Valentine’s day; think about what that day means to you. For some, it’s flowers, chocolate and a romantic date night. For others, its new valentine’s pajamas for your kids, buying cards and treats for their classrooms, and making heart shaped food. For some, you experience both of these on February 14th. Valentine’s Day is a special and intentional day to celebrate love, but love should be shown every day. You may be thinking, “I am too busy to show this kind of love every day,” and you are probably right! Between the house work, your job, your marriage and kids, and all endless activities, it is hard to show this love on a daily basis. However, Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages book lays out 5 specific ways we give and receive love that can be worked into our everyday lives. This can help people learn how they give and receive love and how to love others in a way that they best feel loved.
You have likely heard of this concept in regards to your partner or spouse, but how often have we thought about using these 5 languages to better understand our children and love them in the way they crave? The five different love languages Gary Chapman has laid out are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. These can be seen in our children through the way they respond to each of these five languages. If a child is smiling and cannot stop talking about getting ice cream with dad, this may be a good sign that quality time is very important to them. If your child is most content snuggling on the couch, or always wants to sit on your lap, it is likely that physical touch brings them feelings of safety and love. Every child feels love from each of these languages, but often they have one that matters most to them. This top language can also change as your child grows and experiences the world in new ways. It is important to stay in tune with what your child responds well to and intentionally show them love in the language they receive best. Doing this helps strengthen the parent relationship bond and shows children they can trust you. According to childwelfare.gov, a strong child-parent bond “is associated with better grades, healthier behaviors, more positive peer interaction, and an increased ability to cope with stress.” From this, you can see the importance of understanding and loving your child, and that this has a life-long impact on them as a person.
I challenge you this month to spend every day in February trying to love your child in their language. This does not have to be big, over the top, or extravagant acts, but simple and things to show your child you understand them, see what they need, and are willing to meet that need in them. Notice after those 28 days how your relationship with your child has changed, along with any other positive changes you have seen! Use those results as motivation to keep on loving your kids in their language.
***If you would like more in-depth information on love languages in your children, there are many wonderful books out there to read, including The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman.