We often think of love languages as something we learnt about in our pre-wedding counselling sessions or something we searched for on the internet when our relationships seemed to be in trouble. BUT we speak different love languages from a young age and therefore we, as parents, need to fill up our children’s’ love tanks on a daily basis. In doing so we give them the strength and courage to take on the world!
Try and identify your child and see what works for them
Words of affirmation
Hearing you say that you are proud of them will make it all seem worth it. These kids will treasure notes of acknowledgement, encouragement and good report cards. Tell them often that you are proud – both verbally and written down. Elaborate on the reasons why you love them, just remember to always be sincere and not patronising. Kids who speak this love language thrive on compliments, their whole face will light up when they receive them – especially when you give these compliments in front of other people. Mention their character and good qualities, not just their accomplishments. Express appreciation and how blessed you are to have them as your child. Mention that you notice them and comment on the small things they do on a daily basis. Be careful when you discipline these children and choose your words (and tone) wisely – they take words very seriously.
These kids just want to spend time with you, as easy as that. Plan special timeslots just for them, take them on one-on-one dates or go shopping – just make sure that they are your main focus. Let them help you cook, bake and clean – as long as you are doing it together you won’t hear any complaints! Take an interest in their hobbies and do it with them, or take a walk or a bike ride together. Paint something together or tackle a big puzzle as “your” project. Make sure to put your phone away and make eye contact with them – be present, this will be of utmost importance!
Children who speak this love language love gifts – both giving and receiving them! They will often give you something of theirs as they share easily with the ones they love. Make a big deal when giving them a gift by wrapping it beautifully and adding a special card. Make a mental note when they tell you about something that they want for next time you feel like spoiling them. The gifts that you give them does not always have to be big or expensive – start a photo collection or album by giving them a picture on a regular basis or give them a handpicked flower. When they draw a picture for you, put it up for all to see. Wear your one-of-a-kind pasta jewellery with pride and appreciate the breakfast in bed – even if it is oats mixed with a lot of foreign objects on toast. Remember to return the favour by making their favourite meal.
These kids love being close to you, sometimes they will sit on top of you for the entire day! They are the ones that want to be picked up and snuggled at bedtime. Hug them and hold their hand often. Put them on your lap or move their seat closer to yours at the dinner table. Little ones can benefit from a massage after bath time and be worn in a carrier close to mom. Girls might want you to braid their hair and the boys will want to wrestle. Give them a pat of the back or a kiss on the head as you pass them in the house. Make an effort to show them that you also enjoy the cuddles that you share.
Acts of service
These children just want to help the ones they love or surprise them with something special that they have done for them. As much as they want to do things with their loved ones, they also want to do things independently. Give them some room to make the salad or chop the veggies as they wish (age-appropriate of course). Draw them a bubble bath and make them their favourite meal. Carry them when they seem tired and help them to complete their chores. Teach them something new and volunteer together at a community project. Make their day by doing something for them, it doesn’t matter how big or small it might be.
No matter what love language your child speaks, it is always a good idea to tell them that you love and appreciate them!