• Jen Miller

What's Your Child's Love Language?

Updated: May 18

Have you ever heard of the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? According to Chapman, there are five love languages; words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

Let's explore each...

Words of Affirmation:

Choosing words to express affection through praise or appreciation. For some of us, we need to hear words that build us up. Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) states, "The tongue can bring death or life." What we say to our spouse, children, and even ourselves can tremendously positively or negatively affect our relationships with one another. A powerful communicator of love can be expressed through verbal compliments or words of appreciation.

Here are a few examples:

"You look handsome in that shirt."

"You always bring a smile to my face."

"You brighten up the room when you walk in it."

"I appreciate you."

"I love how you helped me today."

For some of us moms, I know we do not feel like we get enough words of affirmation from our families. One tip you can try is writing sticky notes around the house encouraging you on how awesome you truly are. You could even ask your family to write some and place them throughout the house, too.

If this is your child's love language, you could write down affirmations on sticky notes and leave them in their room, bathroom mirror, lunchbox, on their pillow, etc. You can also set a timer to remind you to tell them or text them one thing you love about them.

Acts of Service:

Showing affection through actions and receiving love. In a nutshell, actions speak louder than words.

For some of us, we love having others do things for us, for example, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, emptying the dishwasher, taking the kids out somewhere, taking your car to get gas, etc. These are all acts of service. To speak this love language requires thought, planning, time, effort, and energy, all the while doing it with a happy heart, which can be a real struggle at times.

I know I love when my husband cleans the house or puts gas into my car. My all-time favorite act of service that he has given to me is when he takes our kids somewhere for the day to have a day to myself. I’m sure most moms would love this “act of service.”

If this is your child’s love language, you may want to find out what acts of services they love. Find some time to talk with them to see what they would like you to do for them and make it a point to do something for them daily or weekly.

Receiving Gifts:

Love and affection are shown through gifts.

We love receiving tangible, visible symbols of love for some of us. When we look at it, it is a reminder that the person remembered us. The gift then becomes a symbol of that thought. Gifts do not need to cost money. It is more about the thought and the gift of expressing your love for them.

Here are a few examples:

• Jewelry

• Flowers

• Chocolate

• Love letter

• Souvenir from a trip

• Book/Journal

If this is your love language, you may need to give some gift ideas to your partner on things that you would love to receive.

If this is your child’s love language, you may want to explore some gifts they would like.

Quality Time:

Expressing affection free from any distractions.

Our love language is to spend uninterrupted, quality time with our spouses for some of us. It can be challenging to get the quality time you desperately need and deserve when you have kids and technology. Quality time does not mean sitting next to one another watching TV. It is time with your spouse free from distractions to get to know each other more profoundly, more meaningful.

Here are some examples of how you can increase your QT:

• Date night

• Taking a walk together

• Grabbing a cup of coffee

• Playing a board game

• Pillow talk time

• Bowling

• Skating

Depending on your child’s age, this may be their love language. I know from my own three sons; this is their primary love language. They would rather have quality time with either me, my husband, or both of us than anything else.

Here are just a few ways we get QT with our kids:

• Taking them on a date (one-on-one)

• Taking a walk together

• Laying with them in bed and talking about their day

• Playing a game (indoor or outdoor)

• Going to an amusement park together

• Playing at a park

• Going to the beach

Physical Touch:

Showing affection through appropriate touch can be intimate or merely holding hands.

For some of us, we need physical touch from our partners. It can be as simple as holding hands to kissing to sexual intercourse. These are all ways of communicating emotional love to one another. We all have a “love tank.” If this is your love language and you do not physically feel the love, then your love tank is empty, leaving you feeling unloved. When your physical needs are met, you feel more secure in your relationship with your spouse because of their love. Tell your partner how full your “love tank” is today. If they question what that means, show them what you need. Sometimes you need to initiate for it to be reciprocated.

If this is your spouse’s love language, which can be high for most husbands, it may require much thought on a wife’s part if the wife did not grow up with a “touchy-feely” family. It doesn’t always mean being intimate all the time. It could be something as simple as sitting close to each other watching your favorite TV show. It could mean giving your spouse a back massage or a foot massage. It could even be as simple as touching each other when you leave the house and again when you return with a brief kiss or hug — talking about what forms of physical touch your spouse desires will help you speak their love language.

According to therapist Gary Chapman, Ph.D., these are examples of people speaking different “love languages.” It is a simple but transformative concept: We all give and receive love in unique ways, explains the author of The 5 Love Languages (Northfield, 2009). But when our way of “speaking” love is different from that of our family and friends, we are like ships passing in the night — our expressions of affection sail right past each other without registering. The husband’s compliments are sweet, and the mom’s presents are thoughtful, but the gestures fall flat because the intended recipient doesn’t send and receive love in the same primary way.

I have found that most people show love to others through their love language, not their partners or children. My husband shows me, love through acts of service, which is not my primary love language. My primary love language is quality time. He would then tell me that he would do things for me to reciprocate. The problem was that he never told me this until after the fact. I will say that your love language can change over time depending on your situation, your needs, etc.

All three of my boys' primary love language was quality time, but their secondary love language was different from each other. One was words of affirmation, the other one was acts of service, and the last one was receiving gifts. This gave me insight into what secondary love language they needed from me.

If you want to know your love language or your child’s, click the link below.



Children: Ages 5-8 Ages 9-12 Teens

Books (click the title):

5 Love Languages of Children

5 Love Languages of Teens

5 Love Languages of Couples

5 Love Languages of Singles

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