The 5 Love Languages And Kids
I love to hear how great people think I am. It makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside. I am without a doubt someone who CRAVES words of affirmation from those close to me. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, says everyone has a dominant love language. There are a few major points to knowing your love language:
- You understand what makes you feel most fulfilled.
- You become more aware of how you show love to others.
- You are able to communicate if you aren’t feeling loved or fulfilled.
My husband and I read the original book while we were engaged and have since redone it twice. It is important to revisit from time to time as life situations may change what you need from your mate. (For example: post-baby my “physical touch” love language went from #2 to #5. I did NOT want to be touched, I wanted the dishes washed.)
When my oldest hit about five, I started thinking about what he really needed from me. According to Chapman, love languages are difficult to establish before age five. There is a quiz for 9-12 year old kids to take online to help them identify their language as well as a separate book for teens. For children under 9, Chapman suggests to observe your child over the period of a week or so. This combined with things I already knew about my son helped me to discover what I think his love language might be. I know he likes alone time, he could really care less when offered a treat and usually tries to switch it out for something else, melts when you give him praise, and is always ready for a hug or snuggle. In case you’re unfamiliar, here is a brief description of each love language.
Words of affirmation
Compliments and “atta boy”s can go a long way with the child who thrives on praise. You can focus on personality, effort, accomplishments, outward appearance or anything else that affirms. These are also the kids who feel the, “I’m really disappointed in you” the most, so be careful how often you wield that one.
Acts of service
It would be AWESOME for a child to just feel soooo loved when we do their laundry, but thats not usually the case. You have to know which acts of service are important to them. Helping with homework, teaching how to throw a ball? This one is tricky for me, but maybe it is just because it doesn’t fit my kiddos well.
People who truly treasure gifts view them as a tangible token of affection. However, they can also interpret a lack of gifts as a lack of love. Children (and adults!) with this love language are not looking for expensive or daily gifts but recognizing that a child may prefer bouncy ball or sticker over a hug is important in the parent/child relationship.
Children who speak this love language want undivided attention. The activity is not important; the time together is. For a child with siblings, it may be difficult to get one-on-one time with Mom or Dad. They need to know they are worthy of your undivided attention.
We’ve long known the emotional power of physical touch. Infants who are held fare better than those who are not. As children get older, they still long for physical affection — something as simple as a touch on the arm, a pat on the back, a hug. These gestures are especially important to the child with this love language. They need to literally feel your love.
I identified words of affirmation and physical touch (he is ALWAYS hugging little sister even as she pushes him away) as my son’s top love languages. Knowing his top love languages doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate or need the others or that I stopped buying him little gifts. Kids need to be exposed to all five kinds but some will hit home more than others.
Over the course of a week, OVERTLY try each of the love languages out and see how your kids respond. Pay attention to when and how they need you. Remember to try using all five love languages with an emphasis your child’s dominant one. It will only strengthen your bond. Finding what makes your kiddos tick so they can feel the warm blanket of unconditional love from you will no doubt be worth it!
What ways do you pour into your kiddo’s love language?