A close friend recently gave me the book ‘The Five Love Languages Of Children’. I have read the adult version before and so am quite familiar with the 5 basic languages, which Gary Chapman identifies as:
- Quality time – the child who needs and desires quality time is asking for your full attention. It’s more about being together than it is about the activity you’re doing.
- Words of affirmation – this child thrives on encouraging words; conversely negative words will affect them more than it would a child whose love language is something else.
- Touch - this child understands love primarily through touch, e.g., hugs, kisses, hi-fives, tickling, and other forms of physical play.
- Gifts – loves to receive and give gifts, and may even pay attention to how the gift is presented or wrapped.
- Acts of service -this child loves to do things for you, and sees your love through the different things that you do for them.
There is a simple quiz in the book which you can go through to figure out what your child’s dominant love language is. You can also do the assessment online, though it’s probably more suitable for children aged 5 and above. I did the online one anyway, and the top two results were touch and quality time.
Well, I’m not at all surprised …don’t all young children need these basic ingredients of love to thrive?
Every child wants more time with mum and dad. In fact, kids usually want it so bad, they will go to great lengths to get it. (Usually it manifests as negative behaviour.)
As a working mum, time is most hard to come by, but still it has to be carved out. So I’ve been finding ways to communicate my love in ways that Vera understands best.
Here’s 5 simple ways:
1. Simple craft activities- I’m not a craft-y mum but I can follow simple steps to put together something vaguely artistic, and vaguely recognizable. Like this little pig that I was inspired to do after reading The Three Little Pigs that we had just borrowed from the library. I drew the pig outline, while she had fun tearing up pink paper into small bits. Then she glued them onto the pig’s body, and coloured the rest of the pig. Voila – done in 15 minutes.
2. Reading - She loves nursery rhymes, and anything that can be read with a lyrical tone. I’ve been reading to her since she was a baby, and it’s one of my favourite ways to spend time with her. Recently she’s started to hold the book up (like a teacher) and asking me ‘What’s this?’ – reverse role-play!
*Tip: Let your child sit on your lap while reading
3. Hug and kiss - we try to do this every morning and before bedtime. I’m not naturally good at hugging, but I’ve been getting better with practice.
4. Action songs and silly games – making funny faces, splashing in the tub, and singing action songs such as “round and round the garden”, and “ring around the rosies” all involve some physical contact, and are simple ways to just have FUN. *disclaimer: her dad’s still her favourite playmate, but that shouldn’t stop me from playing with her altogether.
5. Praise when she puts in effort to do something - although she may not YET seem to have a strong need for words of affirmation, I believe all children thrive on positive reinforcement, and I try my best to make sure I praise her when praise is due.
Last but not least, I try to pray with her every night. We think of things to thank God for, and it helps to make right whatever wrong things we’ve done/said during the day…somehow!
What do you think your child’s dominant love language is? And how do you communicate your love for your child?