What if I told you that your child has a unique language…..and if you learn how to speak that unique language, it will potentially draw the two of you much, much closer. Today I want to talk about the five love languages specifically for your children. Let me start with a story.
A Story That Illustrates One of My Five-Year Old’s Love Languages
Recently, I was putting my five year old to bed. You know the routine. Lying in bed with her, I had read the books, and sang the songs. We said our prayers. We snuggled for a minute, just chit-chatting, and then I walked out the door. As I left I heard whimpering and thought I’m tired of being a mom. It’s done, but then I thought, okay….I can do this.
So I went back in with my best mommy smile and asked, “What’s going on sweetie? What’s wrong?”
She said, “I need some more snuggles, and just a little more love. I need another song.”
In my head, I’m thinking, “I’m so not singing another song.” I’m also thinking part of this might be a bit of manipulation to avoid bedtime. But the other part of it is she has learned to tell me when she needs more snuggles, or more love. So okay, this is going to take just a few minutes of my night, and it will help her. I chose to be the calm, cool, patient mom that night. It’s doesn’t always happen. 🙁
Back to my story: I said, “Okay, honey, but I’m not going to sing another song, but here’s a new game that we can play.”
She looked at me like a game, yes! Score!
I said, “It’s called the I love you because abc’s, and this is how it goes. I love you because you are adventurous.” She smiled, and I said, “Okay, now it’s your turn. Now you tell me something you love about me that starts with a B.”
I could see the gears start to turn, and she says, ” I love you because you’re beautiful.”
And I said, “Oh, thank you.”
And we started through the alphabet You’re clever, daring, excellent, fun! There were some made up words in there, not by me but she loved it. I was leaning over her, and she was wiggling in her bed, kicking her feet, grinning, and giggling. She was so excited.
When we got done, I gave her a kiss, and I said, “Okay, now it’s time for bed.”
She said, “Okay, mommy.”
And that was it. She was good. She went to sleep. I didn’t have anymore unhappiness, or crying, and I got to have my mom time. It only took me a couple minutes to effectively fill up her love tank. I feel like that was a really good indication of what might be one of my daughter’s main love languages: Quality Time.
About The Five Love Languages
If you aren’t familiar with the basic idea of the Five Love Languages. You can read more about it in a recent blog post here. Or, go straight to the source, the book by Chapman and Campbell, The Five Love Languages of Children.
That got me thinking, hey, maybe I should look into love languages for our children. My youngest is still a little bit young, and is currently basking in all five love languages because she gets all she want right now. For my five-and-a-half-year-old though, I’m starting to see, obviously, her own budding personality. As she’s getting older, I’m diving in to better determine and understanding her love language, which could be more than one.
I’ve narrowed it down to two. With the help of this book, I’m going to figure out within the next few months, hopefully, her primary love language. For those of you who don’t know, I’m going to briefly recap the five love languages. If you’re not sure about them check out the above video because we go into a lot more detail in the video.
The Five Love Languages
- The first one is physical touch.
- The second one, words of affirmation.
- The third one is gifts.
- The forth is acts of service, and
- the last one is quality time.
I’m not going to write about these individually, but I do want to say something about physical touch. When speaking specifically about children, and even if physical touch isn’t a child’s primary love language, I have been impacted by the power of lovingly touching our children.
You know, hold their hand when you’re walking through a parking lot. Rub their shoulders a little bit, or ruffle their hair. Reach down and give them a kiss, because it’s my belief that as children, and then young adults, we don’t ever really outgrow the need to feel physical affection from safe people – from our parents. My five-year-old loves it. I don’t know what it’s going to look like when she’s 15, but I’m not going to stop. I’m mom, and this is just what I do. 🙂
So How Do I Figure Out the Love Language of My Child??
Some of you might be wondering, how am I supposed to figure out what my five-year-old’s love language is? Or my three-year-old’s? In this post I’m going to be focusing on the younger years, because that’s where we’re at as well. The book does talk about older children and how to understand them because being a teenager is a completely different beast. But here, I am going to be focusing mostly on how to discover your younger child’s primary love language.
The First Clue to a Child’s Love Language: Expressing Love to Parents
The first clue would be notice how they express love to you, the parent. Young children have the tendency to express love in a way that feels good to them. So, for example, if your child is saying things like, “Mommy, you’re so pretty,” or, “Daddy, I hope you have a good day at work. Thank you for helping me with whatever.” It’s maybe a good indication that your child is giving words of affirmation, and so it might be that is the way that they receive love best as well.
The Second Clue: Expressing Love to Others
The second clue is to observe how your child is expressing their love to other people. An example of that would be if your first grader wants to always take a little gift or some little something to their teacher or to their friends. As long as it’s their idea and not yours – if it’s something that’s coming from their heart, that might be showing that they enjoy giving gifts, and in return, maybe that they enjoy receiving gifts. So pay attention to how they express love to the meaningful people around them.
The Third: Listen What the Child Asks For
The third suggestion is to listen to what your child is requesting most often from you. An example would be something along the lines of “Look at what I’m doing. Mommy, watch,” Or them wanting you to come outside and play with them. These types of things may indicate quality time.
Another part of that is if your child solicits compliments in certain areas, like, does this look okay? Or am I pretty? How do I look? I mean, five-year-olds are not exactly tactful, “Mommy am I pretty?” There’s no fishing there. It’s like, hey, tell me what I want to hear. Does my homework look good? Do you like the the way I write my E? That also might be an indication that they’re looking for words of affirmation. If you’re paying attention to what your kid is asking for, and you notice a pattern over a period of time, then that would be another way to help glean ideas on what your child’s primary love language is.
The Forth: What Does the Child Complain About!
The forth one is, and this might seem kind of funny, but notice what your kid’s complaining about. Okay, so hear me out. All kids are going to complain now and then. It’s just part of being a kid. But pay attention to the specifics, and if there is a pattern, like as an example, “Mom, you never have time to play with me,” or, “You’re always doing something with the baby,” (We have a little one, so my attention is diverted.) Because it’s not necessarily complaining to complain, your child may actually be telling you, “Hey, I miss having quality time with you. You’re always busy with the baby.” Okay, that’s saying something. I want quality time. Pay attention and see if there’s a trend.
The Last: What Does the Child Choose
Last but not least, and this is one of my favorites, it’s to give my child choices. This works especially well for younger kids, although it can work for older ones, too. Give them a choice. For example, “Okay, honey, do you want me to make you some cupcakes? Or would you rather sit outside on the deck together and drink lemonade?”
Those are acts of service and quality time. Another example of giving choices would be… and this is especially true in my house, at least with my husband and our five-and-a-half year old. “Would you rather wrestle? Or would you rather read a story together?” We have wrestling which is physical touch, yes, believe it or not, and that fills up those love tanks for physical touch kids, or reading a story together which is quality time.
Some more examples would be asking your child, “Do you want to play the I love you because game?” This is obviously words of affirmation. “So would you like to play the I love you because?” Words of affirmation, “Or would you rather me to put up the new fancy princess shelves you’ve been wanting, in your room?” Act of service or insert whatever. See which one they go for because a lot of times they’re going to know, “Oh, I get to wrestle with daddy,” or “Oh, I want to sit outside on the porch alone with mom and drink lemonade.” Kids are going to tell you what feels good to them, and that’s another really great way, coupled with the other suggestions I’ve given you from the book to glean insight into your kids’ primary love language.
Really, this book has been amazing……filled with tremendous suggestions. I thought after reading the love languages for adults, how hard can it be to find out my child’s love language? But this book is just chock full of really great ideas, and to be honest, I have only touched on a small part of what this book has to offer.
If you’re interested, I would really suggest reading it. It’s good, and I’ve enjoying everything I’ve read from it. If you’re interested in the book, you can get it from Amazon: The Five Love Languages of Children.
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