Little things matter. In fact, they matter a lot. 

Scientists in the United Kingdom followed 70,000 children for 70 years to try to discover the secret to raising successful kids. Their results? It’s all about talking and listening—unscheduled, quiet moments.

In that quality time, children look for encouragement and support.

At an open house, a teacher once asked parents to write an encouraging note their child could read on a difficult day. He then put all the notes in a box at the front of the room. He found children often reread their notes.

Here are a few ideas to let kids know how much they matter.

> Take a first day of school photo.

> Establish a “first day” tradition: ice cream, favorite menu for dinner or activity.

> Hide a note under his or her pillow.

> Set aside some time after school to talk about the day.

> Make “home days” on weekends special. Plan hikes or bike rides, go fishing or play games.

> Create a day for each child. On their day, they get to choose a favorite activity.

> Slipping a note into your child’s lunch or schoolbag is the perfect way to say you care, even when you’re not there. Send a text to older children.

> Hide a little treasure in your child’s pocket. It could be anything they love, such as a piece of candy or a small toy.

> Place sticky notes with what you love about your child on mirrors, backpacks, steering wheels, dressers, the fridge or their place at the table. A few suggestions: You make me smile. I see you are working hard. Glad I’m your mom/dad. I love you to the moon.

> Host a back to school party with friends and neighbors.