Discovering Your Child’s Love Language
In his book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, Gary Chapman helps shed light on the unique ways that different people give and receive love: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch (Learn more about each of these on the 5 Love Languages website). His insight applies to the way we interact with our kids and how they relate to us as well. People often have love on the mind during the month of February thanks to Valentine’s Day, but this year, think about how you can better show your love, respect and affection to your children after identifying their unique love languages.
Determining a clear love language in toddlers and young children can be challenging, as they are not yet fully developed socially, but you can get somewhere by asking them questions and getting clues from their behaviors as they grow.
Talking to Your Child
One of the best ways to better understand your child’s primary love language is to talk to and interact with them. Chapman recommends, “[asking] him or her to draw or call out some ways parents love their children. You should try not to guide their drawings or answers.“ Other recommendations include:
- When reading books or watching programs, ask your child, “How do you know that that mommy or daddy loves that little boy or little girl?”
- Experiment over the period of a week by intentionally showing love in each of the five ways and gauging their responses.
- Ask them about some of the ways parents show love. The first answer or two is the best key to learning their primary love language.
- Play the “Love Languages Mystery Game,” an interactive quiz that tallies points and reveals the child’s language. This is best for children 8 and up. (5lovelanguages.com)
Once you have a better idea of what makes your child smile and feel loved, you can make the most of every opportunity to exemplify Christ-like love and strengthen your bond.