The language of love is not restricted merely to words. In fact even before your child can process words, she is capable of understanding and reciprocating love in all sorts of different ways. Dr. Gary Chapman, in his best-selling series on love languages, has identified five love languages that your child understands and can communicate in. Here, we explain to you what those languages of love are so that you can identify what language of love your child speaks and also how you can use this information to make your kids feel loved.
Hugs and kisses
Physical touch is one of the first sensations that a newborn experiences. Hugs and kisses are, of course, the most obvious forms of this love language. Pats on the back, spinning your daughter round and round, even reading a story to her on your lap are all forms of this love language.
Have you wondered why your child reacts better to encouraging words than to a reassuring hug? Some children experience an increased sense of self-worth and security when they hear words of affirmation and praise.
Time will tell
Child psychologists are always telling you that you need to spend quality time with your children. Focussed and undivided attention is sometimes the best way to communicate with your child. Whether you take your child to the park or you're reading to them, just the fact that you're together can be all the reassurance that your child may need.
This may seem a materialistic way of expressing love to your child, but at times this is the best way to connect with them. Meaningful gifts become symbols of love and are often remembered even after several years. Sure, all kids want gifts and giving presents might seem like a superfluous way to express love in an age when kids anyway have so many privileges, but for some children, a gift may seem like an extension of you and therefore your love.
Does your child come crying to you if her bicycle has broken down or if one of her toys needs mending? She is not merely looking for you to help her; your act of service in fixing the bicycle or toy is the love language that she understands the best. Of course this does not mean that you keep fulfilling every request; there is a case to be made for letting your child become independent as well! However, for some children, this is the way they are reassured of their parents' love.
Now that you know the five love languages, how do you identify what suits your child the best. Let's find out.
How does your child express love – to you and others? Often children use the same love language that they want to experience. So if your daughter often compliments your cooking or tells you that she loves you, using affirmation as your primary language of love can help you connect better. If your son offers to do the dishes or do other household chores, it's through acts of service that you can express your love best. Also notice what your child requests for (or complains about) the most. Take your cue if your daughter says "you never have time for me", and make sure that you give her your undivided attention. As your child grows older, you can even offer a choice between two love languages-say between doing an activity together (quality time) and doing something for her (service act). Although most people express love in a combination of 2 to 3 languages, don't we all have a clear preference for one language over all others.
Have you had an experience that helped you understand your child's preferred language of love? Do share it in the comments section below