Part of raising happy, healthy kids is providing them with unconditional love and support.  In this, we hope that our kids are able to recognize and appreciate the love and affection we shower upon them.  Just as we cannot parent any two children exactly the same, each child may receive love in a different way.  We can use the principles of the love languages to ensure our kids are receiving our love in the best way possible.

With a few small tweaks, the love language categories can easily be applied to showing affection to our children.  We may need to do a little more observation, as most kids are incapable of identifying or verbalizing how they appreciate affection.  Instead, pay attention to what your child gravitates towards.  The following parenting tips can help identify your child’s love language and provide examples of how to show them affection.

–Do they like to cuddle up, crawl in your lap or ask to be carried?  This is likely a child whose love language is physical touch.   Make efforts to hold hands and hug this child often.  Create touch opportunities with regular activities (have them sit in your lap or next to you on the couch when reading).

–If you notice that your child responds particularly strongly to being told they’ve done a good job or receiving praise from others, you might be looking at a child who craves words of affirmation.  Leave notes of encouragement around their room or in their lunch, praise them aloud around others, say “I Love You” often and around others.

–A child who tries to get your undivided attention and wants you next to them while they’re playing is most likely to speak the love language of quality time.  These kids appreciate running errands with you, having one on one time, and planning special events or trips.

–Does your child seem particularly drawn to special presents or surprises and feel especially good when someone gives them something?  If so, gifts may be their primary love language.  For these kids, keep some small, inexpensive gifts on hand to present them with on a regular basis.

–If your child responds strongly to others doing nice things for them, their love language is likely acts of service.  These kids will respond to working on a project or practicing sports/skills together, or taking care of a chore for them.

For more info about the love languages for kids:

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