February. The month of love.

Shops, adverts, and magazines all tell us how love should feel and what it should look like. In our house, Valentine’s Day is known as Heart Day. As parents, we consciously moved away from the romantic notions of the day. Heart day is all about love. Period. We make it special for the whole family. We can all appreciate love, and we all experience it in different ways within a family unit. 

cover of The 5 Love Languages book

A couple of years ago I stumbled across the work of Dr. Gary Chapman. He explores the notion that as humans we all experience and express love in five different ways. He has different variations in books called The 5 Love Languages. They are split into categories for Singles, Couples, Men, Children, Teens, and Military; you can learn your love language by doing a quick survey on their website. 

Once you understand how your spouse and children feel loved, it is like you had been walking around with the wrong prescription in your glasses. The optician slides the correct lenses in front of your eyes, and you wonder how you could have ever thought the old pair fitted properly. 

Each person by the end of the survey will have a 1-5 in order of what means the most to you. The 5 love languages that humans experience love are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Gifts 
  3. Physical Touch
  4. Acts of Service 
  5. Quality Time 

When my husband and I did the survey, my top was Words of Affirmation; his was Physical Touch. While these were not wholly surprising to us, it was interesting to contemplate the order in which the other 4 fell after them. 

Children and Love

‘You have to know how to communicate love to a child so that he genuinely feels loved’. 

Dr. Gary Chapman

Try reading those 5 categories from a parental perspective. You may already have suspicions which love languages are the most important ones for your children; it may still be a mystery. If you have younger children, you won’t be able to really start to order them until they are about 5 years old, and this is the youngest age bracket that Dr. Chapman advises to begin with.I love your heart on a pink cutout heart

My eldest is 5 years old. I already know for sure that her top love language is just like her Mama’s. Hers is Words of Affirmation. She lights up like a Chinese lantern in the darkness when you tell her she has done a great job. A close second is Quality Time. She thrives on one to one time or doing something especially for her and you together. 

So in honour of February and the month of love, I have put together some creative ideas of how you can show your children love in the ways they appreciate it.

If you have taken the 5 Love Languages survey with your children and know the order of their love languages, this will be an easy follow. If you are still working them out, try doing one activity suggested for each of the love languages. You may find it illuminating! Hint: if your child doesn’t stop talking about one of them, it may be a good sign as to which love languages rank higher for them. 

   

February Love Affirmation Activities: 

Love Languages 

Activities 

Words of Affirmation 

  • Every morning for a week, leave a post-it note on their door or bathroom mirror stating one thing you love about them. 
  • Hide a note in a school lunch box for them to find when they least expect it. 
  • Make sure that at least once a day for a week, look them in the eyes and tell them that you are proud of them. 

Acts of Service 

  • For one week in February sit them down before you do the food shopping and allow them to pick every evening meal. 
  • Fix the toys they have been asking to be fixed but have been sitting waiting for that day. 

Quality Time

  • Plan a date day/night of one to one time. Go to the cinema, out for a meal or out bouldering. Or perhaps go get your nails done and go shopping. 
  • Don’t have a day? One evening or weekend afternoon make extra special hot chocolates and sit somewhere cozy together and talk. 
  • Grab a colouring book and sit and colour side by side together for 20 minutes. 

Physical Touch 

  • Make popcorn and curl up under a blanket to watch a movie together.
  • Build a blanket fort and hide inside to read books together.
  • Power Up hugs. Every day for a week, make sure to give them one special hug: a hug that is longer than usual; a bear hug where you really feel it; an embrace like you are charging up each other’s batteries. 

Gifts 

  • Make a treasure hunt for your child that ends in a small beautifully wrapped present that you know they will like. 
  • Discreetly find out what their favourite colours and flowers are and surprise them by picking them up from school with a bunch of beautiful flowers. 
  • Before bath time or shower time, leave in the bathroom a special bath bomb or luxurious bath bubbles/salts for them to soak themselves with. 

As adults, we realize that not everyone is exactly the same as us. We all experience things in our life with different lenses. Children are still working that out. They still avidly give love in the hopes of reciprocation of love. It’s a pure form of love and appreciation.

With a little effort and time, you can also find the best ways to show your children love – during February and every day of the year. I think both of you will enjoy the actions and rewards!

 

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Grace Selous Bull
Grace is a Royal Air Force wife and has been for nearly 8 years. She is mama to two fiery girls and one paw pad, and is undeniably British!’ Creative by nature, creative in life she and her family are a consciously creative household. With her background in the arts, before marriage she worked in the London art scene, both at an international auction house as well as for an international art consultancy. Leaving this behind her passion for creativity, art education and the arts didn’t fade but spilled over into her family life. This led her to become an author of a children’s art educational book, Potty About Pots: arts and crafts for home and school and start up her own website, The Rainbow Tree: making creativity accessible. She also began to write for companies like Super Simple. After a particularly difficult deployment last year she has become a strong advocate for creative mindfulness after watching her eldest struggle with anxiety throughout. Using creativity as a tool to get through, she saw her daughter more able to deal with day to day life. Grace believes that creativity is an innate gift every human has and that using it every day allows us to maintain a healthy well being. This is is especially important for children who benefit developmentally, socially, emotionally and mentally in being creative day to day.

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