I attended parenting facilitators’ training organized by Focus on Family (Singapore) and learnt the Five Love Languages from Gary Chapman. The idea is helpful for me to understand my children on the way they express their love to me. I learn how to express my love to them according to their need.
Words of Encouragement to show love
Word of encouragement refers to affirmation, offering thanks, encouraging, and thoughtful statement. Parents can praise their child’s good characters e.g. responsibility, loving, patience, honesty and so on.
For instance, parents can recognize their child’s effort to clean up the mess instead of nagging on them. A mother said to her boy, “You are responsible because you clean up the mess.” He will feel being recognized for cleaning up the mess. Another example, a father asked his 6 years old boy to look after the younger sibling. He said to the older boy,” You are caring to your younger brother. You helped to remind him the importance of safety belt when he was taking a school bus.” He will feel that father can trust him to take care of the younger brother in the school bus. In fact, the word of encouragement helps children to build their self-esteem day by day.
Giving gifts as a way to express love
Some children like to receive a gift as a surprise. It does not mean that you need to buy luxurious gift for them. However, the thought and time spent to prepare for presents are significant for children.
Parents do not want our children to be materialistic so they do not buy expensive gifts as rewards for their good academic performance. If parents continue to satisfy the unlimited wants of their children, they will become worldly or materialistic.
Some handmade art and craft will be unique and precious for the children. Some stationery items, books, bookmarks, stickers can be special gifts to them. We can give gift in different situation e.g. birthday gift, new school term gift, progress award gift for achieving good progress, good character award gift and so on.
Acts of Service to affirm your care
Parents can you do something to make their child feel most loved. Each child has different ways for him or her to feel loved. For instance, my youngest son, aged 3, likes to play “peekaboo” with his father, but the oldest son likes his father to read for him. Parents are advised to ask our children for their preference and opinion on the way to show them love.
Quality Time and Attention to demonstrate your love
Children need the undivided attention from their parents as way to show them love. Parents and children need the quality time to communicate and share with each other. Therefore, it needs to be free from distraction. Children spell “love” as “T-I-M-E”. If a child describes his parents as “busy”, parents need to pay attention to the need of the child. It may remind you something was missing. My second son said to me, ”You are busy”. He reminded me to slow down and give him time and attention.
Mummy or daddy special dates with their child will be helpful for them to get undivided attention. When we turn off the light before sleep, my husband and I go to the bedside of each child and tell them how important and wonderful he is and affirming his good characters and behaviour. It helps parents to build the bond with the children and strengthen their self-esteem.
Physical Touch to express your love
Young children (under 5) love to be cuddled, kissed and hugged. In addition, there are other ways to show our affection to children, e.g. massage, tickling tummy and so on. Older children need a pad on the shoulder as a way to show support and affirm them.
Questions for Ponder
What are your love languages?
What are your children love language?