Let's talk about LOVE!
How can we fill our kid's love language? With reading and reading related activities, of course! If you've never heard of or read about the five love languages, have no fear. There's no need for a translator. Basically, the concept is that everyone gives and receives love in one of five ways. Occasionally you'll find someone with a strong secondary language, but there's usually one that's dominant.
We often try to meet the needs of others with our own love language and wonder why our efforts go unappreciated. The problem is that we've expressed love in the way that's most meaningful to us (Oops, I'm sorry, was I wearing, "me," colored glasses? My mistake). They're not wrong, they're just wired to see love differently.
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Your love language can change during the course of your life, as well. When my son was a toddler he had to tell me all day long how much he loved me and how beautiful I was (I know, what terrible torture, right?) Now that he's turning 9 he's much more spare with his compliments (boo-hoo!). Instead, now he'll ask, "Mom, can you play a game with me?" See if you can figure out what his love language was and what it is now from the description below.
The five love languages are:
Words of affirmation- Compliments, positive words and praise.
Physical touch- Any affirming touch that's loving in nature. This could be hugs, pats on the back or head, holding hands, or any touch that is positive, intentional and appropriate in front of others.
Quality Time- This could be either quality time activities or quality conversation (some quality time people gravitate heavily towards one and not the other). Anything that gives the impression you've set time aside just for them to do something together or have meaningful conversation could meet this need.
Gifts- "It's the thought that counts," was likely coined by someone with gifts as their love language. Give this person a gift and they feel that you thought about them while you we're apart. They tend to give very thoughtful gifts.
Acts of Service- This is the person who says, "Don't tell me that you love me, show me." Any action that could be seen as serving them or something that was done with them in mind.
In our fast paced world, if you only have twenty minutes to spend one on one with your kids, make the time count as much as possible and, "fill their love tank." The theory is that kids with a full love tank behave better because they feel connected to their parents and the desire to please is greater. Better behaved kids? Bring it on! But how?
If you're not sure which love language your child has, just ask them, "How do you know that -Mom/Dad/Auntie/Grampa/(fill- in-the-blank) loves you?" Their answer will give you a clue. If they're not sure, you can give multiple choice questions. Example: If you wanted to really show someone that you love them, would you rather make them a gift or tell them how much you love them? Would you rather have a hug or a special dinner made for you? If you're still stuck, buy the book by author Gary Chapman, it's well worth it to better understand your kids and make your time together count.
Let's look at how reading and reading related activities can help meet the needs of all the love languages.
Words of affirmation:
When asked, "How do you know that _________ loves you?" this child might answer, "Because they tell me that they love me and say nice things."
How can reading fill this love language?
- Brag about what a great reader they are(or are becoming) in front of others.
- When going to the library, compliment them on their choice of books. "You've got a good eye for a good book!"
- Let them carry some or all of the books and thank them. "You're such a big help!"
- When reading together, tell them how much you enjoy reading with them.
- When you're finished say, "That was some awesome reading! Good job!"
When asked, "How do you know that _________ loves you?" this child might answer, They give me lots of hugs and kisses," or, "They cuddle with me."
How can reading fill this love language?
- Reading together is a great way to snuggle up and be physically close.
- After you're done reading give an extra long tight squeeze!
When asked, "How do you know that _________ loves you?" this child might answer, "Because they take me places and do special things with me, or because they spend time with me."
How can reading fill this love language? his love language is the most time consuming of all five. You can give words of praise and hugs as you run errands with your kids, you can pick up a gift while you're out, but you can't meet the quality time love language unless all your attention is on them. Fortunately everything about reading from the drive to the library, the selection of the books to the reading itself can be considered quality time. The more it feels like a planned event, the more quality you'll get out of the quality time.
- Divide up the responsibilities of gathering books that are due, returning books, checking out books and carrying them to the car. This will feel more like teamwork, a job that you're doing together. Share the experience.
- At the library, stay near by. Even with older kids, don't just send them off and be separated until you're about to leave. Talk to them about their selections and be involved.
- Maybe plan a second stop while you're out. A special dessert maybe? That makes it more like a date, but a cheap date, if you start at the library!
- Let the interest they express through book choice guide you towards other quality time activities. If they like books about medieval life and castles, then maybe try to find out if there's a renaissance fair nearby. If they like books about firetrucks, find out if you can stop by your local fire station for a visit.
When asked, "How do you know that _________ loves you?" this child might answer, "Because they bring me presents, or, because they think about me when they're in the store."
How can reading fill this love language? When you know what a child likes to read, you open up a whole world of gift possibilities.
- The first and most obvious one is books. People don't often think of books as a gift, but they're a great gift for kids. In fact, I'd even argue that with all the toys kids get today, most parents would welcome some really good books, they take up less space on the shelf than a toy!
- Books can also inspire other gifts. Suppose your child loves books about other cultures around the world. Buying a new kind of international food at the grocery store would seem like a gift if it's presented that way, "I saw this and thought of you." A child who is interested in superhero stories might love a mask and cape from the dollar store. A child who loves detectives stories and mysteries might like a magnifying glass or ink pad for fingerprinting the family.
- You can find things online related to their reading interests, print them out for free and present them as a gift. This might be especially good when you're going on a long car ride. "You know that author that you like? I found their web site and printed some of the pages for you to read while we drive." Boom. You're a rock star. Now, could you hand them an IPad with the web page up instead? Yup you could. Would it seem like a gift though? Negatory. Gifts are things you can hold, for the most part, especially with kids. Finding the web page and handing it off might be more of an act of service.
- While at the library, if you separate for a short while and come back with books for them, present it like a gift, "Guess what I found for you!
Acts of Service:
This child when asked, "How do you know that _________ loves you?" might answer, "Because they do lots of things for me, because they help me," or they might give examples of people doing things for them. Example: Mom made me brownies, dad fixed my broken toy, Auntie braided my hair, etc.
How can reading fill this love language?
- Reading out loud is an act of service. Don't assume that I mean reading out loud to young children only. Reading out loud is still a great activity with older kids. As you kids grow there will still be books that seem out of their reach skill wise- that they'll enjoy having read to them. I read long novels to my kids, a chapter or two a night. These are books that are an inch thick and would never get brought home if they had to read all by themselves. In particular, my son has gone crazy rainbow looming the night away. Once he gets started, he doesn't want to stop making his complicated dragon scale bracelet to sit with me and read along as I read aloud. So I read to him while he's busy making his bracelet. Score! Everybody's happy.
At first trying to figure out how to meet our kids' love languages may feel like mental gymnastics. Don't give up! Before you know it you'll be more nimble than the flying squirrel.
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Posted in Moving and Relocating Post Date 11/26/2019