Did you know there’s an actual language of love… no not Italian. Seriously, we all have a unique Love Language that’s tailor-made to our unique personality. A language that when it’s spoken to us, can make us feel love in a deeply personal way.
And understanding the power of love languages, especially as it pertains to our kids, makes such an impact on how we give and receive love. This post shares simple and tangible ways to bond closer with your children using their love language.
We all know what it’s like to feel loved. It’s this experience of love that hits our heart much differently than merely knowing we’re loved. So many of us live the majority of our days in the “knowing we’re loved” zone, versus actually “experiencing that love” in action.
We all want to feel that love a whole lot more than just knowing it’s there. I know I’m guilty of letting the days go by without going beyond the usual hug, kiss, and I love you as I drop them off at school. And, of course, the thought that feeding them, clothing them, and sheltering them is an expression of love.
And though they are clearly expressions of love, I have to ask myself when was the last time my child “felt” love. A love that was meant just for them, and not a one-size-fits-all love that merely got tossed to all the kids at once on the way out the door.
The truth is, far too often we all take for granted that our spouse, children, and friends simply know we love them and leave it at that. Until a holiday (#Valentine’s Day) or other special event rolls around. Then we bring out the big guns!
This list is designed to help you become an even better mom and a positive parent than you already are!
We Speak Love in our Own Language
But our loved ones need so much more than that, especially our sweet children. Who are generally sweet most of the time.
They need to feel and experience a clear and tangible expression of our love. One they can’t question or talk themselves out of later. And the best way to do this is to show them love in their own love language.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or mounds of your children’s dirty laundry) and haven’t heard of love languages; let me catch you up.
The concept is taught extensively by Gary Chapman who wrote several books on the topic including The 5 Love Languages of Children – which I HIGHLY recommend along with all of his other books on the topic.
He teaches that there are basically five main ways (languages) we humans uniquely communicate love to one another. We all communicate on some level using all five languages, but Gary believes we each have one overarching language that’s stronger than all the others. That’s our love language.
Why are Love Languages Important?
The interesting part is, we naturally communicate our love to others using our own love language. I mean, that’s our own language, right? But this can hinder the flow of the “love exchange” because, as you know by now, we receive love best in our own language. Confused yet?
Please don’t be. Think of love languages as actual languages. If your husband spoke French and you only spoke English, your relationship would be challenging at best. But if you knew each other’s language and chose to speak that language to each other – you’d be in business. No more mixed signals. Well, hopefully.
This gives us the challenge of identifying and understanding the love language of those we want to show love to the most – our family. This way you can shoot your arrows of love like The Mocking Jay and hit the bulls-eye every single time. Imagine that!
The whole point of understanding and using love languages is the concept of filling each other’s love tank. And doing things that fill our child’s love tank in the specific way that they need it, sends the message loud and clear to your child – I AM LOVED.
Tips to Identify Your Child’s Love Language
In case you don’t know your child’s love language, I’m going to briefly list a few clues to point you in the right direction. I’ll warn you, it may seem at first that your child has ALL the love languages.
But if you observe your child over time, it’ll become more clear. Once you know your child’s love language, you can have fun delivering love messages to them in a way that’s sure to fill their love tank all the way to the top!
- Your child is touchy-feely and never seems to leave your side.
- Frequently grabs your hand to hold it, leans on you, or rubs you in an affectionate way.
- Loves to snuggle, cuddle, and be close.
- If you reject this snuggle-fest request, they’ll likely feel rejected themselves.
Words of Affirmation
- Your child is highly motivated by your words of encouragement.
- They tend to feed off the validation of others.
- They also will be more affected by harsh verbal correction or discipline.
- Compliments and praise are like fuel to their soul.
- Your child will frequently ask to spend time with you, even after you just had an awesome one on one day yesterday! Lol
- Every time you turn around – they’re there looking to see what you’re doing.
- If they aren’t getting the attention they’re seeking out, they will often resort to getting attention elsewhere. This is where getting negative attention can come in.
- They’ll ask to come along when you’re just running errands. The point is, they want to be with you. Here are some great ideas for family connections!
- Your child sees receiving gifts a special moment.
- On big gift-giving days like Christmas and Birthdays, they’ll often remember who gave each and every gift.
- They will often collect and store seemingly random mementos from places they’ve been or from things they’ve been given by friends.
Acts of Service
- Your child always wants to help and will even try to take overdoing things like folding the laundry or putting away dishes as an act of love.
- They will look for things that need to be done, like cleaning up the pile of blocks that got left in the corner. They’ll feel proud and accomplished after doing this, so showing your appreciation will go a long way.
- They will naturally look for ways to help others.
How to Bond with Your Child Using Love Language
Even when you’re busy and overwhelmed with life, these ideas are so super, simple that you’ll find yourself inventing new ideas. The ways to speak your child’s love language are really endless and are only bound by your creativity and FUN! Let’s get to it.
- Watch their favorite TV show or read a book snuggled up on the couch. For ideas, check out my list of books that teach kids kindness!
- Create a special one-of-a-kind handshake.
- Give a lingering hug every day. One that just holds for an extra moment or two.
- Offer piggy-back or on-the-shoulder rides (if they’re still little enough!)
- Invite them into your lap to read as long and as often as they’ll still accept the invitation.
- Challenge them to an arm or thumb wrestling contest.
- Play a board game. Twister is a great one if you can handle it, Mom! Here are our family’s favorite board games
- ALWAYS tuck your child in for bed whenever possible.
- Wake them up sweetly with a warm snuggle instead of the light on and a, “wake up!”
- Do yoga or stretches together using each other for gentle resistance and support.
Words of Affirmation
- Write them a love note in their lunch box.
- Send them a text message telling them how awesome they are. Be specific and genuine! They’ll spot a canned praise a mile away.
- Always be ready with something awesome to say about them when they’re with their friends and/or siblings.
- When disciplining/correcting use the sandwich method. Praise – correction – praise.
- Offer words of praise that are very specific such as, “it was so awesome when you did … “
- Talk openly about them in a positive way around other family and friends.
- Always reserve correction to be given privately within your home and not around others.
- Create fan signs for your child at their sports games or other activities. And scream their name loudly if appropriate.
- Purchase a nice journal for them and write an inspiring message for them on the first page and date it. Words are important for those with this love language so journaling is usually a great activity to encourage.
- Create a secret journal that only you and your child know about that you use to write back and forth to each other. This is wonderful for those challenging tween years.
- Have a regularly scheduled date day. Could be simple and free like going to the park every Friday. Here are some great family time ideas!
- Go for a walk alone. Allow them to lead the conversation.
- Order a fun subscription box for kids. They are so much fun. My kids are obsessed with these!
- Find a way to include them in your work, if you work from home and they’re old enough. Get creative.
- Play with your child. Enter their play fort, play with their stuffed animals, and learn how to give their dolls the most stylish do’s for their latest date to the ball.
- Create a project together that the whole family can enjoy when it’s done.
- Reorganize or rearrange a room together.
- Take up a physical activity like running together. You can train together and run marathons throughout the year.
- Cook a meal together. Allow them to plan, shop, and prepare it.
- Identify a talent, hobby, or sport they love and find a way to get involved. Become a coach, a volunteer, or start your own group.
- Give unique and meaningful gifts like planting a beautiful tree together in the backyard. Preferably one of their favorites, if possible.
- Tap into your inner DIY crafter (get on Pinterest) and find something to make for your child that they can use every day like a jewelry organizer or a nice phone charging station. The fact that you took the time to make something won’t be lost on this child!
- Get creative in making gifts for classroom gift-giving seasons like Valentine’s Day. They like giving gifts as much as receiving them.
- Give them the gift of quality stationery so they can beautifully express their appreciation for the gifts they receive from others.
- Make their gifts an event or experience by coordinating a gift treasure hunt.
- Work on a project that allows them to use their talents as gift-giving opportunities.
- Give them gifts with a deeper meaning or significance such as a piece of jewelry or a personalized journal. And make the packaging thoughtful!
- Bring them a personal memento from an interesting place you went to that day or from your travels. For example, a cool-looking rock or flower. Repay the “look what I found” sentiment we get from them so often.
- Buy them personalized items with their name on it. This could be as simple as a dinner plate or cup with their name printed on it but can get more special as they get older.
- Create cool spaces for them to store their new gifts or mementos. Like baskets, shadowbox shelves, or cabinets with open spaces.
Acts of Service
- Give your child special responsibilities they personally enjoy doing such as cooking, walking the dog, or watering the plants. Allow them to have feedback in the process.
- Create opportunities to display random acts of kindness to strangers together.
- Offer to be a teacher’s helper in your child’s classroom and allow your child to work as your assistant.
- Discuss how you can work with them to use their interests to help others on your street. If they love animals, you can both offer to wash their neighbor’s dog for free together.
- Pay back their acts of service by doing one of their chores secretly.
- Let your child HELP! Even when they roll the shirts up instead of folding them.
- Plan simple random acts of kindness just for them.
- Take the time to teach. Instead of just “doing” everything, slow down and teach your child how to do something.
- Always bring extra to share. If you get a snack in the kitchen put extra on your plate so you can freely share. Or better yet, offer to get them their own plate!
- Cook them their favorite “real” breakfast every now and then on a school morning
This is just a list to get your imagination working. As a mom, it’s important for us to take the time to learn how to deliver the message of our love in a way that speaks uniquely to them. No more generic love!
Do me a favor and put in the comments below what your child’s love language is. My oldest daughter’s is giving gifts, and my middle daughter’s is physical touch. I’m not yet sure of my toddler’s yet but I’ll keep you posted.
Tell us what love expressions you’re planning next in the comments below! Let’s keep this list going beyond this 50!