adds a moment of connection and soothes a child before beginning the task of eating. Dr. Bailey uses "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in her I Love You Rituals with these lyrics/motions:


Twinkle, twinkle, little star. Hold child’s hands up high, touch fingers and twinkle

What a wonderful child you are! Bring arms down to rest on each other’s shoulders

With bright eyes and nice round cheeks, Touch near child’s eyes and cheeks

Talented person from head to feet. Swing child’s arms up to their head and down to their feet

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, Twinkle fingers together again

What a wonderful child you are! Smile and hug


Think about adding an I Love You Ritual or two throughout your day. Click the link below to see an adorable example of using "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" during meals. Moments of one-on-one interpersonal engagement can be lacking in many present-day situations. Make sure your child's world is full of them!



I Love You Rituals - Make Mealtime a Breeze

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