February 2024

How to Connect with Your Child Using Love Languages


Children express and experience love in different ways. For example, one of my sons prefers physical touch, whereas the other needs words of affirmation. Each of these expressions of love represents a different "language".

Learning the love languages of my boys has had a profound impact on my relationship and connection with them. It has also helped them feel unconditionally loved, accepted, heard, and understood.

Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell introduced the concept of love languages in the book The Five Love Languages and later in The Five Love Languages of Children. They said some people love through physical touch, others through words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, or quality time.

It’s common to have different love languages within a family and it can be tricky to navigate. However, once you do learn your child’s love language, it can make all the difference in your relationship and their happiness.

1. Physical Touch

For children who have this as their primary love language, physical touch communicates love to them more deeply than giving them praise, buying a gift, or fixing a toy.

Without hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and other physical expressions of love, their love tanks will remain less than full.

Some ways to express love via physical touch include

  • sitting near or beside a child (for example, if you’re reading a story together, you can sit side by side or have your child sitting on your lap)
  • for smaller kids, giving lots of kisses and hugs, being seated on a parent’s lap
  • for older kids, also add a pat on the back, holding hands, a high-five, or an arm around their shoulder
  • occasionally yelling “group hug” for your entire family and for more fun, including your pets!
  • playing games like Twister
  • playing This Little Piggy, Pat-a-Cake, tag, piggyback rides, and airplane
  • creating a “spa night” and doing manicures, pedicures, and shoulder massages
  • making up hand-shakes
  • gently squeezing their hands to say “I love you!”
  • snuggling close on the couch and reading together

2.  Words of Affirmation

Words are powerful in communicating love. Words of affection and endearment, words of praise and encouragement, words that give positive guidance all say, “I care about you”. These words nurture a child’s inner sense of worth and security.

Even though such words are quickly said, they are not easily or soon forgotten and a child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime. A child who tells you what they like and often seeks compliments feels loved through words of affirmation.

Refrain from using harsh critical words as they really affect a child whose primary love language is a word of affirmation.

They feel special when you tell them you appreciate them by

  • using encouraging words and phrases often 
  • saying “I love you” many times a day
  • saying “I love to watch you…" (play, draw, sing, help, etc.)
  • affirming both their efforts and achievements
  • creating a name of affection for your child that is only used between the two of you
  • when a child makes a mistake, acknowledging their good intentions, effort, determination, etc.
  • painting rocks with encouraging sayings
  • writing little love notes and leaving them around the house or in their lunchbox.

3. Quality Time

Quality time means focusing your attention on your child. It is the gift of being present and telling a child, “you are important and I like spending time with you”. The child feels loved because the parent or carer is choosing to spend time alone with them.

When you spend time with your child or children, you will best serve their needs by adapting to their physical and/or emotional level of development.

What you do with your child is less important than the actual time you spend together. When a child requests one-on-one time with a parent, whether it be through play, outdoor activities, or just chatting, they are communicating their need to feel love. It is important to follow-up and focus on their needs.

Some ways to demonstrate quality time include

  • allocating a special time for your child to just be there and listen to their stories and feelings
  • bringing your child along during errands
  • looking at the stars together
  • drawing or journaling together
  • allowing them to help you around the house
  • taking walks together and having conversations (call it “twalks” to make it fun)
  • stopping what you are doing and making eye contact with your child when they tell you something
  • finding silly things to laugh about together
  • doing fun activities and playing games together

4. Gifts

The giving and receiving of gifts can be a powerful expression of love and for some, can remain meaningful even later in their lives. The most thoughtful gifts can become true symbols of love.

A child who often gives you something small, like a toy wrapped in paper or flowers from the garden, tends to feel loved through gifts. These gifts can be given together with any of the other love languages.

However, there is a difference between a child who sees gifts as an extension of your love and a child who begs and whines for a toy every time you go shopping. A child, whose love language is receiving gifts, will be happy with the smallest token or even something handmade.

Some ideas for tangible things as an expression of love include

  • choosing small, inexpensive tokens, thoughtful gifts, or homemade presents. This will mean a lot to your child during ordinary days and more special occasions
  • choosing gifts that fit the interests of your child.
  • making a collection of unique gift boxes and wrapping paper (choose their favorite colors) that can be used for even the simplest gifts
  • gifting your child a song, either one you create or a special song that reminds you of them
  • keeping a chart and some stickers to record achievements and rewarding your child with a gift
  • creating a photo album or book about them and some special moments you've shared
  • buying a new shirt that captures their personality
  • making them a special treat or their favorite meal
  • gathering hand-picked flowers or anything from nature that your child would find special
  • framing a special photograph of the child doing something they love

5. Acts of Service

When your child asks you to fix a toy or would like to repair something of yours, sometimes it isn’t about getting the task done but rather a need for extra love and attention.

If your child’s primary love language is acts of service, you don’t need to jump at every request. However, it is important to be sensitive to these special requests and understand how your response will either fill your child’s love bucket or empty it. Each request calls for a thoughtful loving response.

Acts of service can include

  • for younger children, instead of telling them to go to bed, carrying them to bed and tucking them in
  • making them a special treat or their favorite meal
  • making them a drink and bringing it to them
  • when running late for an appointment, help your child quickly finish what they are doing so you can both be ready faster, rather than just telling them to hurry
  • making a list of your child’s favorite things to do with you and do one of these things periodically when they least expect it
  • doing a chore they would normally do (e.g., cleaning the playroom, making their bed)
  • brushing their hair
  • organizing/cleaning their closet or drawers
  • checking out library books you know they would like
  • sitting down to do their homework together
  • giving your child a surprise room makeover

The purpose of learning to speak your child’s love language is for you to connect more deeply with your child. This can build their self-worth, which is key for lifelong self-love and confidence and applies to all ages and stages of development, too.

Building an understanding of your own love language and recognizing it may be different to not only that of your child but also your partner is a powerful tool for building beautiful strong family bonds and relationships based on unconditional love and understanding that will last a lifetime. 

Discover your child’s love language

As you try to discover your child’s primary love language, note that:

  1. It takes time to understand your child.
  2. Speak all 5 languages to your child under 4 years old. As your child grows older, he will learn how to receive and express love, and slowly specialize in a love language.
  3. When you speak their love language negatively, you will hurt your child very deeply.
  4. Love language can temporarily change, especially during adolescence.

6 ways to discover your child’s primary love language

1. Observe how your child expresses his love to you. (Best used for children age 5 to 10 years old)

“Mummy you look good in that dress! Mummy I love you so much! Thanks for helping me mum!” – likely words of affirmation

“Papa can I have a hug? Can you hold my hand?” – likely physical touch

“Dad can you help me fix this? I love my mummy because she cooks for me!” – likely acts of service

“Mom can we play together? Daddy let’s read!” – likely quality time

2. Observe how your child expresses his love to others

If your child likes to make gifts for his friends or teachers, his love language might likely be receiving gifts. (Of course, you cannot be the one suggesting that he should make gifts for his teachers, else this is not a valid clue to his love language.)

If your child loves to hugs his friends, physical touch might be his primary love language.

3. Listen to what your child requests most often.

If he is making more requests like “Mum do you think I did well at the piano recital? Dad what do you think of my artwork?”, then he might likely be assured by words of affirmation. 

4. Notice what your child most frequently complains about.

“You are always working. We haven’t played football in a while. You take care of the baby all day!” – likely requesting for quality time.

“I wish you can tell me about my ballet performance. Mummy do you love me?” – likely requesting for words of affirmation

5. Give your child a choice between two options. 

“Do you want me to make cupcakes for you or shall we have some juice together? ” – acts of service vs quality time

“I am going on a work trip. Do you want me to write you a postcard, or buy you a present?” – words of affirmation vs gifts

Make a conscious effort while giving options, and take notes of the choices your child makes.

6. Play a game “I like you because…”

Take turns to complete the sentence: “I like you because…”

Mom: “I like you because you read to your sister!”

Boy: “I like you because you send me to school!”

This is a fun way to learn about your child’s preferred way of receiving love. At the same time, you are also teaching him how to give words of affirmation to others!

What are the benefits of speaking your child’s love language?

  • Speaking your child’s love language makes him feel loved. When he feels loved and has his emotional tank full, he will be more responsive to your parental guidance throughout his life. He will listen and cooperate without resentment. 
  • When you speak your child’s love language, you are teaching her how to love and serve others in different ways. We want our children to be giving and caring – and the best way is to role model.
  • Speaking your child’s love language is an effective way to communicate emotional love. If your child’s love language is quality time, but you are constantly providing words of affirmation, he may not feel that you truly love him.

Be multilingual

Whatever your child’s primary love language may be, always speak all five languages to them. 

Avoid the mistake of using one language and exclude others, particularly for gifts. 

Our role is to nurture our kids with all five languages, so they will learn how to give and receive love to different people as they meet as they grow up.

COOL RESOURCE - Want to learn more?

The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively

By Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

You know you love your child. But how can you make sure your child knows it?

The #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages® has helped millions of couples learn the secret to building a love that lasts. Now discover how to speak your child’s love language in a way that he or she understands. Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell help you:

  • Discover your child’s love language
  • Assist your child in successful learning
  • Use the love languages to correct and discipline more effectively
  • Build a foundation of unconditional love for your child

Plus: Find dozens of tips for practical ways to speak your child’s love language.

Discover your child's primary language—then speak it—and you will be well on your way to a stronger relationship with your flourishing child.  Paperback $11.99 Amazon





FREE: The Power of Positive Parenting


What you will learn:

  • What is Positive Parenting and Positive Discipline?
  • The 5 Criteria for Positive Discipline 
  • Where we are & where we want to go with our children and learn the most important parenting tool! 
  • Positive Discipline Tool Exploration 
  • How you can learn more! 

This class is interactive and experiential. Please be prepared to participate. I will send you an email prior to class with useful tools and tips as well as material for our activities.

February Class
​Date: Wednesday,  February 7 2024
Time: 12pm - 1pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Saturday, February 3, 2024 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.
March Class
​Date: Sunday,  March 10, 2024
Time: 5pm - 6pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration Deadline is Friday, March 8, 2024 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.

Positive Parenting Bootcamp - 3 Session Course

Join parents & caregivers like you for 3 Sessions of Positive Parenting classes taught by Melissa Middelthon. Based on Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline books, you will learn to discipline with firmness and kindness. Have fun with kids and set the foundation for important social and life skills. Help children feel a sense of belonging and significance through mutual respect and encouragement. These classes are a fun way to connect with other parents in the community and practice the skills over a few weeks so that you can go more in-depth with the material.


"The class was very helpful in reducing stress and frustration in parenting. The knowledge that it is never too late to change your approach...we are so adaptable." 

"Taking this class was one of the best things I've done for myself and my family since my child was born. I refer back to the class's concepts in order to deal with day-to-day issues and also feel like I have an overarching philosophy to help me as I navigate the parenting world."


A course for parents and caregivers

 Parents and caregivers will learn long ­term solutions for raising kids to feel “I am capable, I can contribute, and I can use my personal power in useful ways to improve my life and the lives of others!” Positive Discipline teaches long ­term parenting skills that will encourage children to think for themselves, become more responsible and have a greater respect for themselves and others. Feel supported while learning some non­-punitive, respectful methods that will incorporate kindness and firmness into your relationship with your children. Get to the core of your children's misbehavior, practice encouraging tools and gain a sense of accomplishment.

This is a highly engaging ONLINE course that works best if you can participate on a computer or tablet. We will be co-creating a safe and supportive space that will include a mix of lecture, small and large group activities, role play and collaboration. 

Course Registration: $150 



Pricing includes one digital set of all materials needed for the course:  Positive Discipline, by Jane Nelsen, The Positive Discipline Workbook, Parenting Tool cards, and bonus access to videos of key lessons and a Family Meeting Toolkit.

 Winter Session:

Saturdays, March 2nd, 9th, and 16th 2024 10am-12pm EST

 Register: Positive Parenting Bootcamp -3 Session Course - Saturdays, March 2, 9, 16, 2024 10am - 12pm EST

Registration Deadline:  Saturday, February 24, 2024

Class Min 8 people / Max 24



Parent and Family Coaching 

Parent coaching is designed to provide insight, help parents discover newfound energy in their parenting, develop an appreciation for what they have and who they are, and create sustainable ways to achieve their vision or dream for their family.  Different than therapy, coaching’s unique methodology allows the coach to provide support as a cheerleader, guide, and mirror. Coaching is perfect for helping parents who are feeling overwhelmed, parents who are baffled by their children’s behavior, parents who are looking to bolster their parenting “tool box,” and parents who simply want to take their family’s life from good to great.  Interested to see if Coaching would be a good fit for your family?  Click below to schedule a complimentary discovery call.


Schedule Your Free Create Your Inspired Family Discovery Call Today