About three years ago as I was having physical therapy, my therapist mentioned a book that she had been reading and finding so important in helping her create a more loving relationship with her husband and other family members.
The book? The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
When I got back home from my session I found my over 20 year old copy on the shelf. As I read it I remembered the valuable lessons I had learned and implemented from the book.
As I ordered a book for a friend, I discovered that the 5 Love Languages approach had grown quite a bit since I read it for the first time.
When my copy of The 5 Love Languages of Children, I felt it was an important book to share with parents.
The book is easy to read and the advice on how to discover and use each family members primary love language is simple to implement.
Here is a bit about the five love languages, but I encourage you to read the book.
Words of Affirmation
For the people who feel loved when hearing words of affirmation, it is important that we keep giving these important love tokens.
How do you know that a person’s main love language is words of affirmation?
Do they like to give you drawings? Do they save the cards they get for birthdays and holidays? Do they tell you they love you every day?
How children express their love is how they like to receive love, too.
Be on the lookout for that important clue.
Quality time is one of the five love languages. And it is my primary love language!
When I spend quality time with the people I love and care about, I feel loved.
For me, the most important part of a relationship is to spend quality time together.
Perhaps your child that has to get up five times to get a drink of water at bedtime…has a primary love language of quality time.
One of the things I learned as a parent is that 10 minutes of focused quality time per day with each of your children helps them feel connected and loved.
It really takes a small investment to build that loving relationship, especially when you know your child’s and your primary love language.
Another love language is gifts. There are people who love giving and getting presents.
With gifts as a primary love language, these people delight in getting a gift as well as giving gifts.
Children, for the most part, seems to love to give little gifts and are excited to receive gifts.
Giving a surprise is also a fun way to offer a gift.
When my daughters were between 3 and 9, I’d plan surprise outings. To a park. To a museum. To the ice cream shop. To the swimming pool. To pop popcorn and watch a movie.
(I used my primary love language of quality time to offer a gift.)
Simply writing on a card, “Surprise! We’re off to the pool!”, putting the card into an envelope and handing it over as a gift, makes it feel more special to the recipient.
Is your child’s primary love language the giving and receiving of gifts?
Over the next few weeks keep your eyes open for clues of your child’s primary love language.
Try offering a few simple gifts and see if gifts help you build a more loving relationship.
Acts of service
Acts of service is another love language. For the people whose main love language is acts of service, they feel love and connection when someone does something for them or with them.
As kids my sisters and I loved to play beauty shop where we would brush and brush each other’s hair, paint our finger nails and toenails, choose outfits for each other, and add old costume jewelry for the final effect.
Acts of service.
Doing for others. Many children so want to help their parents. I see it now in my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter. She wants to help wash dishes. Set the table. Sweep and clean the floor. Cook. Fold clothes. Put items in the washer and dryer. And much more.
Luckily her parents help her help them, and let her give her acts of service as a love language.
Is your child trying to offer you acts of service and you aren’t seeing those acts as coming from a place of love?
Be on the lookout for your child’s acts of service, and be on the lookout how you can offer acts of service.
Another one of our five love languages is physical touch. For the person whose primary love language is physical touch, they love to be hugged and give hugs, kiss and be kissed, sit close to others, hold hands, give and get massages, offer a pat on the back or hand, to only name a few ways to offer loving touches.
There are many people, though, who don’t like to be touched at all.
And in today’s world, in the public arena of school and work, physical touch is mostly off-limits.
But for children whose principle love language is physical touch, they can feel abandoned and unloved.
As a parent, I know how powerful a hug can be.
As a teacher, I know a loving pat on the arm can make a difference whether a child has a good day or not.
Also, I found cooking with children, especially making bread and kneading it, to act as the love language of physical touch. The measuring, stirring, tasting, smelling and eating pleasures of cooking seem to manifest as physical touch.
Is your child’s primary love language physical touch?
Simply adding a few hugs and pats on the back every day can make a difference in building a loving relationship.
The key to using love languages is to be observant and aware of how and when love languages are being used.
Become an expert. I invite you to read Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages of Children.