Find the BEST Way to Let Your Child Know You Love Them
Ever think about how your child wants you to express your love for them? How do they actually experience our love and care?
Just like us adults, your child has a unique way they are particularly wired to receive affection and care.
I recently came across an article on best-selling author Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages and realized it could be an interesting framework to consider how we care for our children, not just our lovers, partners, or spouses.
Consider which of the following may be the BEST way for you to express your love for your child:
1. Words of affirmation. As Carol Dweck’s research at Stanford reminds us, words of affirmation should be focused on a child’s hard work, effort, or perseverance, rather than on innate aspects of their personality or their “smarts.” Notice if your child seems to blossom and open up when you praise or compliment their hard work or effort on a task.
2. Acts of service. Doing something to help your child may be a way that they experience your love. Perhaps your child opens up and connects with you when you are helping them with homework, or helping them clean their room, or giving them a ride to a desired activity.
3. Receiving gifts. Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful! Notice if your child responds to a gift by opening up and connecting with you in some way.
4. Quality time. This is a BIG one as a parent! We are all busy and sometimes that gift of a few moments of our undivided attention can be the best way to demonstrate our love for them. Consider ways to build quality time into your daily life with your child at home. It could be turning off devices for a certain period of time, eating dinner or dessert together, or reading a book each night before bed. For older kids, you can do parent-child “dates” where you take your child out for some 1:1 time with you at a place they choose.
5. Physical touch. Some kids are snuggle-bugs; they crave physical affection and touch. This is 100% the love language of my youngest child, so every day I make sure to spend at least 5 minutes of quality time snuggling with him before he goes to sleep, and I give him a big good morning hug every morning when he wakes up. If you child craves physical touch, aim to give them more hugs and deep pressure (try doing a steamroller!).
Every parent can figure out their child’s love language and use that knowledge to better communicate their love for their child.
So what do you think is your child’s favorite way to experience your love for them? Does it match what you’ve been doing lately?