How to understand & speak your child’s love language


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Having children changed my life forever. I formed unique bonds with these tiny humans that grew inside me. However, no matter how much I tried to parent them the same, their personalities are different. And, though I care for them equally, I had to find different ways to say ‘I love you.’

Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of the bestselling “The 5 Love Languages” series, lists five different ways people show their love: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. He even has a quiz that helps identify what kind of love language a child best responds to. 

This article will share the various ways to say “I love you” for each love language. After you determine your child’s love language, give them all a try to let them know they mean the world to you!


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1. Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation are any spoken words a person uses to show their care, support, or acknowledgment of someone. Children whose love language is words of affirmation prefer hearing words that can strengthen them or make them feel loved.

In addition to saying I love you, try speaking it in a different language. It’s a fun way for your kids to learn while practicing the three little words in another way. 

  • French, Je T’Aime
  • German, Ich Liebe Dich
  • Dutch, Ik Hou Van Je
  • Norwegian, Jeg Elsker Deg
  • Italian, Ti Amo 
  • Filipino, Mahal Kita
  • Hebrew, Ani Ohev Otach

And, if you think you may lack social skills, there is a language that is a big hit in our home right now: sign language!

For example, by creating the letter L with your index finger and thumb while raising your pinky finger, you can successfully sign “I love you.” These are one of the fun ways my little ones make eating their dinner or dropping off one of them at school.

There are other sweet ways to say “I love you” without saying it. Do you know what I’m saying?

Some kids feel loved by hearing your support or thoughtfulness, such as “Awesome dinosaur drawing,” “I missed you all day today,” or “You look nice today.”

You can also go a step further by promoting a growth mindset with your words. For instance, instead of just praising your child for scoring an excellent grade on an exam, you can also acknowledge their hard work, such as “Great job on your exam. You worked really hard!” 

This kind of wording promotes kids to focus on their efforts rather than the final grade. As a result, they’ll be encouraged to accept challenges and overcome obstacles. Whereas, if they focus only on the grade, they may be afraid to make a mistake.

For me, the way my mom indirectly told me she loved me was by asking me, “Did you eat?”

2. Quality Time

Quality time is when you give undivided attention to your children. I also like to call this “bucket time” because I’m filling my children’s time with all my attention. 

The length of quality time can be short as 10 minutes to show your parental love to your kids. However, each kid must receive their own quality time. So, you may have to request help from your partner to watch the other kids. Just thank your partner in their love language.

And, most importantly, whether you have one kid or two kids, turn off your phone! It’s easy to get distracted by technology. Also, your loved one doesn’t want to split their time with anyone else. How much more with a smartphone? Your child will greatly appreciate it!

Once you reserve some time with your kiddo, simply ask them what they want to do. A child’s love language that is quality time will have their eyes light up. 

My son always asks to cuddle with me at night. So, I read him a book on Friday nights and lay with him until he falls asleep. It’s his dream come true! 

Here are some more quality time ideas that I do with my kids:

  • Bake cookies or a pizza
  • Build Lego together
  • Build a blanket fort
  • Go biking or walking
  • Soccer, basketball, or any sport
  • Art projects, like painting or crocheting
  • Exercise together
  • Have a dance party

Mom Hack: When your children help you prepare a meal, they are more than likely to eat it. I always sneak in veggies on the pizza.

3. Acts of Service

Acts of service are when you do something for someone else. You’re choosing to stop what you’re doing for yourself to do something for them.

My son’s love language is quality time. But, on the other hand, my daughter’s love language is acts of service. Is it because she’s the second child? Or, is it because she is a natural princess? My husband and I are still doing our research and will return back with our findings!

Some children feel unconditional love when you go out of your way to do something for them. Regardless of the service is small or big, just the act alone is more than enough. They will find you as an utterly amazing person!

Here are many ways to show acts of service for your kids:

  • Tucking them in at night
  • Picking them up after school
  • Tying their shoes
  • Bring them a snack
  • Carrying them through the snow
  • Help them clean up the playroom

4. Gifts

Gifts are another way parents can show their love to their children. But, buying them gifts doesn’t mean you’re spoiling them to win their love. 

Instead, children with a love language for gifts will appreciate any kind of gift, whether big or small. These kids don’t necessarily put value in a tangible item. Instead, they value the “thought” of you giving them a gift.

The other day I brought home a bed sheet for my daughter’s sleeping cot at school. She giggled in excitement. 

The bedsheet was a basic color that I purchased at a local kid’s resale store. What she valued was me thinking about her when I bought her a gift, especially since she’s been reminding me about it for some time.

Here are some gift ideas to show your love and token of appreciation:

  • Books
  • Art supplies
  • Favorite snack
  • Tickets to a concert
  • Clothes
  • Lego (This is never enough Lego)
  • Sport equipment
  • A small note in their lunch box

5. Physical Touch

The physical touch love language is when a child prefers physical expression compared to the other love languages. For instance, you can easily accomplish this expression with a hug or even holding their hands.

These family hugs are helpful not only in good times but also in bad times. For example, there are times when I have to correct my son when he misbehaves. After standing in silence, he gently asks, “Can I have a hug?” He wants to feel that everything is still okay, and I always remind him that I love him.

My daughter also requires some hugs. She’ll throw a tantrum regardless of what kind of negotiation tactics I use. There is no amount of words of affirmation or gifts I can use to persuade. All she wants is a hug from mommy

Every time, see how they respond to your kisses on their cheek. If they see you kiss someone else (i.e., daddy), see if they want some kisses too! 

Here are some other ideas of love languages that use physical expression:

  • High fives
  • Fist bumps
  • Carrying kids on shoulders
  • Rocking them to sleep
  • Patting their back
  • Laying next to them
  • Shoulder massage
  • Snuggling noses together

Final Words

Our children are like sponges that absorb everything around them. Therefore, the environment we surround them in can affect them and dictate if they’re feeling loved.

Thus, let us cover them with our love. I’m not saying giving them a pass when they throw a fit. 

But, let’s always show compassion to our babies and let them know much we really love them. Let’s tell them we love them every day and hug them before we leave for the day. Even if the last hug were hours ago, I would never get tired of a heart warm hug. 

Always be present and give them your attention. There are several cute ways to tell someone you love them. With your children, there are creative ways to say I love you. 

Make their world go round and build great memories that they can always cherish. So, whether they move across the country, your love’s gravity always pulls them back to you.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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25 things your parents never told you about adulthood

25 things your parents never told you about adulthood (but you wish they had)

Wouldn’t it be easier to have an instruction manual for adulthood? A book covering all the things parents should have taught their kids about personal finance, a career, happiness and the main things that matter in life? 

Sadly, no manual or playbook exists to help you make all these new adult decisions. But if it did, it would include these 25 things your parents didn’t tell you about being an adult that you wished they did. 

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When two-thirds of parents don’t discuss money with their kids, it’s not surprising that it becomes the main source of stress for 44 percent of people. From working and balancing money for your monthly expenses, to paying off college loans and saving money for your retirement, there are many personal finance matters to manage once you enter adulthood.

So while most people don’t keep track of all their finances (and a majority of Americans don’t know how much money they spent last month), you can start adulthood on the right foot with these 14 personal finance tips.

When you were still living with your parents, did you ever think about how they managed to pay for the house, car, groceries, clothes and everything else? You might have heard your parents discussing bills, but, of course, it is different when you’re the one behind the wheel. Now that you are an adult, you’re facing the reality that you have to pay many bills: credit cards, utilities, cable subscriptions, groceries and more.

That is why creating a budget is the first step in actively managing your finances. Tracking and monitoring your expenses allows you to see how you can afford both the essentials and things you value. For example, you can do things with no money on the weekends. Then you’ll have more money for a new car or vacation with friends.

If you don’t have a budget yet and don’t know how to get started, the 50/30/20 budget rule is a good starting point. This rule says that you should allocate your take-home pay using the following math: 50% for your needs, 30% for your wants and 20% for your savings. 

These numbers may not be possible for new graduates, but it’s a great goal to work toward. What is important is that you regularly save money from what you earn, even if that means starting with $5 a paycheck and working your way up. 


The very first thing you should do with your savings is build an emergency fund. Putting aside money for emergencies is critical because unforeseen expenses will happen. For example, a flat tire, a large medical bill or even losing your job are all things to plan for. 

As a rule of thumb, an emergency fund should cover 3 to 6 months of living expenses so you’ll have a cushion until you find a new job. Of course, it will take time to reach this goal, but the important part is to get started.

After you’ve built up your emergency fund, it’s time to start saving for retirement. When you first become an adult, retirement seems like a lifetime away.  But a fundamental yet overlooked idea is that the sooner you start building your retirement accounts, the better. Your older self will thank you for saving for retirement as soon as possible. 

While you are young, you often have lighter financial responsibilities before the days of mortgages and kids. While it might seem lame to save money for retirement instead of spending it, remember the earlier and more you save, the earlier you can stop working.

Since many parents don’t talk about money matters with their kids, they don’t know that your money can work for you instead of you working for money once they become adults. If you knew from the start that investing could help you reach your financial goals, you might make different moves with your hard-earned money.  Investments can provide an additional income stream that can help your overall financial plans and help build your wealth gradually.  


There are both good and bad debts, and understanding the difference will save you a lot of money and stress in the long run. Mortgages and student loans are often considered good debt. However, credit cards, personal loans and payday loans are bad debts. While it is almost impossible to live without credit cards, using them to fund a lifestyle you can’t afford is not a way to enter adulthood. 

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If you’re having problems sticking to a budget and find yourself impulse shopping, paying with cash can help. It’s pretty quick and easy to use a credit card, so the act of counting out your hard-earned money can bring more mindfulness to your spending and help create better money habits

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You should pay the total credit card balance every month to prevent costly interest charges on your purchases.  Plus, it will improve your credit score. When you don’t pay your credit cards in full, the interest will start building up, and it gets harder to pay it back at all. 

That can be a large hole to dig yourself out of. If you find yourself with credit card debt, it’s important to pay off the outstanding debt as soon as possible so the compounding interest charges are minimized. 

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If you have a strong credit score but find yourself with a credit card balance, you may be able to transfer the balance to a 0% credit card. If you qualify, you’ll have 3-12 months to pay off your debt with no interest charges. If you ever find yourself in this situation, leveraging a 0% credit card offer can help you get out of debt faster. 

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If you don’t qualify for a 0% credit card transfer, you can negotiate for a lower interest rate. Did you know that you can call your creditors and just ask? If you have a good payment history and an acceptable credit score, creditors can lower your rate.


Late payments can knock points off your credit score, a figure that shows your creditworthiness. Your credit score is between 300-850, and the higher the score, the better. It’s determined by factors like total debt, repayment history, number of open accounts and more.

Companies also use it to determine how likely you’re going to pay them back. This number will be referenced every time you want to rent an apartment, apply for a mortgage, purchase a car, open a bank account or apply for a credit card. So make on-time payments a priority. 

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Your parents grew up and lived a part of their life in an era of traditional banking, so they may not have explained the benefits of online bill paying. It’s an easy way to pay your bills on time as it all happens without you once you’d set it up. However, be careful that you’re not spending more money than you have, as your bank will charge you costly overdraft fees if you dip below your balance. 

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When you’re shopping online, credit cards offer better security features than debit cards. In addition, in a case of fraud, a credit card will provide better protection. If you shop online regularly with one site, like Amazon, think about opening a credit card that will give you points or a certain percentage of cashback when you shop.

If you don’t know the rules, how can you play the game? Suppose you’ve applied for a credit card for travel hacking to earn free flights or hotel stays.  In that case, it is crucial to read the fine print to prevent fees and penalties and make sure you actually receive the large sign-up bonuses.

While money matters are an essential part of adulthood, there’s so much more to life and finding your place in the world.

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While it’s often taboo to talk about money in America, if you’re struggling with money matters, don’t hide it. Whether you speak with your parents, friends or financial institutions, the sooner you work through the challenges, the faster you can make a plan to resolve them.

Your parents may provide suggestions for your college major and as well as your career. Odds are,  they are coming from a place of love.  But what they might not tell you is that it will take time to find a job that you enjoy. And that it might mean trying out different roles and using a process of elimination. You may not learn that you like ( or dislike) something until you give it a try. Then, over time, you’ll know which direction you want to go in to land a job you enjoy. 

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During this process of elimination, you may discover that your childhood dreams have changed. Parents and teachers ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. Whether you want to be a doctor, a lawyer or a police officer, our childhood dreams provide some direction early in life. As you grow up, things may change. Try asking your parents what their childhood dreams were and how they shaped their careers.

The last thing most young adults who are striving for independence want to do is ask for help. Our brains are wired to push us toward doing things on our own. But life is complicated. If you’re having a bad day, a tough time navigating work or feeling down, it’s OK to ask your family, friends and professionals for help. 

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If you grew up in a house where uncomfortable feelings weren’t welcomed, you might have formed a habit of hiding your feelings. Now that you’re an adult, you’ll need to work on your communication skills. The last thing you want to do at work is push feelings down so long that you blow up at a meeting and get fired. 


While you’ve already navigated the complicated relationships that come with middle school, high school, and college, the dynamics of interpersonal relationships in the workplace take it to a whole other level. 

You thought group projects in college were challenging? Unfortunately, the workplace is one long group project that never ends.  If you find yourself struggling in this area, seek out a Career Coach who can help build your soft skills so that you’ll succeed no matter what role you’re in.

While protective parents may not preach about risks, it’s one of the best things you can do as a young adult. You’ll have less to lose. You learn something from it, gain experience and build confidence in your abilities and resilience. 

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You might have been raised to avoid mistakes at all costs. But if you play it so safe that you never push yourself, you’re missing out on growth, experience and learnings. No one’s perfect. If you have a good relationship with your parents, ask them what they learned from some of their biggest mistakes to give you to courage to push yourself into some new areas as an adult.

The odds are probably pretty high that you didn’t learn how to practice gratitude from your parents. However, at an age when you’re constantly comparing yourself to your friends and their accomplishments, gratitude is one key to happiness. According to Harvard Medical School, consistent gratitude can help you feel more positive emotions, enjoy your experiences, improve your health and build strong relationships.

Another route to happiness as an adult is letting go of the things you can’t control. If your parents didn’t model this behavior, it could be hard to make the switch as an adult. While you can do everything in your power to be a strong candidate for a job or an apartment, at the end of the day, the decision on who gets pick is out of your hands. 


At this age, what your friends think of you carries so much weight, but what others say is another thing you can’t control in life. To feel accepted and liked is something that everyone wants, but maturing into a new mindset is part of becoming an adult.  You could apply author Brene Brown’s approach by training yourself to react by asking yourself, “How can I improve?” instead of, “What will they think?”


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