Valentine’s Day is not just an over-marketed Hallmark Holiday; it’s also an annual reminder to love your family well. But loving your children isn’t always easy. As much as we wish it would be, no one parenting journey is the same.
How frustrating can that be?!
Because every child has their own wants and needs, your parenting skills will likely differ from child to child. Especially as children develop, their knowledge of your love for them is crucial. And while there’s no blueprint that comes with your children on how to best show them love, we can provide you with resources that may give you some guidance.
You’ve probably heard of “the 5 Love Languages,” a theory developed by Dr. Gary Chapman. You’ve likely been told before to apply these principles into your romantic or familial relationships. So how can we use the 5 Love Languages as a parent? Check out some tips below:
It’s first important to mention that everyone receives and gives love differently. Don’t feel like you need to try everything on the list below. Identify which love language you think your child most identifies with and start there. That being said, don’t limit yourself to one language. Depending on how you best give love, continue showing love in the way that feels natural to you.
If your kid likes to cuddle or clings to you often, it’s likely they feel loved when receiving physical touch. If this is your child, be mindful of what physical connection looks like! Some examples could include pre-bedtime snuggles, letting them sit on your lap when reading a book, a hug at the end of the school day, or back scratches.
Words of Affirmation
A simple “I love you” goes a long way. And there’s no limit to how much you can say those three words. If your child finds verbal communication valuable, pay extra attention to your dialogue with them. Be generous with compliments and affirmations. “I’m proud of you” and “you’re doing great” go a long way in building self esteem and confidence – and are words that will imprint in your child’s mind the more they’re said.
Acts of Service
“I want to help!” There’s often that child that wants to be a part of everything. Whether it’s chores around the house, cooking dinner or taking care of their little sibling, they want a part of it; this is often an indication that they value acts of service. If this describes your child, this is what you can do: let them help! Furthermore, you can show them love by helping them with your actions: helping them with homework, cleaning their room (on occasion!) or bringing them breakfast in bed on a Saturday morning.
This one might be hard to swallow – all kids like gifts! You may notice, however, that your child especially lights up when they receive gifts – while you don’t need to indulge them with gifts every day, you can be intentional with the gifts you give. Instead of quantity, focus on quality. Pay attention to their interests and passions. Incorporate sentimentality into gifts.
Some examples include: creating a scrapbook of family photos, a journal for your child who loves to write or a framed picture of their family. Gifts don’t have to reinforce indulgence and can actually be a valuable way to tangibly show your child love.
Children naturally crave quality time, especially in their younger age. One on one time is a valuable gift you can give your child, making them feel valued amongst the busyness of life. When siblings also require attention, it’s especially impactful to carve out uninterrupted time where it’s just the two of you. This can look like each child having a night to help cook dinner, a “parent/child” day out or 30 minutes reading a book together before bed.
This list only scratches the surface of ways you can effectively and individually show your child your love for them. Even on days where these efforts feel fruitless, know that nobody knows your child like you do. Even if they’re outwardly resistant, your desire to meet and love them where they’re at means a lot and provides a feeling of safety they’ll carry with them. If you’re feeling inspired, think of one new way you can love your child this Valentines Day.
Your efforts go a long way!
For more parenting support, check out Decade2Connect today.