Valentines Day, love it or hate it, the jury is out, however, it is a great opportunity to connect with your kids at a time when they perhaps least expect it.
How does your child like to receive love? I imagine that this is perhaps not something that you have really thought much about. Although it is an interesting question to ponder, as this is something that can help you connect with your child in a way that they understand and appreciate.
Do they have a love language? Like us, our children will not all respond to connection in the same way. Some kids like physical touch through hugs, a hand on their arm or back, others need words. How do you like to receive love from friends and family?
In Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell’s book ‘The Five Love Languages of Children’ they talk about 5 different ways our kids like to receive love:
- Physical Touch
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
Here are a few ideas as to how you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids appealing to their love languages.
- A day of hugs, can you challenge your son or daughter to get 12 or more hugs from you and their siblings. Apparently we need 4 hugs a day for maintenance and 12+ to completely fill our love bucket!
- Give them a high five when they have gone over and above
- Purchase a gift for them that is touch led, such as, a soft blanket or a sequin pillow
- How many ‘family group hugs’ including the cat and dog can you have in one day?
Words of Affirmation
This one I feel is pretty easy to achieve over Valentine’s Day, so many ‘I love yous’ can fill their day.
- Perhaps you can write why you love them onto hearts and put them on their bedroom door.
- Noticing and praising when they are doing well, catching them being good are other ways to reinforce this love language.
- A love note in their pocket
- Create a praise jar and pop notes in it when you have noticed them doing something great
- Can you plan them a Valentine’s breakfast or tea?
- Bath time in the dark with glow sticks in the water is a fun way to give them a surprise
- What about taking them on a date?
- Snuggles on the sofa watching their favourite show or movie?
- Find silly things to laugh about, laugh heartily
- Spend a few extra minutes putting your child to bed
- Shop bought or made, small or big, let your budget and your child’s interests lead your decision-making
- This could also be a re-purposed gift or perhaps something that is of meaning to you that you wish to pass on
- Can you find a ‘natural’ gift, a flower, a pine cone put in a special box and gift it to your child
- Could you plant a valentine tree or plant?
Acts of Service
- What could they do in their community?
- Could they bake something and take it to a neighbour or friends at school? Can they visit a care home and take hand made hearts to give out to the residents?
- Can you cook a meal with them for the family?
- Take some time to practice with your child something they enjoy doing, e.g. a sport
- Can you put a love note in their lunch box?
- This area is usually done in conjunction with one of the other love language areas
All of these ideas are completely relevant for any day of the year when you want to connect with your child and give them a little extra something to show that you really do love them, even when they are hard to live with!
This blog was originally written for the Wharfedale Mumbler.