Love permeates everything we do, and all of the choices we make. Because of this, it’s essential that we understand the love languages we speak and our kids’ love languages. In other words, how we feel loved and express love, and how our kids feel loved and express love.
Because the truth is, we have a big job to do. Teaching children isn’t just about math, reading, science and social studies. It’s about showering them with love every chance we get…even if only for one year. We are given the opportunity to make a lasting impact on every child we teach by simply taking the time to understand their love language and then extending that love to them.
What is a Love Language?
We all feel loved in different ways, and typically, we show love to others in the way we feel love. There are actually five different categories, or love languages. Each and every one of us has a primary love language and possibly a secondary love language. The five categories are: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
My love language is Words of Affirmation. Basically, that means that I feel loved when I hear my husband and kids tell me they love me. So, my natural inclination is to say “I love you” 50 times a day! Unfortunately, that is neither my husband’s nor my kids’ love language. While they appreciate hearing that, the way they feel loved differs from mine.
My oldest son’s love language is Quality Time. He loves it when we watch movies together or do things together…even if it’s as simple as throwing the ball around the yard. So, for me to tell him I love him and neglect to spend time with him is the same as not even saying “I love you.” He appreciates hearing it, but it doesn’t really reach down into his heart.
My youngest son’s love language is Physical Touch. He is constantly hugging me, playing with my hair, holding my hand, etc. So, me telling him I love him with my words doesn’t show him love, either. He needs to be physically close to me, and because this isn’t my default love language I have to be conscious of this.
You may be wondering why this is even important. Well, if I’m only showing love to my kids through my words, they aren’t going to feel it. By knowing their love languages, I can speak this into their lives through lots of hugs and time spent with them.
Recognizing Kids’ Love Languages
Once you’re familiar with the five different love languages, you’ll start noticing behaviors that will clue you in to your kids’ love languages. This is a wonderful gift because now you know exactly what that child desperately needs to feel loved by you. Here is what you might see from a child in each of these categories:
Acts of Service
- Wants to help clean up
- Is always the first to volunteer to run an errand
Words of Affirmation
- Says you look pretty
- Draws you pictures and writes you notes
- Loves to get in the treasure box
- Tends to bring you little “presents” (flowers, rocks, items of their own)
- Likes to talk with you during recess or play time
- Enjoys engaging you in conversation and wants to know things about you
- Needs to sit close to you
- Tends to be your “shadow”
It amazes me, even now, at how some of the kids I taught in school are “poster children” for certain love languages. But, there will be some kids that’ll be a little harder to read.
How to Express Love in Kids’ Love Languages
Whether you are teaching in a classroom or a homeschool environment, the same rules apply. The kids you spend time with need to know they are loved, and it’s important to express that love in different ways…even if it seems unnecessary or silly to you.
Acts of Service
- Pick up their trash during a cutting and pasting activity.
- Sharpen their pencil for them.
- Help them pack up their backpack.
- Make their favorite snack.
Words of Affirmation
- Tell them you love them.
- Write them a thank you note for a gift they got you.
- Write a quick note of encouragement on an assignment.
- Give them a little birthday trinket.
- Let them get into the treasure box.
- Give them one of your special pens. (I’m looking at you flair pens.)
- Play with them on the playground.
- Allow them to eat lunch with you on occasion.
- Play a board game with them.
(I’m sure this is obvious, but be careful with this if you’re a teacher…especially of older kids. Because of the sensitive nature of this category, I’ve added ages beside the action.)
- Let them hold your hand while walking down the hall (littles).
- Allow them to sit beside you during class (littles).
- High fives (big kiddos).
- Shake hands for a job well done (big kiddos).
The Difficult Part
The most difficult part of this entire process isn’t learning about love languages. It is putting this knowledge into action…especially with those kids you don’t even like. I hate to say it, but we both know it’s true. These are the kids that absolutely wear you out. They do everything in their power to get on your nerves and make you crack.
But, these are the kids that are in DESPERATE need of love. And in reality, they’ve probably never known what it feels like to be truly loved. So, do your best to figure out which love language they seem to respond to and give what you can. You are a gift to them.
For even more information about the five love languages and determining your kids’ love languages, visit 5lovelanguages.com. You will find quizzes for yourself and for your kids, and tons of great information!
Your Free Action Plan
I’ve created a template for you to use as you pinpoint each of your kids’ love languages. There are 2 pages. The first is for the names of your kids and which love language they speak. The second is for you to jot down ideas you have for speaking that love language. To help you get started, I’ve included a few ideas in each category.
But remember this, when learning any foreign language, it takes time and practice. It probably won’t come naturally the first time you do it. Just be patient with yourself and give yourself grace. You are a blessing!