Have you ever wondered why your child loves to bring you random things throughout the day like rocks? Or why they constantly want you to hold them? Or why they stall bedtime because they want to talk? Children have a hypothetical bucket that must be filled throughout the day with love, attention, and quality time. Honing in on your child’s love language can really help you find out the best way(s) to fill that bucket in the day. What happens when that bucket doesn’t get filled in the day? They act out at bedtime. They throw tantrums. I’m not saying that if you fill their bucket throughout the day that they won’t ever act out or throw tantrums. That’s just part of being a parent.
Finding your child’s love language can also help promote and foster a strong, secure attachment with each other. It helps promote their emotional stability and confidence which will help them at night to feel secure in themselves. For children under 4, they usually have not developed a primary love language. They bounce between all of them. As your child reaches toddlerhood, you can begin to see a lean towards 1-2 of the love languages.
What are the 5 love languages?
When someone’s love language is quality time, they feel the most loved when they spend time with those that they love. The quality time can be actively doing something together or just simply sitting in your presence.
If your child’s love language is quality time, you might find them saying things like “Mommy come play this game with me” or “come sit with me.” Alternatively, they might just be your shadow. Your child might sit with you while getting ready or while cooking dinner. You probably will feel like you have no personal space, but this is how your child is expressing that love language.
ACTS OF SERVICE
With the love language of acts of service, the person with this love language feels the most loved when someone does things for them. This can be something small like opening doors, or they can be something like doing the dishes or taking over the to-do list.
If your child’s love language is acts of service, you might find them asking you to put their shoes on when you know that they can do it themselves. At the time it can be extremely frustrating because as parents we work so hard to teach our kids to do things on their own just for them to “need” us to do it. Your child might also try to do thing for you which can be frustrating in its own way especially when they try to get something off a top shelf and end up dropping it all over the floor.
When someone’s love language is gifts, they love to receive gifts. With this language, it really isn’t about the actual gift but the thought behind it. For example, my husband brings me home drinks from sonic occasionally, and that means the world to me. No, the drinks aren’t some big, grand gift, but the fact that he thought of me and thought “This will make her happy” just makes me feel so loved.
If your child’s love language is gifts, they might come and give you random things throughout the day. These can be things like flowers, rocks, bugs, etc. This love language can be one of the most difficult ones to do with your children. Some good ways to fill your child’s love bank this way are to give them little small things like paper airplanes, crafts, etc. It doesn’t have to be anything big. They love the feeling when you have something behind your back and say “I have a surprise for you!”
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
When someone’s love language is words of affirmation, they feel the most loved when they are told loving, positive things. They love positive affirmation and praise for things they do.
When your child’s love language is words of affirmation, they love being told how much you love them, how proud you are of them, and other things like that. They tend to be very talkative because they want your positive reactions to what they are telling you. You might find them constantly saying things like “Mommy look at this” or “Do you like this?”
When someone’s love language is physical touch, they love the closeness that comes with holding hands, hugging, and general touch. For these people, even a small touch like a hand on the back or shoulder means the world to them.
If your child’s love language is physical touch, you might find them trying to sit in your lap constantly or wanting you to hold them all day. While this is extremely taxing, especially when you have other children you have to take care of, it is important to them that you take time out of the day to fill that bank of physical touch. Spend about 15-20 minutes snuggling during the day.
How can you implement these during the day?
My suggestion is to actively do one thing that speaks your child’s love language, or spend 20 minutes doing something with your child. Ideally, you’d work up to doing more and more as you are able, but this is a great place to start. Work together with your partner on this because it is very important that you both work together on filling your child’s cup.
If you notice that your child is starting to act out more, try spending a little extra time doing things for/with them. Everyone has ups and down, and you will not be perfect every day. The most important thing is that you try and do your best.
If you would like more information on love languages, check out the books written by Dr. Gary Chapman or visit this website to take the quiz.