I bet you’ve heard of The 5 Love Languages? You may have even taken the quiz to find out which one you identify most with. Have you ever thought about what your child’s love language is? How does your daughter give and receive love? Is it through receiving gifts like her favorite snack? Or does your son light up with words of affirmation? After months of being home you might think you know your child’s love language; but there’s only one way to find out.
Thanks to Dr. Gary Chapman’s 1992 book, and the online quizzes, we have a better understanding of specific ways to demonstrate and practice love. It had been a while since I looked at my quiz results, so imagine my surprise to see quiz options for kids ages 5-17*. Kids ages 9-12 answer questions about which statement they prefer to hear (let’s watch TV together or tag, you’re it), while teens 13-17 choose a statement that fits them better (I like to receive affirming notes and texts or I like to be hugged).
While I love my son and I know he loves me, I didn’t know how he liked to show and receive love. So after his virtual school day ended I read the statements and he selected his preference one-by-one revealing his primary love language is receiving gifts. No matter their age- I can’t think of one parent who doesn’t want a stronger relationship with their children, and one way to do that is to find out how they want to be loved. So, get ready to invest your effort, while keeping an open heart, and be prepared to put into
practice what you learn.
Children deserve your effort
Trust me, I know it will take time to ask your children the questions, then decipher the results; they are worth it and so is the relationship you have with them. It feels good to know someone took time to ‘go the
extra mile’ right? Our children are no different. The time you spend learning your child’s love language will have immeasurable benefits.
Open your heart and your mind
As parents we’re never too old to learn, this includes learning new ways to be better parents. The 5 Love Languages quizzes are not rocket science! Be open to learning new ways to connect with your children for their benefit and development.
Practice makes you better
Your children took the quiz, you know their Love Language…now what? It’s time to put what you’ve learned to action. Here are some ideas to help you love your child according to their special language.
Acts of service– Help your daughter build a Lego masterpiece, or grab the dish towel to pitch in on your son’s dish day.
Physical touch– A gentle stroke of their hair, a hug, or even a hand on their shoulder sends a reassuring message of love.
Quality time– Go for a walk, watch a movie, play a game, or read a book together. Playing Uno and watching Sister Sister are our favorites.
Receiving gifts– Pick up that snack or trinket you heard your son mention. It’s all about your thoughtfulness for this one.
Words of affirmation– Go beyond physical compliments and tell your daughter she is creative. Leave a note on your son’s computer reminding him he’s unique.
Our children’s first relationships are with us, and as their parents, we can shape their understanding of what healthy connections should look like.
SHARE feedback with me about your experience learning your child’s Love Language and ways you express love to them according to their unique style. Leave a COMMENT!
*For kids ages 5-8, it is recommended to engage them in activities where they talk about or draw how parents love their children.
This article was featured in the February edition of Baltimore’s Child magazine.