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Archive for May 2013

5 love languages of children – Affirmation & Quality Time

The second love language is words of affirmation.  In communicating love, words are powerful.  Words of affection and endearment, words of praise and encouragement, words that give positive guidance all say, “I care about you.”  Even though words are quickly said, they are not soon forgotten.  A child recaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime.

Mark Twain once said “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.”  So with our children, even if this isn’t their love language, they still need to be encouraged, and even more so if it is.

My oldest daughter Rachel wanted to learn how to whistle; so on her own she puckered her lips and started to blow air.  She came to me excited, “daddy listen”, and she puckered and blew.  Only the sound of air came out.  I said “wow, you are starting to get it, good job!  Keep practicing and you will get a lot better!”  She now can whistle good enough to fool the birds.  Now what if I had laughed and said what are you trying to do?  She might have walked away discouraged, and stopped trying.

Whatever our words are, we need to choose wisely, and use words that lift the people around us up.  Jesus said “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Here is a guide for words:

Describes your child: 

Likes others to tell them they did a good job

Favorite words include: Terrific!, good job!, you’re #1!, awesome kid!, you did it!

Some tips:

Write notes on the mirror, compliment, speak positively about them, always say I love you, praise them around others, write a letter to them, come up with a cheer or a song with their name in it, and be specific in your praise.


The third love language is quality time.  Simply put, quality time is focused attention.  It means giving your child your undivided attention.  Even if your child’s primary love language is not quality time, many children crave the undivided attention of parents.  Much childhood misbehavior is an attempt to get more time with Mom or Dad.  Even negative attention seems better than no attention to the child.

It is easier to give physical touch and words of affirmation than quality time.  The reason is because it requires real sacrifice on the part of the parents.  Few of us have enough time to do everything we need and want to do; giving a child quality time may mean that we must give up something high on our list of preferences.  So what can we do?  Is it possible to love a child and still get your own work done?  The answer is yes.  Consider giving your child fifteen minutes of quality time before you start a task, that may help you be able to get whatever it is done without too many interruptions.

Don’t miss this point; quality time is a gift of presence to a child.  It conveys this message: “you are important.  I like being with you.”  It makes the child feel that he is the most important person in the world to the parent.  He feels truly loved because he has his parents all to himself.  So, it is not the activity or the event itself, but that you are doing something together, being together.

Here is guide for quality time:

Describes your child

Loves to do things with you:  watch a movie, yard work, go out to eat, run errands, play a game.  Tries to get your undivided attention.  Wants to sit next to you or have you watch them while they are playing.

Some tips: 

Run errands together 1 on 1, date night / breakfast 1 on 1, make eye contact, ask about day, pay attention to details, plan special events / trips, eat together as a family, read together, and bedtime routine.

Other resources; 5 love languages of children study guide and the 5 love languages of children profile

Written by Jeff Neeley with portions from 5 love languages of children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

5 love languages of children – physical touch

Is your child’s primary love language physical touch?  For children who understand this love language, physical touch will communicate more deeply than telling them “I love you”, fixing a bicycle, buying them a present, or spending time with them.  Of course, they still receive love in all the languages, but for them the one with the clearest and loudest voice is physical touch.  Without hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and other physical expressions of love, their love tanks will remain less than full.

Physical touch is the easiest love language to use unconditionally, because parents don’t need an excuse to touch their child.  Think about it, even when we are busy we can still touch their arm, back, rub their head, or touch their shoulder.  My favorite is leaping off the footboard of their beds and bouncing on top of them.  On the other side of that, when you refuse physical touch it makes your child with this love language feel rejected and unloved.

My youngest, Madison, is a kindergartener, and her primary love language is physical touch.  Just this last weekend we went on a scooter ride to a pond to try and catch some frogs.  After 30 minutes of not catching a thing (I think the frogs still think it is winter) we headed back.  Madison informed me that she was tired and wanted me to carry her, so I tossed her on my shoulders and she played with my face and head the entire way back.  In fact at one time she was trying to fold my eyelids in half.  She wanted physical touch, and if she had it her way every day would be a shoulder ride tickle fest.

Each of us know that as they get older, the type of physical touch that they need changes. Boys especially can go through a time where they resist physical touch.  They suggest that you resist the urge to back off and give them the physical touch they need, however hugging and kissing them in front of their friends is not a great idea.  Instead you could wrestle, play a sport, sneak a pat on the back, or foot wrestle.   The book (The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell) does give some really good examples of what physical touch looks like through the years for both boys and girls here are just a couple of examples:

Infants and toddlers:  hugs and kisses, piggy back rides, and other playful touches, reading a book in your lap.

School age child:  hugs before and after school, wrestling, high fives, bear hugs, and sports.

Approaching adolescence and Teenager:  I would suggest reading this part.  However, they suggest that the more they feel loved at home, the healthier their relationships are with their parents; they will be better equipped to deal with the negative peer pressure that comes with growing up.

So this week, if you haven’t done so already, take the quiz on each of your children and find out what their primary language is.  After that start taking language lessons!

Other resources; 5 love languages of children study guide and the 5 love languages of children profile

Article by Jeff Neeley