Understanding the 5 love languages and how to apply them
It is important to know and speak your child’s ‘Love Language’. This helps strengthen parent/child bonds and is a good way to model healthy interpersonal communication with your child. When children learn that there are different ways to feel loved and connected to, as well as how to love and connect with others, you support their emotional health and wellbeing and the development of resilience.
The 5 love languages are:
- Physical touch
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Gift Giving
- Words of Affirmation
During the time between birth and 6-years-old parents will use all of the 5 love languages to meet a child’s emotional needs. Here is a quick run-down of how we can use the 5 love languages to support connection, communication and growth in the early years:
- Physical touch is the most natural language for parents. It is intuitive to hold and cuddle young children. All research indicates that children who receive tender touch at this stage of life will be much healthier emotionally than children who receive little touch.
- Acts of service is a love language that you must utilise in order for your child to survive. When your child is an infant, you feed, clean and change them. As they grow, you serve them by exposing them to things they can see, touch, taste, smell and hear. You do things for them that she cannot do for themselves.
- Quality time becomes important as children grow older. This is when reading stories, as your child sits on your lap, becomes meaningful. Playing age-appropriate games communicates that you are interested in them. The child has your undivided attention, and nothing is more important.
- Gift giving is a concept that most kids begin to understand by age 4. When you wrap a present, it is even more exciting for your little one. This provides an opportunity to teach your child to express gratitude after receiving a gift.
- Words of affirmation can encourage and inspire a young child. Praising their efforts at learning to walk gives them motivation to get up and try again. As your child begins the very first attempts at reading, your encouragement gives them the confidence to keep learning. This is also the beginning foundation for their own internal self-talk. When we model positive self-talk to our children we encourage them to be kind and compassionate towards themselves during times of challenge and upheaval.
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