The Language of Love: How to Be Affectionate with Your Child
A physical, mental and experiential environment is ideal for children to grow and thrive in but an even larger aspect of a parent’s influence on their children is an emotional one. There are many ways to create this environment and show these emotions but what is a ‘language of love’ that we can create with our children?
There are many ways to verbally and demonstratively show your child that you love him/her. This will give them the emotional sustenance and care that they need and it will also show them that emotional wellbeing and expression is important. Here are a few ways to routinely show your love and affection to your child and demonstrate the emotional freedom and intelligence you want him/her to possess.
Affirm and Repeat
Language is a beautiful thing because not only are children learning how to use it but they are also learning the contexts and ways in which language can be used to express deeper concepts. Affirmations are a simple way to use language to reinforce and repeat feelings we have to each other.
Use words of affirmation with your children. Yes, you do need to tell them you love them every day. You can do this randomly at a moment you see fit and just because you tell them you love them every day it doesn’t mean it needs to be a routine, such as before school or after dinner.
Affirmations can also be about things that your child does that makes you happy. These words of encouragement are all your child needs to hear.
Spend quality time together. There are numerous ways to spend quality time with your children. You can read to your child, for instance, or spend time playing together without any screens and distractions. Quality time is a great way to show your child that you care and that spending time with the people you love is a practice he/she needs to enjoy.
Lots of Physical Affection
What words cannot do, actions can. Your little cuties deserve all the hugs and kisses you can give them. The same advice that applies to words of affirmation work here as well, don’t hesitate to hug and kiss your child every day and wherever you please.
Affection does not need to be presented simply in the form of hugs and kisses, you can always play with your child’s hair and engage in some roughhousing and wrestling (it is totally normal), so use all the avenues that you find comfortable for you and your child to express physical affection.
Lovely Gifts and Acts of Love
Now gifts seem like the most familiar thing for most people but there is something you can do here that makes this different from something like a birthday present. Children tend to point out and tell their parents what they want and while it might be easy to go ahead and buy it for them there is another way to make gifts meaningful.
You can give your child a gift without it being a special occasion but make it a special gift. When you give him/her the gift, explain why you have given such a gift and what it means. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or something extremely meaningful but it can show the child what the gift can mean for him/her.
In the book ‘Five Languages of Love for Children’ by Dr Gary Chapman, Acts of Service is one of the languages and it makes perfect sense to us as well. When your child comes to you with a seemingly mundane problem such as “My toy broke” or “My tricycle is not working”, they are looking for your attention and care.
Take the time to fix the toy in front of them and they will feel like they are being cared for. It might not always be possible to do acts of service every time but if you have the time, help your child out so that they can receive your attention.
Apple Tree Kindergarten continues to promote an emotionally healthy and affirmative environment for all our students. Our teachers encourage the children to express themselves and we believe that children need to develop emotionally at school as well.