Did you know our children experience love in different ways? We refer to these differences as a love language. Our children usually have one or two primary ways of feeling and expressing love, and if we have more than one child, it can be different between our children. Our own love language can even be different than our children’s.
by Jillyn Kaufman
What are these love languages and why is it important to know our child’s?
The 5 Love Languages are:
Physical Touch: hugs, kisses, high fives, back rubs
Words of Affirmation: encouragement text, verbal, post-it, noticing when they’ve worked hard on something
Quality Time: include them in your daily activities, cook together, take a trip, family meals, walk or bike together, read, play a game
Gifts: give personally made coupons for them to redeem, keep a gift bag of small, inexpensive gifts for encouraging surprises, hide a gift in their lunchbox
Acts of Service: help them find or finish something, make them a special meal, help them practice for something they are involved with
Knowing the language(s) our children speak and receive love is vital to our relationship with them; it’s foundational. It’s how we build connection, how they really know we care, how we make it safe for them to receive consequences and have tough conversations.
One key note is that our love has to be unconditional, not based on what our children do or do not do. That’s not to say there can’t be consequences for certain behaviors. It just means that we don’t intentionally give or withhold love based on the actions of our children.
When our children are young, we might not yet know their main love languages. It’s important to utilize all of the love languages as we figure out with age what languages they tend toward most. Notice what they request most, what they complain about most, how they express love toward others, etc. You could even give them a choice between two options that are of different love languages, and see what they tend to pick.
What do you think you’ll do today, tomorrow, and this week to be intentional with the way you speak love to your child in their love language? I’m excited for you and your relationships!
This article is based off the research and writings of Dr. Gary Chapman; he is the author of The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Love Languages of Children.
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About Jillyn Kaufman
Jillyn and her husband, Adam, have 3 children, Maelyn (4), Allen (3), and Warren (1), that allow them to appreciate hot coffee, warm showers, and sleep-filled nights. Jillyn works as a school-based therapist. She is passionate about mental health and being an advocate for her daughter who was born deaf. When she isn’t wife-ing, mom-ing, and working, Jillyn might be reading, Netflix-ing, crafting, or napping.