Creative Child

Speak Your Child’s Love Language and Communicate Love More Effectively

by Deborah Song

When I try to hug and kiss my 6-year-old, she usually becomes a squirmy little worm and wiggles her way out of arms. When I tell her how proud I am of her, she offers an appreciative smile. But when I offer to make slime with her, she beams and throws me the biggest hug.

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There are many ways to show love. But the various forms of expressions are not created equal. Speaking the right love language to your child can fill his bucket a quarter full, a half full or make it overflow. Speaking your child’s love language can change the dynamic of not only your relationship with your child but the chemistry of the entire family.

The five love languages as defined by Gary Chapman in his book, “The Five Love Languages of Children,” are acts of service; words of affirmation, gifts, quality time or physical touch. Each of these expressions of love represents a different "language."

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For my squirmy 6-year-old, quality time fills her bucket most. That’s not to say she doesn’t appreciate words of encouragement or won’t enjoy a cuddle at night. But quality time is the love language that communicates love best. After a couple of hours of focused one-on-one time, I’ve noticed an increase in her level patience, cooperation and happiness during the week. She becomes less needy. Kids, after all, are just like us. When their needs are met, they have more to give. In this way, learning to speak your child’s love language can be powerful in giving your child more confidence. 

When your child is young, it’s not completely easy to distinguish his or her love language because they need all five languages: your acts of service, personal touch, words of affirmation, quality time and what child doesn’t like gifts? But as your child becomes older, his dominant love language will become clearer.

It’s important to note that what communicates love to one child may not be received the same way by another child. By understanding the five love languages, we can more easily discern the emotional needs of your child. Here is a brief description of each love language:

Words of affirmation 

Words hold great power for a child whose love language is words of affirmation. Compliments such as "You’re such a great sister!" or "You’re such a wonderful kid!” go a long way with the child who thrives on praise and encouragement. Affirming words hold the power to provide your child with security and an inner sense of worth.

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