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EveryDay Learners: Expressing affection to your children through love languages

By Samantha Fransisco - Special to the Daily Herald | Jun 1, 2024

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Using one of the five love languages is a great way to express love to your children.

When we talk about love languages, we usually talk about it in the sense of significant others. However, these love languages are also great ways to express your love to your own children.

Here are the five love languages and ways we can apply them as parents:

Receiving gifts: This does not have to be something store bought! It can be:

  • Writing a note or drawing them something for their lunch box if they are unable to read yet.
  • Leaving a note/flower at their bedside for when they wake up.
  • Making their sandwich in the shape of their favorite animal or thing (a car, boat, etc).

A gift that shows you listen to your child’s interests can mean so much — the more creative, the better!

Words of affirmation: This is so simple but can be so powerful. It is so important to take the time to express words of love and care to those around us, ourselves and especially our children. It is something as simple as “I love you,” “I am proud of the person you are,” “You have a good heart,” etc.

Words of affirmation are said to decrease stress and exercise your brain. While a lot of affirmations tend to start with “I,” we could change the “I” to “you” or “we.”

Acts of service: As parents, this may come easier. Parents are always doing acts of service for their children. The power of this love language is the separation of things we have to do as parents and intentionally doing something that you know your child would love, such as:

  • Baking their favorite treat.
  • Making their favorite meal.
  • Creating their favorite hairstyle for them in the mornings.

Physical touch: Hugs, high fives, kisses and cuddles. Physical touch can lower heart rate and blood pressure, lessen depression and anxiety, boost your immune system and relieve pain. Simple ways to express physical affection include giving them a kiss before they go to bed, giving them a hug and telling them you love them, or giving them a high five after they do something they were originally scared to do. These can make a big difference!

Quality time: Spending quality time with your child is so important. This can be playing a favorite game together, planning a fun day as a surprise, reading a book with your child, or listening to your child describe their favorite movie to you. Quality time with your child can make your child feel valued and loved because you are taking time out of your busy schedule to spend time with them.

By understanding a child’s preferred love language, we can better connect and show our love for them in a way that is most meaningful to them. This understanding may look different at different stages of your child’s life. If a child prefers quality time and we show love by giving gifts, we can see how that may bring a feeling of disconnectedness.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with applying all of these love languages to the family, though it is important to know which ones mean the most to your child. Making your child feel loved in the home builds a foundation for them for how they will show and receive love now and as they grow older.

United Way of Utah County is on a mission to help promote literacy and healthy child development. EveryDay Learners has several programs such as HelpMeGrow Utah, Welcome Baby, and South Franklin Community Center to support these efforts. Visit us at unitedwayuc.org to learn more about these programs or find any of them on our Instagram pages.


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