How The Five Love Languages Changed My Parenting Style
If you are interested in finding out effective ways to communicate love to your kids using the five love languages, then you are for sure in the right place.
Most of us would agree that when our children entered the world, it was love at first sight. It’s not hard to love our kids. That love is wired into our makeup as moms.
However, in the hustle and bustle of parenting and daily life, we may not be communicating love to our kids in the best ways (not even realizing it!)
I’m going to highlight 5 effective ways to communicate love to your kids.
The Five Love Languages was created by the famous author Dr. Gary Chapman.
According to Dr. Chapman, we are all wired to give and receive love differently. He says, “What makes one person feel loved will not make another person feel loved. We must discover and speak each other’s love language.”
Let’s dive into these concepts and learn and grow together, so that we can love our kids in meaningful ways!
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What Are The 5 Love Languages?
- physical touch
- words of affirmation
- quality time
- receiving gifts
- acts of service
Dr. Chapman says since we are all wired differently, those differences translate into the ways we give and receive love. When we learn these differences about the people closest to us, it provides us with valuable insight into who they are!
Do you, as a mom, want to know what makes your child feel loved?
Let’s explore these 5 love languages in detail and maybe you’ll get a better idea of how your little one is wired.
Hopefully at the end of this article you will be better equipped to fill your child’s love tank in very meaningful ways.
What is a love tank and how does that help communicate love to your kids?
In the book, The Five Love Languages of Children, the authors talk about children having a love tank that needs to be filled on a daily basis:
““Inside every child is an ‘emotional tank’ waiting to be filled with love. When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally, but when the love tank is empty, the child will misbehave. Much of the misbehavior of children is motivated by the cravings of an empty ‘love tank.’”
~Dr. Ross Campbell, co-author of The Five Love Languages of Children
I can definitely pinpoint times my 7 year-old has had her tank filled and been a delight: sweet, caring, obedient, fun-loving.
Other times, Addie has been more difficult.
In hindsight many of those moments occurred when I was busy blogging, doing dishes, or trying to get stuff done, instead of engaging one on one with her.
An empty love tank is no excuse for rotten behavior and disobedience, but it’s nice to notice patterns and survey my own actions and how they may have contributed to the frustration.
How do I fill my child’s love tank?
Some people are all about physical touch. They are the ones to always give hugs, kisses on the cheek, hand-holders, snugglers, arm rubbers, etc. Touching them and doling out the touch equates to love!
They thrive on that physical contact.
Think about your kids for a second. Do all of them enjoy being held or snuggled on the couch? Probably not.
Usually in a batch of 3-4 kids, you may have 1 or 2 who really love snuggling. It’s like pulling teeth to get the other ones to sit next to you on the couch for more than 2 minutes because physical touch doesn’t fill their love tanks. That’s not how they’re wired!
Maybe you as a parent appreciate physical touch, but that’s not the most effective way to communicate love to your child.
It’s important when learning these love languages that you don’t assume that your primary love language is the same as your children.
God has created us all beautifully unique. We need to appreciate those differences, even when it comes to loving one another!
If your child’s primary love language is physical touch, here are some ways you can fill their love tank each day:
- Snuggle on the couch and read a book together
- Give your child a back scratch
- Be okay if your child wants to rub your arms or hold your hand
- Cuddle at bedtime and tell stories
- Make sure to give hugs!
Words of Affirmation
This is totally one of my love languages, and I’ve known this for a while.
I don’t need flowers on my birthday or big gifts, but if people write me cards and meaningful notes, I will save them and re-read them! Those notes are good as gold and speak so much love to my heart!
Words of affirmation are meaningful, life-giving words that encourage and lift others up.
In regards to your children, your words matter, especially if your child receives love through affirming words.
What are some ways I can use words of affirmation with my child?
Here are some great ideas!
- Write your child a note and put it in their lunchbox
- Be specific when complimenting your child rather than just saying “Good Job.”
- On birthdays, have each family member say one blessing or thing they’re thankful for about the birthday person
- Have a journal that you and your child write back and forth in
- Keep track of awesome things your child has done throughout the year and write them down. Give them the list on their birthday.
- In discipline conversations, affirm their good character and remind them of how special they are
- Have other people in their lives write them special notes
- Be specific in why you are proud of them
Bottom line, our words are powerful. They have the ability to build up or destroy.
If you have a kid whose tank is filled through affirming words, then make a point to speak encouragement into their lives in meaningful ways. Stand back and watch your connection with them deepen!
I can 100% affirm that this is Addie’s primary love language.
When other people spend quality time with her, especially when it’s focused and uninterrupted, it’s like someone is saying, “I love you” to Addie.
I have seen firsthand how Addie’s love tank is filled when her Daddy goes on a bike ride with her or if she and I play a game together.
Saying yes to her ideas and taking the time to engage with her is extremely effective in communicating love.
The opposite is true as well.
When I don’t take the time to engage with Addie or have focused time together (aka putting my phone in another room!) I can see her spirit get down and oftentimes misbehavior will happen.
I’m not at all saying that every single time your child asks you to do something you have to do what they say.
Parenting doesn’t work like that.
What I am saying is if you have a child who thrives on quality time together, remember to find time during the day and engage with them in focused play and interaction.
Their tank will be filled and your relationship will grow closer!
Here are some ideas for quality time with your kids:
- Lunch date at their favorite place
- Play at the park
- Bake together
- Go shopping
- Play their favorite game
- Have a YES day where you say yes to their requests
- Take them grocery shopping with you
- Look up a craft online and make it together
- Have a special movie time
- Build a fort
- Make homemade play-doh
- Take a walk together
These aren’t hard things to pull off, but do require some intentionality.
You can do this Mama!
How do I learn my child’s love language?
Start by snagging this great book on the topic!
The Five Love Languages Of Children by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell
You (or your child) can also take the 5 love languages quiz to gain more understanding and insight.
There is also a great love languages book for TEENS!
Do you have a child whose eyes light up when they receive a special gift?
Mom: “Sweetie, I got something for you! Can you come here for a second?”
Child: “You did? What is it Mommy?” (bouncing up and down with excitement)
Mom: “I know you love to play dress up, so I got you a new crown and necklace.”
Child: “Mommy! I love it so much! Thank you. Thank you! I love you so much Mommy.”
(proceeds to give her mommy multiple hugs)
Mom: “I love you too honey.”
In this example, the daughter was thrilled to receive the new accessories! She was bouncing up and down with excitement. Her love tank was obviously filled with this kind gesture from her mom.
If my child appreciates receiving gifts, what are some inexpensive ways to pull this off?
You obviously can’t physically give your child a new gift or toy every day. Not happening.
But if you have a child who receives love in this way, you should incorporate this love language into your parenting.
Whether it’s big or small, communicate love to your child.
Here are some inexpensive ideas for gifts:
- Go get a free ice cream together at a restaurant
- If your child is into books, buy a book on Amazon and let them open it at breakfast before school
- If you go back-to-school shopping, save one of the outfits you purchased and wrap it up for them to open one of the first weeks of school
- Spread out their birthday gifts instead of opening them all on the same day
- Take them shopping with you so they can pick something out on their own
- Get them a gift card to their favorite store
Don’t get overwhelmed, just be intentional and love your child well!
Acts of Service
As parents it seems we are always serving our children. It comes with the territory.
But when communicating love to certain kids, acts of service can go a long way.
These are just simple ways of helping your children throughout the week, and if they’re older, lightening their load a bit.
For instance, maybe your child has a weekly responsibility of folding and putting away their laundry.
If this happens to be a child who appreciates acts of service, maybe one week you could fold and put away the laundry.
The conversation could go like this:
Mom: “Honey, I know you’ve been pretty busy this week so I thought if I took your job of folding and putting away your laundry, that would help you.”
Son: “Really Mom? Thanks!”
Mom: “Now don’t think it’s going to happen every week.” (obviously said in a light-hearted, joking tone)
Acts of service don’t have to be elaborate, but you need to put some thought into them.
Here are some other ways you can bless and fill your child’s love tank with acts of service:
- Do a chore for them
- Make them their favorite snack and have it ready when they get home from school
- If they forgot something at school, bring it before you get the phone call
- Help them get a chore done faster by doing it together
- When you pick them up from soccer practice, take them through their favorite restaurant as a treat
None of these ideas are difficult to execute. As moms, we need to take the time to do these acts of service for our children. Fill their love tanks!
What have you learned about the five love languages that you can apply right now?
If you’ve made it through the article, then you definitely care about loving your children in healthy, meaningful ways.
When it comes to how to communicate love to your kids, be intentional in your approach to each of your children.
Remember that no two kids are the same, even with twins!
God has wired each of us and each of our kids in unique ways.
Discover your child’s love language and cater your parenting style appropriately.
Don’t expect magical overnight results.
Give yourself and your kids lots of grace.
Enjoy watching your relationships with your kids blossom as you both learn how to give and receive love!
Leave a comment about what you learned from this article. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Lots of love to each of you!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” ~Romans 15:13
Cover Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels