Having children changed my life forever. I formed unique bonds with these tiny humans that grew inside me. However, no matter how much I tried to parent them the same, their personalities are different. And, though I care for them equally, I had to find different ways to say ‘I love you.’
Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of the bestselling “The 5 Love Languages” series, lists five different ways people show their love: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. He even has a quiz that helps identify what kind of love language a child best responds to.
In this article, I will share the various ways to say “I love you” for each love language. After you determine your child’s love language, give them all a try to let them know they mean the world to you!
Jump ahead to
1. Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are any spoken words a person uses to show their care, support, or acknowledgment of someone. Children whose love language is words of affirmation prefer hearing words that can strengthen them or make them feel loved.
In addition to saying ‘I love you,’ try speaking it in a different language. It’s a fun way for your kids to learn while practicing the three little words in another way.
- French, Je T’Aime
- German, Ich Liebe Dich
- Dutch, Ik Hou Van Je
- Norwegian, Jeg Elsker Deg
- Italian, Ti Amo
- Filipino, Mahal Kita
- Hebrew, Ani Ohev Otach
The language that is a big hit in our home right now is sign language. By creating the letter L with your index finger and thumb while raising your pinky finger, you can successfully sign “I love you.” The kids often make this motion while eating their dinner or dropping off one of them at school.
There are other sweet ways to say “I love you” without saying it. Do you know what I’m saying?
Some kids feel loved by hearing your support or thoughtfulness, such as “Awesome dinosaur drawing” or “I missed you all day today.”
You can also go a step further by promoting a growth mindset with your words. Instead of just praising your child for scoring an excellent grade on an exam, you can also acknowledge their hard work, such as “Great job on your exam. You worked really hard!”
This kind of wording promotes kids to focus on their efforts rather than the final grade. They’ll be encouraged to accept challenges and overcome obstacles. Whereas, if they focus only on the grade, they may be afraid to make a mistake.
For me, the way my mom indirectly told me she loved me was by asking me, “Did you eat?”
2. Quality Time
Quality time is when you give undivided attention to your children. I also like to call this “bucket time” because I’m filling my children’s time with all my attention.
The length of quality time can be short as 10 minutes. However, each kid must receive their own quality time. So, you may have to request help from your partner to watch the other kids. Just thank your partner in their love language.
And, most importantly, whether you have one kid or two kids, turn off your phone! It’s easy to get distracted by technology. Your loved one doesn’t want to split their time with anyone else. How much more with a smartphone? Your child will greatly appreciate it!
Once you reserve some time with your kiddo, simply ask them what they want to do. A child’s love language that is quality time will have their eyes light up.
My son always asks to cuddle with me at night. So, on Friday nights, I read him a book and lay with him until he falls asleep. It’s his dream come true!
Here are some more quality time ideas that I do with my kids:
- Bake cookies or a pizza
- Build Lego together
- Build a blanket fort
- Go biking or walking
- Soccer, basketball, or any sport
- Art projects, like painting or crocheting
- Exercise together
- Have a dance party
Mom Hack: When your children help you prepare a meal, they are more than likely to eat it. I always sneak in veggies on the pizza.
3. Acts of Service
Acts of service are when you do something for someone else. You’re choosing to stop what you’re doing for yourself to do something for them.
My son’s love language is quality time. On the other hand, my daughter’s love language is acts of service. Is it because she’s the second child? Or, is it because she is a natural princess? My husband and I are still doing our research and will return back with our findings!
Some children feel loved when you go out of your way to something for them. Regardless of the service is small or big, just the act alone is more than enough. They will find you as an utterly amazing person!
Here are some ideas of acts of service you can for your kids:
- Tucking them in at night
- Picking them up after school
- Tying their shoes
- Bring them a snack
- Carrying them through the snow
- Help them clean up the playroom
Gifts are another way parents can show their love to their children. Buying them gifts doesn’t mean you’re spoiling them to win their love. Instead, children with a love language for gifts will appreciate any kind of gift, whether big or small. These kids don’t necessarily put value in the tangible item. Instead, they value the “thought” of you giving them a gift.
The other day I brought home a bed sheet for my daughter’s sleeping cot at school. She giggled in excitement. The bedsheet was a basic color that I purchased at a local kid’s resale store. What she valued was me thinking about her when I bought her a gift, especially since she’s been reminding me about it for some time.
Here are some gift ideas to show your love and token of appreciation:
- Art supplies
- Favorite snack
- Tickets to a concert
- Lego (This is never enough Lego)
- Sport equipment
5. Physical Touch
The physical touch love language is when a child prefers physical expression compared to the other love languages. You can easily accomplish this expression with a hug or even holding their hands.
These family hugs are helpful not only in good times but also in bad times. There are times when I have to correct my son when he misbehaves. After standing in silence, he gently asks, “Can I have a hug?” He wants to feel that everything is still okay, and I always remind him that I love him.
My daughter also requires some hugs. She’ll throw a tantrum regardless of what kind of negotiation tactics I use. There is no amount of words of affirmation or gifts I can use to persuade. All she wants is a hug from mommy.
Every time, see how they respond to your kisses on their cheek. If they see you kiss someone else (i.e., daddy), see if they want some kisses too!
Here are some other ideas of love languages that use the physical expression:
- High fives
- Fist bumps
- Carrying kids on shoulders
- Rocking them to sleep
- Patting their back
- Laying next to them
- Snuggling noses together
Our children are like sponges that absorb everything around them. Therefore, the environment that we surround them in can affect them. Thus, let us cover them with our love. I’m not saying giving them a pass when they throw a fit.
But, let’s always show compassion to our babies and let them know much we really love them. Let’s tell them we love them every day and hug them before we leave for the day. Even if the last hug were hours ago, I would never get tired of a heart warm hug.
Always be present and give them your attention. There are several cute ways to tell someone you love them. With your children, there are creative ways to say I love you.
Make their world go round and build great memories that they can always cherish. So, whether they move across the country, your love’s gravity always pulls them back to you.
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