I've been reading for a while now Gary Chapman's "The Five Love Languages of Children." In it Chapman talks about the differences between physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service.
Much like the love languages needed for adults to thrive, Chapman does a great job of explaining what each child needs to thrive.
The idea is that you are trying to fill up your child's love tank. Four physical touch, Chapman explains that this type of love motivates a child. Hugs especially will be very good for a child whose love language is physical tough. It will make their emotional tank full. He explains hugs as emotional security for a child who desires physical touch.
Words of Affirmation
Kids who thrive on words of affirmation do well when a parent tells them that they love them and conveys often how they feel about them. Chapman gives an example as cheering at a game filling up a child's love tank who desires words of affirmation. He gives some ideas such as putting an encouraging note in their lunch box or texting an older child. Chapman also suggests asking your child what they want to be when they grow up and encouraging them this way.
What really makes a child feel loved who desires quality time is a parents undivided attention. You will likely understand your child needs this if you are busy doing a task and they come up to you and ask you to play or spend time with them. Chapman says that when a childs love tank for this love language is not filled that the child will go to almost any length to get what they need. Quality time is focused attention and requires real sacrifice on the part of the parent. Chapman suggests stopping what your doing and making eye contact with your child, find silly things to laugh about, or watching your child's favorite show with them.
Chapman explains that gifts can be a powerful tool for children. The other love languages lay the ground work to giving a gift for a child. You should use a combination of other love languages such as physical touch and words of affirmation along with the gift. A true gift is an expression of love and is freely given. Chapman suggests keeping a small selection of inexpensive gifts packed away from a child and bringing one out when there's a need. Carrying small snacks or candies that can be given out as a treat can also be considered a gift.
Acts of Service
Parenting is a service oriented job. A parent must serve their child. Often acts of service are physically and emotionally demanding. Serving our child we must also pay attention to our own health. Acts of service can be a model for your own child's responsibility. It can lead the ground work for children's independence. Some examples of this are helping a child practice for a sports team, sitting down and helping a child with a problem, or selecting an outfit for the day before school.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm not finished yet but I hope some of this information provided insight to your own child.
What type of love language do you think your children have right now?