It’s very possible that there is a disconnect between the way you show love and the preferred love language of your child. There are five different love languages. Similar to regular language and speech, if two people understand one another’s love language, it can have a profound impact on the relationship. The same goes for children, if you want to have a close and loving relationship with your kids, then it is beneficial to learn how they prefer to be shown love.
Love language number one is words of affirmation. If this is someone’s top receiving love language then it means that they know they are loved when they hear words of endearment or compliments. To show appreciation or love towards this person all you need to do is tell them you love them, they are important to you, they are beautiful and any other endearing terms that may be applicable to them. Use words of encouragement, surprise your child with little love notes and affirm efforts and achievements.
Love language number two is acts of service. If this is someone’s preferred love language then it means that they know they are loved when someone does random acts of kindness for them. For some people, words are not enough to convince them they are loved by someone, instead they feel most loved when someone does something nice for them. To show your child you care, if their love language is acts of service, try taking part in activities they really like that you normally wouldn’t. For example, going outside to play a sport with your kids or playing their favorite video game.This could make a huge difference in their lives and will be something they will remember for a while. Make a special treat that your child loves, carry him or her to bed, do a chore that he or she would normally do, surprise your child by organizing their room or doing a mini room makeover. The most important thing to remember about acts of service, is that the service has to be seen as valuable to the person receiving and not just the one giving.
Love language number three is receiving gifts. If this is someone’s primary love language then they know someone loves them when they are given gifts. Now it may seem greedy from the perspective of someone who doesn’t prefer this love language, but gifts don’t necessarily mean something expensive and it doesn’t mean you have to be getting them gifts all the time. If you think your child’s love language is receiving gifts then try getting them their favorite candy or surprise them with flowers from the garden, a homemade card, a homemade favorite meal or treat, or a new inexpensive toy once a month. The simple act of receiving a surprise gift warms this child’s heart.
Love language number four is quality time. If this is how someone feels love, then spending time together is enough for them to know you love them. This love language can be difficult to recognize at first, but if your child is constantly asking you to perform minor tasks or activities with them, then they may be looking to spend more time with you. Be sure to give this child your undivided attention. Show your child you are listening to their stories and feelings. Take walks together, be silly, gaze at the night sky together. Instead of always cooking dinner by yourself try inviting your child to come and help. If you have multiple kids, plan one on one dates and or activities.
Love language number five is physical touch. If this is someone’s preferred love language then physical touch communicates love to them more deeply than gifts, praise, or quality time. People whose love language is physical touch usually love getting hugs, cuddles, holding hands, people playing with their hair or scratching their back or just sitting close by. For older children who feel loved through physical touch, it can be as simple as a high five, a group hug or a gentle squeeze of the hand while whispering I love you.
If you are unsure what your child’s love language is, try observing them to see how they show love to others. Because kids are too young to understand other people’s love languages, they will most likely start out by showing others love by using the love language they would prefer. The earlier you can detect their love language the more often you can fill their love tank. Once established, you will notice that your intentional efforts to express love through their preferred love language, will nurture your child’s inner sense of worth, identity and security.