If you had good parents growing up who did their best to provide, love, and care for you, you’ll likely reach a point in life where you want to give back.
I know that’s true for me.
Even though I live in another country, I’ve been trying to show my parents my gratitude for the last couple of years – so I get that it can be tricky to know where to start.
And sometimes, verbalizing it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough. You need to show them through actions.
That’s why in this article, I’ll be sharing 10 ways to show your parents you appreciate them (without having to say a word).
1) Help with chores
As youngsters, most of us complained about having to do our daily chores around the house. I mean, who enjoyed hoovering at 14?
But as we grow up, move out, and create homes of our own, we start to appreciate just how much our parents had to do.
From cooking and cleaning to organizing schedules, they were busy.
So, now it’s time to give them a break.
Whenever you’re with them, do the washing up. Clean the gutters. Fix the leaky tap or take out the trash without being asked.
Your parents will take notice of this, and trust me, they’ll see it as a sign of your appreciation for all they did (and still do) for you.
2) Cook a meal
Before moving out, I remember overhearing my mom talking to a friend. She said something along the lines of:
“For once, I just wish someone else would cook. I’d love to eat a meal that wasn’t made by me.”
I felt bad in that moment – my brother and I were grown up but she still did the cooking. We both knew how to cook, but as you know, nothing compares to mom’s food.
So now, whenever she flies out to visit me, I make sure she never spends time in the kitchen.
I take pleasure in planning her favorite meals and making them for her.
It might seem like a small gesture, but food is a great way to show love and appreciation, so whenever you get the opportunity, treat your parents to a nice, home-cooked meal.
3) Leave little notes
If you find it tough to verbally tell your parents how much you appreciate them, why not leave a cute little note for them to find?
I tend to leave a note on the fridge whenever I visit home, just something to say “I love you” or “Thanks for being awesome parents”.
There’s no doubt in my mind that it makes them smile every time they walk past the fridge or open it to get something out.
And the best part about leaving a note?
It’s something your parents can keep forever. You can even get more personal with it and write a letter, expressing all the things you might otherwise find hard to say.
4) Listen attentively
Another simple way to show your parents that you appreciate them is just by listening.
I mean really listening to what they have to say.
That means putting the phone down. Turning off the TV. Making eye contact.
Now, this is a great thing to do in general, with everyone you meet. But with your parents, it’s even more special.
By really tuning in, you’re making them feel seen and heard. You’re showing you value their opinions and that’s pretty powerful.
5) Be there for them
Your parents looked after you when you needed them.
They stayed up at night by your bedside when you were sick. They took you to your dentist appointments, soccer club, Girl Scouts, birthday parties, and more.
They dedicated their lives to looking after you, and now you can do the same for them as they age.
That might be accompanying them to checkups at the doctors, or helping them heal after surgery.
Perhaps you start picking up their weekly shopping to save them the effort.
Whatever it is, show your appreciation by making their lives a bit easier.
6) Create a memory book
On my 18th birthday, my mom gave me a memory book of my life. She annotated each picture and it was so beautiful it still makes me cry when I look through it.
So this could be another effective way to show your parents just how much you appreciate them.
Gather all the old family pictures, buy a beautiful scrapbook, and create a timeline of all the memories you’ve created together as a family.
This is a timeless gift that your parents will likely cherish for years.
7) Be respectful and polite
Now, showing appreciation isn’t all about the material stuff. Sometimes, the best way to show gratitude is in the way you behave.
If you’re normally quite critical of your parents, try holding back.
If your parents have been scolding you for years for talking with your mouth full, change a bad habit and show them you’ve finally listened to them.
Say please and thank you.
Hold the door open for them. Remember, little actions often speak the loudest.
8) Spend quality time together
Ultimately, when it comes to family, the best thing we can do is give our time.
As we grow older, we get busy with our own commitments.
Lunch around mom’s goes from 7 days a week to once on a Sunday. Family holidays happen less and less as we start vacationing with friends or partners.
So if you really want to show your parents how much you appreciate them, make time for them.
Set aside a day or two a week to do quality activities together; go for a walk, learn a new hobby, go to the theatre.
Don’t just sit and watch TV together, show your parents you enjoy their company and want to spend time with them.
9) Fix or build something for them
Have a think – what is one thing your mom would love?
Perhaps a little reading nook in the corner of the house somewhere. Maybe an easy-access storage shelf for all her arts and crafts.
And your dad? Perhaps you could help him build the greenhouse he’s always wanted.
Whatever it is, lending a physical hand will be a major sign of your appreciation for them.
10) Be responsible
And finally, be a responsible adult. Show your parents that they’ve raised you right.
I’ll share something personal here – my cousins claim to appreciate their parents.
Yet they’re constantly asking for financial help, draining their elderly parents with their problems, and causing them unnecessary worry and stress.
Does that sound like gratitude to you?
I think one of the best things you can do if you want to appreciate your parents is to give them a worry-free life.
Let them relax in the knowledge that you’re a responsible, independent adult who is self-sufficient.
Now that is a gift every parent wants to receive.