Have you heard about love languages? It’s basically five different ways to show your love for someone else. As an adult, you can take a quiz to see what ways you like to be loved, and how you prefer to show your love to others. The five categories are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.
Usually these languages are applied in couple relationships, but today I thought it would be good to talk about the love languages of toddlers. This is just based on my observations and personal experience–I’m not a psychologist.
I think the most important love language for toddlers is quality time. They want you to spend time with them. Sometimes this can be hard, because their activities of choice are super boring for an adult. However, they appreciate even the slightest effort (such as sitting and following directions) to interact with them. Even if you have to set a timer so you don’t go crazy playing cars or dolls, quality time really shows your toddler that you love them.
Next up would probably be gifts. Now I know as parents we don’t want to go overboard and fill our houses with toys, but the nice thing about toddlers is they don’t discriminate on how much was spent on a gift. How many times has your toddler ended up playing with the box instead of a toy? Sometimes the “gifts” don’t even have to be toys at all. Going to the library with my son and checking out books makes him feel like he’s gotten a bunch of new gifts that we can read together. Occasionally I’ll surprise him with homemade toys (thanks to pinterest or YouTube). Even a treat can be a gift to toddlers.
Physical touch is also super important for toddlers, even if you have a toddler that doesn’t like to be hugged or kissed. Some toddlers may love to wrestle. Others like it if you sit next to them when reading a book or watching a movie. Some toddlers prefer to be held or carried. Physical touch can even be as simple as patting them on the back or giving a high-five.
Words of Affirmation
One fun way my son and I practice words of affirmation is by playing the “I love you even when” game. We take turns completing the phrase “I love you even when…” until someone comes up with the best phrase and they “win.” These phrases can be serious or silly. Examples include, “I love you even when you’re angry,” “I love you even when I’m at work,” or “I love you even when you eat.” The point is to let your toddler know that you love them no matter the circumstance.
Acts of Service
Lastly, acts of service. This is a little more tricky because I feel as parents, we are constantly serving our toddlers. Since they often can’t do everything they want, we end up lifting them, tying their shoes, giving them food, etc. So I think this is a really easy one to fulfill, but also one toddlers don’t focus on as much because they already receive it so much.