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!
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.
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