As a mother, I try to show my children how much I love them. Saying “I love you”, making their favorite meal, or watching a movie with them are some of the ways that I express my love for them. I perceive love by the words my children tell me and by acts of service they render. One of my children is constantly touching me, hugging me, and asking me to rub her head. She perceives my love best through physical contact. It is important to identify the way your child best feels love and incorporate that into the way you show love.
As human beings, we all have the natural need for love and acceptance. Fulfillment of these needs helps us to feel safe, appreciated, needed, and able to perceive the world as a safe place. When a child feels love and acceptance, they are happier, more confident, and more willing to accept correction and disappointment.
The first step in identifying your child’s primary love language is to pay close attention to how they show you love. We all tend to offer affection in the way we wish to receive it. It is important to work to express love for your children not only the same way you feel it but the way that speaks to them. Not all children perceive love in the same way, for this reason, it is important to pay very close attention to each child’s expressions of love.
There are five love languages, five ways of expressing and perceiving love. We all perceive love in all five languages but we each have one or two languages that speak more meaningfully to us as individuals.
These 5 languages are:
- Physical Touch This can include hugs, kisses, reading a book with your child on your lap, a pat on the back, high-fives, and other physical expressions of love.
- Words of Affirmation This language includes expressions like “I love you” as well as words of encouragement and praise. The words that you say to your children will stay with them for a lifetime.
- Quality Time Sometimes we may believe that to have quality time, we need a lot of time. We can make quality time by being invested in a few moments during the day. Giving our full attention to our children during those moments is more important than how long we are together. We can play a game together, talk about their favorite topic during car rides, tuck them in at night, or any other way that would speak to them.
- Receiving Gifts This language is expressed through the things we give to our children and by showing appreciation when they make something for us. In this language, it is not about how expensive the gift is, but how thoughtful it is. If you give your child a little something that they were talking about a few days prior, it will show your child that you were listening to their wants and needs and that you made an extra effort in remembering them.
- Acts of Service This is something as simple as opening the door for your child, fixing their bike, making their favorite dinner, or any other act of service where they would feel love and appreciated.
We all love our children and by learning their love language we can show that love in a way that will be clear and meaningful to them and for them.