Have you heard of the 5 Love Languages?! It’s okay if you haven’t, I am going to explain what they are, why they are important, and how you can use them to fill your child’s cup!
The 5 Love Languages is a book by Dr. Gary Chapman, it focuses on adult relationships and how learning to speak one another love “language” can lead to happier and healthier relationships. He has also published a version called the “5 Love Languages for Kids”, which is (also) extremely interesting, and it has changed my perspective on how I approach my children. I do my best to incorporate these ideas into my sleep training programs with my clients, especially those with babies over 12 months old.
First things first, what are the 5 love languages? Physical Touch, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Words of Affirmation.
Everyone gives and receives love in different ways! As adults, we tend to have one primary love language, and possibly a secondary. My main love language is words of affirmation, and my second would be physical touch. Once I learned this about myself, it made my relationships so much easier to navigate! I could recognize what I needed from others, to allow me to feel most loved. I also learned to identify how those around me accepted love best, so I could ensure that I was loving them properly. This idea truly did change my life. It made many relationships flourish, while others suffered, and some ultimately ended. I am better for it, because we all deserve to feel loved by those who we pour into.
How does this relate to raising children, and sleep training? Well, Dr. Gary Chapman says that we should be speaking ALL FIVE languages to our children, up to the age of 6 years old. They will not land on one or two love languages until they are around six, so we want to expose them to all of them. This will give them the opportunity to learn how to give and receive love in all 5 languages, so that they have a better chance to thrive in their relationships throughout their lives. So, even if their main way of giving/receiving love is physical touch, your child needs to be exposed to the other 4 languages as well!
This may be difficult for you at first. It is not as natural for us to give love in a way that we don’t understand as well, but it is so worth it! I want to give you some examples of how you can incorporate all 5 love languages into your child’s day and sleep routine!
-cuddle together while you read a book or watch a show
-hold their hand while you walk
-make a point of touching them or cuddling, when you’re sitting next to them
-hugs and kisses before you leave the room for bed/naps
-baby massage after a bath
-take a bath/shower together
-take a bath/shower together
-cuddle and read/watch a show together
-sit on the floor, or kneel at their level when speaking with them
-go for a walk or to the park
-have a picnic lunch on the floor
-put your phone away for quality time
-do a puzzle, blocks, or other toys with them
-read a book to them
-join them on the floor for tummy time
-spend time with each child individually (if you have more than one child)
-spend a few extra minutes during the bedtime routine talking about their day
-if you get them something, wrap it! This makes it that much more special for them
-a reward chart at bedtime is great for this! Sometimes all it takes is a sticker
-let them know you were thinking of them and bring them a special treat when you go to the store
-but them something they have talked about, for no reason
-if they have siblings, be sure to be mindful of being fair
-let them have a say in their bedding/bed/room/pajamas
-buy them a new toothbrush
Acts of Service
-help them tidy their toys before bed
-help them brush their teeth
-tuck them in
-wash their lovey
-get them water and anything else they need for sleep
Words of Affirmation
-talk about the day
-tell them something that made you proud of them that day
-remind them that they are loved
-tell them about a quality they have that you admire
-tell them that they are a great daughter, sister, friend, person
-compliment them regularly
-instead of saying “good job,” tell them something specific that you liked about what they did
What is your love language?! What about your partners? Do you think your baby/child has a primary language already?!