Understanding your child’s Love Language

Written by Kristin Tallackson, M.A.

Many of us have heard of the book, The Five Love Languages. Couples are the first to buy the book, hoping it will shed light on how to better show love to their partner. Yet, many stop there, and few think about what their child’s love language is. Understanding how your child gives and receives love is important to their emotional development. So, how do we show our children the love they need? First, identify their love language. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and giving gifts.  Here are some tips on how to express each love language.

Words of Affirmation:


Practical Ways to Express this Language

  • Say “I love you”

  • Make a thank you card

  • Write a list of three things that you find awesome about your kid

  • Say “I like it when you ___”

  • Reinforce the positive by saying, “You’re doing a great job”

  • Write a secret note on the bathroom mirror

  • Make a get well soon card

  • Encourage your child by telling them, “Don’t give up”

  • After saying good night, add “I can’t wait to see you again in the morning!”

  • Create a secret love signal just between you and your child

  • Compliment someone with your favorite adjective: “You are ___!”


Quality Time:


Practical ways to Express this Language:

  • Go on a picnic

  • Go on an early morning or evening walk

  • Have a one-on-one breakfast with your child

  • Volunteer for a community service project together

  • Do a puzzle together

  • Play a board game

  • Head to the library to pick out new books to read

  • Find a new event to attend

  • Tell a made-up story -- have your child contribute as well

  • Go on a scavenger hunt

  • Have a face-to-face conversation -- uninterrupted, giving your full attention


Acts of Service:


Practical Ways to Express this Language

  • Help make each other’s bed in the morning

  • Do laundry together

  • Prepare lunch together

  • Go grocery shopping together

  • Have your child help you make breakfast for your partner

  • Ask someone, “How can I help you today?”

  • Bring a drink to refresh someone

  • Do an outdoor chore together -- rake the leaves, shovel snow

  • Clean up toys together after playtime

  • Head over to the grandparents and help them with a needed chore


Physical Touch:


Practical Ways to Express this Language

  • Bear hug

  • Cuddle on the sofa during a movie

  • Have a tickle session

  • Hold hands while out and about

  • Pick your kid up and swing him/her around

  • Give each other a high five

  • Give each other a cool hairdo

  • Be each other’s dance partner

  • Link arms and skip in circles

  • Do a three-legged race down the hallway

  • Give your child a piggy back ride


Gift Giving:


Practical Ways to Express this Language

  • Make your child’s favorite meal

  • Give your kid some cool stickers

  • Share dessert together

  • Have you and your child come up with a gift for your partner

  • Pick a few gently used toys and clothing to donate

  • Head outside with your child to pick flowers separately, arrange in bouquet and give to the other person

  • Create a scrapbook together

  • Leave a surprise gift on their bed before bedtime

  • Accept a gift with a great big smile


 Kristin is a counselor at Heights Family Counseling who specializes in anxiety, behavior, mood, attachment, and child/teen counseling. Kristin's counseling approach is to offer a safe place for you to process and work through a multitude of circumstances, while offering valuable insight and perspective into whatever journey you may find yourself. Her philosophy is to embrace you where you are, equip you with tools, coping mechanisms and knowledge, and empower you to take those tools and lead a fulfilling life. Read more about Kristin’s counseling approach at https://heightsfamilycounseling.com/amy-rollo/. Set up an appointment with Kristin online by going to https://heightsfamilycounseling.com/contact/