3 Reasons Why Every Kid’s Love Language is Quality Time

My amazing friend Shelley is a blogger over at Savoring Single, and she’s been doing an incredible study with her book club about the five love languages.  I think every single woman should check out her blog—she’s an incredible writer and encourager and she inspires me almost every day!  Anyway….she got me thinking about the love languages in regard to my kids….

For reference, the five love languages (according to Dr. Gary Chapman) are: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  Read more and find out your love language here.

It’s been a long time since I read the Love Languages books, but I observe my children and husband’s love languages in action on a daily basis.  One of the biggest distinctions I’ve noticed in all of them is that they show love differently than they receive it.  My almost-nine-year-old son gives the BEST hugs.  But I made him take the test, and physical touch was his lowest score. It’s hard to really tell with kids as young as my daughter, who is five, but she loves to do things to help others (acts of service).  It might be a handmade card, or folding towels for me, or cleaning her room without being asked—but she shows love the same way her daddy does.  I’m aware that I’m completely spoiled rotten, because my husband shows love through acts of service.  It’s routine for him to do the dishes or laundry–because that’s how he shows me he loves me.  When we were first married—whew—I had no clue that this was a thing.  I “receive” love through quality time and words of affirmation, and acts of service is one of the lowest on my score.  I’ve learned, however, to interpret his love through acts of service, regardless.  It’s a beautiful thing to find my dishes done, no matter what my love language is.

Obviously the five love languages apply to children too.  But in all of my years of being around kids and raising my own, I’ve noticed that quality time is how every kid receives love–in spite of what their “test results” may conclude.  I have spent many years as a piano teacher.  I like to think that, for the most part, my piano students enjoyed their lessons–I used motivators and games and candy and fun songs to try to keep them engaged.   Over the years, I noticed one thing: regardless of their musical talent or enjoyment, they all seemed to love having time with a teacher, one-on-one, who will focus on them, ask them questions, and help them learn.  It’s quality time at its finest.  I had parents jokingly mention that their kids only like lessons so they can get out of classroom time.  What kid wouldn’t want to go from a classroom of 20 kids and 1 or 2 teachers, to a piano lesson with just 1 teacher focused solely on them? All kids experience love through quality time.wordswag_1494188372265.png

So I’m not a therapist, nor do I claim to be, but based on my humble observations, here are three reasons why I believe every child’s love language is quality time:

  1. Parents are a child’s first contact with the outside world.  They learn through spending time with their parents–through watching them model life in general.  They learn and develop language and social interactions by what they see their parents say and do.  All of this requires time–from birth on up.  In a sense, parents have all the “fun ideas”–at least, from a small child’s perspective.  They don’t know any different.  Ultimately, they experience love first and foremost from spending time with their parents.
  2. In the same way, parents define love to their children.  Did you ever spend the night at a friend’s house as a kid and notice that their bedtime routine was completely different from yours? Maybe their mom just blew a kiss up the stairs and said “go to bed!” whereas you were used to being tucked in, prayed with, and kissed on the forehead before you fell asleep….  It doesn’t mean your friend’s parents didn’t love her, it just meant they showed it differently.  As parents, we have the opportunity to set the standard of what love looks like.wordswag_1497406036540.png  {Are you feeling tremendous responsibility right now? Me too….}  But the good news is, we don’t have to model it the way our parents did or didn’t.  Maybe no one told you they loved you growing up.  You’re allowed to tell your kids every day.  Ten times a day if you want.  But all of it requires time and it all boils down to being there, spending time with your kids.
  3. Every other love language begins with quality time.  Maybe your child lights up when they’re complimented.  Or when you surprise them with a small gift.  Or when you rub their back at night as they fall asleep.  I get it.  Once you know what to look for, your child’s love language can become very clear.  But—can we all agree that it takes time and effort to stop and compliment your child, or to go to the store to pick out a treat, or to spend 15 minutes rubbing a back when you can barely keep your own eyes open?  Sometimes quality time is a sacrifice.  Maybe most times it is–at least, it requires we sacrifice our own agenda.  But the greatest acts of love always cost, don’t they?

I often wonder if my children feel loved enough.  How can we tell?  It’s heartbreaking to think about the millions of kids around the world who have no one to spend time with them.  Sometimes, I’ve asked my kids: “Do you know Mommy loves you?” But they always giggle and say “yes, Mommy!”  Do they really know it?  I hope so.  In the meantime, I can’t go wrong by giving them my time.  It’s not always easy.  But it’s always worth it.  wordswag_1497405851462

One Comment

  • Sharrah

    “Every other love language begins with quality time. ” Thanks Becki, that really really makes sense and is so helpful!

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