Creative Child

The Return On Emotional Deposits

by Rebecca Eanes


When you make lots of deposits in your child’s emotional bank account, the relationship will thrive. Communication will be good. Your attachment will be secure. Your child will trust you, in turn giving you more authority. Children listen better and are more cooperative when their emotional bank accounts are full, and so the return is a stronger relationship and a child who is easier to parent.


Now that you know what constitutes deposits, you may be wondering about withdrawals. These include:

  • Nagging
  • Criticizing
  • Sarcasm
  • Being disrespectful
  • Yelling
  • Interrupting
  • Ignoring


Even in healthy relationships, we make withdrawals and deposits daily. This is just the dance of human relationships. The good news about emotional bank accounts is that they allow for mistakes. No one is perfect, but when you make a withdrawal, you can apologize for that and then make a deposit to offset it. The goal is to not allow your account to go in the red. Don’t let there be more withdrawals than deposits. In other words, don’t focus on the negatives or the struggles too much.

Raising children involves a lot of ups and downs. There are no perfect parents or perfect children, but we can have a perfectly beautiful relationship with our children if we are mindful of the trust and attachment we create. Here are 20 ways to make deposits into your child’s emotional bank account today:

  1. Laugh together. Tell a silly joke or watch a comedy.
  2. Say “yes” to something fun.
  3. Offer an extra hug.
  4. Cook their favorite meal.
  5. Do a chore for them (or help them with a big one).
  6. Write a kind note and leave it on their mirror.
  7. Put away your devices and distractions and give your undivided attention.
  8. Notice something good about them and compliment them for it.
  9. Let them overhear you speaking highly of them.
  10. Smile when they enter the room.
  11. Make eye contact when they speak to you.
  12. Create a small, handmade gift for them.
  13. Read a book together.
  14. Have a little dance party.
  15. Play a board game.
  16. Go on a hike together.
  17. Tell them stories from your childhood.
  18. Say “I love you” a lot.
  19. Watch a show or movie that they choose.
  20. Tell them the things you like about them.

Look for little opportunities each day to make emotional deposits into your child’s account. Ice cream dates and trips to the carnival are fun, but lots of deposits can be made in the ordinary, every-day interactions with your child. They do not have to be fancy or take up a lot of time. They just have to show that you’re paying attention, and that you care.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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