It was one of those mornings when my boys needed me, and I repeatedly waved them off with one of those mom looks that say, “Go play and don’t come back until you’re old enough to drive.” But the more I ignored their pleas for affirmation, touch, and time, the more raucous my trio grew.
I finally came to my mom senses and realized my kids’ “love tanks” were running on empty. They were out of love. So, I dropped everything and spent the next hour reminding my eldest child how much I appreciate him, giving my middle man lots of hugs, and intently listening as my youngest son went on and on about everything under the sun.
Three kids, and three very different ways of feeling loved.
In the book The Five Love Languages of Children, the authors present the concept that our children’s emotional “love tanks” need to be kept full by speaking to their particular love language. When we speak love to our kids, they’re less inclined to beg, steal, and borrow for our attention. My rowdy little men were happy to run along and play once I took the time to talk to each boy in a language only he understood.
To help you understand the ideas in the book, this chart summarizes each of the love languages. You may find that your child shows each of the love languages at different times and that their preferred language changes as they get older. This is perfectly fine, as it is really about connecting with your child and keeping their emotional tanks full so they can remain happy and confident individuals at home, school, and through after-school activities.