Family, Kids & Relationships

Do you know your child’s love language?

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Everyone experiences love in similar ways, but there are usually one or two that matter most, especially to children. Understanding what your child’s love language is can help you communicate that love, deepening the bonds between you and helping them feel appreciated and accepted. 

This not only boosts their confidence, it also helps them become more resilient beings knowing they have a safe place to come to with you. It can even help improve their behavior and listening!

Below, discover which love language is most meaningful to your child, plus tips for how to express that love in just the right way.

Quality Time

If your child begs you to play with them and watch them while they run, swing, or play with their toys, they’re probably craving focused, one-on-one attention. 

  • Play a board game, hide and seek, or start a game of chase.
  • Draw or color together.
  • Invite them to go on an errand with you.
  • Read stories or write your own plays and act them out.
  • Make eye contact when they’re talking.
  • Bake cookies or cupcakes together.

Words of Affirmation

If your kiddo often says sweet things to you, or lights up anytime you give them even the slightest compliment, words of affirmation may be their love language.

  • Share funny or sweet stories about them, or talk about happy memories together.
  • Finish this sentence: “I was really impressed when you _______.”
  • Tell them you love them often.
  • Write a love note on the bathroom mirror.
  • Thank them for something they did or said.
  • Let them overhear you praising them to another person.

Acts of Service

Kids who always seem to ask for help or simply appreciate thoughtful gestures often communicate via this love language.

  • Warm up their clothes in the dryer on a chilly morning.
  • Help them finish a task or chore.
  • Surprise them with their favorite snack.
  • Offer to braid their hair or make their bed.
  • Fix something of theirs that’s broken.
  • Teach them how to tie their shoes or how to do a math problem, then sit next to them while they do it themselves, encouraging them the whole way through.

Physical Closeness

Some kids are just natural-born snugglers, ready to crawl in your lap or grab your hand any chance they get. 

  • Hug, kiss, and high-five them often.
  • Tousle their hair when they walk by.
  • Hold hands while you stroll the park or a store.
  • Snuggle while you watch movies, read books, or sit quietly.
  • Give a soft back rub or foot massage at bedtime.
  • Wrestle or rough house, if they like that kind of play.

Gifts

Some kids interpret thoughtful presents as acts of love rather than just “more stuff,” remembering who gave them what for years and having trouble throwing things away. Usually the more homemade the gift, the better.

  • Draw your child a funny picture and slip it into their lunchbox.
  • Pick flowers for your kiddo on your next walk.
  • Have a mini celebration for an event that’s meaningful for them, like getting a high score on their favorite game.
  • Hang their precious artwork and set aside space for all their “special stuff.”
  • Leave a chocolate on their pillow one night.
  • Write them a letter and send it through the regular mail.

Dealing with school closures, childcare issues, or other challenges related to coronavirus? Find support, advice, activities to keep kids entertained, learning opportunities and more in our Coronavirus Parents: Parenting in a Pandemic Facebook Group.

For ongoing updates on coronavirus-related issues and questions that impact children and families, please find additional resources here.




The former Content Director at Parenting, parenting.com and several other brands, Ana Connery is a writer and content strategist whose work appears in USA Today, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, Cafe Mom/The Stir, Momtastic, and others.