At the end of a long day, finding ways to connect with your child after school can be a challenge. Not all kids are ready to tell you every detail of their day; even if they are, you may want to engage with your child in different ways than just talking.
Many years ago, I read Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages.” Understanding how to love the people around me, especially my husband, has been key to building relationships. Figuring out my children’s love languages has been just as important. Knowing how each of my kids gives and receives love has helped me connect more deeply with them, especially when they come home from school.
It’s important to know that we all desire to be loved in a certain way, and if we are constantly only showing our love and affection to our children the way we want to be loved, then your child (who may not share that same love language) probably won’t experience your love they way you would like.
1. Quality Time
Spending dedicated time together and engaging in conversation without distractions such as screens or interruptions.
2. Physical Touch
Hand holding, a hug, or even a hand on the shoulder when saying hello.
3. Words of Affirmation
Compliments, praise, and positive feedback to build that person up.
Giving a thoughtful gift that doesn’t have to be extravagant, but just a simple gesture to let that person know you were thinking of them.
5. Acts of Service
Using your time to do housework, assist in carrying something heavy, or opening the door for another are just some of the many ways you can serve.
Most people have at least two love languages. Mine are quality time and physical touch. My oldest daughter’s are gifts and words of affirmation. When I drop her off at school and pick her up at the end of the day, I do my best to tell her I love her and think of ways to praise her. Sometimes, she’ll ask to get an acai bowl from a local store, and I know it’s an extra way to show her my love by gifting her her favorite treat.
My middle daughter’s are the same as mine, so it’s a little easier to relate to how she’s feeling and offer a snuggle together. My son’s are acts of service and words of affirmation. I want him to know that he’s more than just a good baseball player; he’s trustworthy and insightful and makes me proud.
I hope learning or being reminded of the 5 Love Languages has inspired you to learn how your children receive love and allows you to connect with them more intimately.