Smile to a baby. His face lights up with joy. Uninhibited by fears, shyness or other social and emotional hang-ups, he readily shows you his pleasure. Yet a child of any age basks in the radiance of your smile, though he may not be so quick to reveal his pleasure.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, in his classic text Alei Shur, writes: "Who knows which is more beneficial for a child's health and development – the food he eats or the warmth he is shown? And it is known that it is very difficult for a child who has been raised without warmth to be healthy emotionally."

Even in the first days of a child's life, while still in the hospital, there is a noticeable difference between infants who have been hugged and touched by their mothers and those who have not.

Every parent knows the exquisite feeling of love. Expressing the love that we feel toward our children, through words and actions on a consistent basis, conveys to them that they are important to you and that they are accepted.

A smile from a parent envelops the child in love. Smile all you can, shower them with the sunshine of your love.

Tell them in clear, direct language how much you love them and how much you enjoy having them around. One woman I know likes to remind her children again and again that she is a billionaire, since each of her children is worth billions.

Surprise your child with little trinkets now and then, and tell him, "Son, I was thinking about you today." Your child will get the message that you truly care about him, he will be able to touch and feel your love, and he will treasure both the gift and its message.

Engage your child in casual conversation. Tell him about your day, about your feelings, about your hopes and dreams. Not only will he reciprocate in kind, following your lead, but these conversations will demonstrate how important he is to you and how much you enjoy his company.

Beware of hinging your love for your child on his behavior, actions or deeds. Don't fall into the trap of "if/then" love: If you do well on your test, then I will be warm to you. If you fail, then you will be subject to an icy reception from me. True, disciplining our children is imperative if we want them to grow up as healthy, strong and successful individuals. That is why, when we truly care for our children and keep their best interests at heart, discipline is love. When disciplining with love, we do not hesitate to teach our children the law of cause and effect by punishing when necessary, but we do so with love in our hearts. The child can learn that there are negative consequences to negative actions and positive consequences for positive actions in a calm and loving manner.

Unconditional and consistent love, regardless of what he does or says, is the greatest gift you can give your child. It is a clear message that he has inherent value and will eventually have the capacity to experience G‑d's unconditional love for him as well. As it says in Ethics of the Fathers, Israel is precious and are called children of G‑d; an extra measure of love was given to them by telling them they are children of G‑d. The strength he will derive from the deep knowledge that he is acknowledged, loved and an important human being will help him overcome all obstacles.