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I love my baby girl so much and want to learn and grow as a Mom, so that I can give her all that I can. I appreciate wisdom from more experienced people. Maybe this has happened to you but I have heard some wisdom and thought, “Wow, that was wise and insightful. I would like that to change some things in my family.” However, I’m not exactly sure what that change would look like. Usually, this is because the wisdom remained abstract. In this post I hope to take some abstract wisdom and make it more applicable to our everyday lives.
One of my favorite avenues of wisdom is a good book. Obviously, no book is completely accurate outside of the Bible. You have to filter the information. For my family, I found a lot of wisdom in a book I just read, The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively. In the book, Gary Chapman introduces the idea that people, specifically children, communicate and receive love in 5 different ways. These languages are quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service and gifts. The book goes into more detail and I highly recommend reading it!
After reading the book, I wanted to write down some ideas of expressing these love languages, specifically to my toddler. Often, if it’s not written down near me, I won’t remember it. (I guess that’s mommy brain?) Anyway, I thought that I would share it, in case somebody else might find it useful.
Love Language #1 – Quality Time
I have to be honest. Quality time was especially convicting for me. I can be with my daughter all day, without my mind ever fully being there. It’s so easy to get caught up in my to-do’s and possibilities in my own head! Sometimes life gets busy, but I want to try to make sure that I spend focused time with her every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. These were some ideas I had for my family.
- Put away all screens for a set amount of time
- Have a special outing
- Read books together
- Explore together (this can just be a kitchen cabinet or the backyard)
- Follow the Leader
Love Language #2 – Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation made me think. My toddler doesn’t speak fluently, but I know that she understands what I say. She understands the tone I use and the emotion behind it. She understands the difference between encouragement and resentment. I will never be perfect with my words. James tells us that no man can bridle the tongue. Prayerfully, I want to be careful about the words (and tones) I bestow upon my little girl. I want to be purposeful with the words I say, knowing the impact they make. Here are some more specific ways I want to encourage my little girl.
- Encouraging her in her pursuits
- Express appreciation for my child (not just her accomplishments)
- Noticing her (“I noticed that you like that book.”)
- Praising her character, rather than the results of her character
Love Language #3 – Physical Touch
I think this comes so naturally with little ones. They are so cute and cuddly! These might seem a bit obvious, but I’ll write them down anyway.
- a gentle back rub (my daughter LOVES this)
- a long hug
- holding hands
- cuddles (especially with books!)
Love Language #4 – Acts of Service
Acts of service are such a natural part of parenthood! Sometimes it feels like all I do are acts of service for my daughter. She’s young and can’t do a lot on her own. A lot of times my acts of service are done out of habit or even obligation. I think the difference is purposely doing an act of service with the intention of communicating love. Intentions can make all the difference in how something is communicated. It would be hard to list ALL the possible acts of service a parent does, so here are just a few ideas.
- fixing her favorite food
- changing diapers
- carrying her when she’s tired
- setting an example of servant-leadership
Love Language #5 – Receiving Gifts
The first time I saw this category, my thought was, “I can’t spend a bunch of money!” Giving a gift doesn’t always have to mean dropping cash! This isn’t meant to be materialistic. A gift is special when it’s personal. When it says, “I was thinking about you specifically.” Here are some “gift” ideas specifically for a toddler.
- a sticker
- a flower or interesting rock
- an edible treat
- a photograph (my daughter LOVES tangible pictures)
- a drawing
- a craft
- a toy she already owns, but has forgotten about, presented in a fun bag
I’m not a perfect parent!
Reading this book, 5 Love Languages for Children, has been convicting, encouraging and given me inspiration. I know that I will never be a perfect parent, but I hope that I can constantly be growing. This is a slight overview of the wonderful wisdom in this book, if you’d like to learn more you can find the latest edition of the book here. I hope that these ideas are helpful to you! I’m definitely not the most experienced parent and I would love to hear from you!
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