Being a parent of three kids means that I'm always always on my toes. Just when I think I've got them figured out, something changes and I'm studying them again, trying to figure out what makes them tick. How do they learn best? How do they communicate? And how they do they give and receive love?
So this Valentine's Day, along with the chocolates and cards from Mom and Dad, I want to find ways that I can really show love in a way that my kids will receive it. All individual, all strong willed, and all speaking a different love language, these three kiddos place value on different expressions of love. And that got me thinking: How can I speak each child's love language for Valentine's Day?
Acts of Service: Night off from Chores or a Favorite Meal
If you have a child's who values Acts of Service, why not give them a night off from their chores? My kids are incredibly active and offering to take their chores for a night or Saturday is very much appreciated. Mowing the lawn, spot cleaning a favorite jersey, or doing the dishes is an inexpensive way to serve your kids.
One of my kid's favorite acts of service is to have a favorite meal cooked. They love having a voice in helping plan our menu, but I also like to surprise them and just spontaneously cook a meal I know they will especially enjoy. It's a simple way of showing your kids that you're thinking about them.
Words of Affirmation: An Encouraging Card, Parent/Child Journal, or Valentine's Door Hearts
When we speak Words of Affirmation of our kids, I can see their whole attitude change. Their faces lighten up, their shoulders relax, and their whole appearance does a 180. Take a few moments to reflect and write a thoughtful card speaking into your child's life. Purchase a journal that you can pass back and forth between parent and child sharing your thoughts and feelings. Or make Valentine's Door Hearts for your kids.
Physical Touch: Snuggle Time or Back Rub
I have one child that loves to snuggle. It's so opposite of the rest of this child's personality. Sometimes I forget just how important it is to keeping this child balanced. But a little snuggle time, just reflecting on the day and taking some time to just be with each other goes a long way.
Or if being still is too much, take some time to play catch, jump on the trampoline, or go for a bike ride. Doing something physical together can have a similar affect and create a bonding experience. Don't forget to high five or give your child a pat on the back after an awesome play or trick. Put your arm around them as you walk and embrace them in a big hug.
Gifts: Favorite Candy, Book, or Hobby Item
Love Language gifts don't have to be huge, but any small item that's been thoughtfully purchased will bring a smile to your child's face. About six months ago, I knew Noah had been wanting to try Origami so I took a 40% off coupon to Jo-Ann's and purchased him a pack of Origami paper. All in all, it cost me about $3 and 20 min of my time. You would have thought I bought him the world. That was the most treasured package of Origami paper that's ever been bought.
So keep your eyes and ears open. Is there something small that your child has been wishing for? Valentine's Day isn't meant to be overly extravagant, but thoughtful. Even a package of favorite candy or gum can show that you've been thinking about that specific person.
Quality Time: Go Out Together
This is one of the easiest for me, but probably because it's one of my top two love languages. My daughter is like this. She's taken a love for cooking and baking lately, and I've come to realize that a lot of it has to do with spending time with me and my husband. Since cooking is a necessary part of raising a family and since mom spends so much time doing that, Lydia wants to be in the kitchen as well. Slowing down and reminding myself to involve her in food prep has been a challenge, but she craves that quality time and it's been a blessing to both of us.
But don't stop there. Keep an observant eye for other things your child enjoys. Is it a bike ride, a movie together, or a meal when they can actually get a word in? For my daughter, she loves having the chance to go out to a meal with my husband or I, away from the loud boys, where she feels safe enough to voice her opinion.
So what about you?
In what ways can you speak your child's love language on Valentine's Day?