top of page

What's Your Child's Love Language?

Maria Montessori said, “Of all things, love is the most potent.” Simple and true, but we give and receive love in different ways. According to American author Gary Chapman, there are five love languages. While most people use all five to some degree, each person has a dominant one.

Not all kids appreciate the same kind of attention or affection. Observe how your child expresses love to you and to others, and note how they respond to warm words and acts of care. Knowing their primary love language can guide how you offer support and connect with them. Let’s figure it out!

  • Words of Affirmation

If your child regularly seeks verbal feedback, or repeatedly requests reassurance that they are loved, their love language is Words of Affirmation. They appreciate unprompted praise, acknowledgement of their efforts, like “I see you’ve done all your chores this week,” or a simple “I love you.” Regularly use encouraging words and phrases when you speak to them. Compliment them in front of other people, or let them “overhear” when you speak highly of them. Cheer them on during games. Call them by a special nickname. Your child will relish little notes in their lunch box and celebratory greeting cards they can save.

  • Quality Time

Does your child make specific requests for your attention like “Can you play with me?” or say “Watch me!” often? Then their love language is Quality Time! It isn’t just about being in the same space together; stop what you’re doing, make eye contact, and truly give them your undivided attention. They want to know you are choosing to spend time with them, without the distraction of work, devices, or other people. Work on household chores or run errands together. Play a game, or create art side by side. Go on one-on-one outings, like taking a walk or going out for ice cream. Make space for them to share private thoughts and feelings with only you.

  • Receiving Gifts

Does your child prefer getting presents to receiving attention for their accomplishments? Do they find it difficult to get rid of items they were given, even if they no longer use them? No, your kid is not spoiled or materialistic if their love language is Receiving Gifts. They value tangible tokens of your affection because it is an expression of your love; the size or monetary value of a special surprise doesn’t necessarily matter. Whether you give them a keychain when you return from a trip, make their favorite meal, find a seashell you think they might like, or surprise them with a book they mentioned last week, they feel loved. What infuses a gift with meaning is the knowledge that you were thinking of them.

  • Physical Touch

Snuggling close during a bedtime story, running up for a hug as soon as you get home, and even giving you lots of high fives are signs that your child’s love language is Physical Touch. Physical connection calms the nervous system, and for them, conveys love more than gifts or words. When they are sad or upset, they find comfort in being held rather than talking about the issue. If you notice that your child is constantly in your personal space, this can indicate a desire for more physical contact. Offer plenty of hugs, kisses, tickles, and pats on the back. Hold hands while walking or sitting next to each other. Play a sport together. Give them a sensory comfort item, like a soft pillow. Make up a special handshake, just for the two of you!

  • Acts of Service

One might argue that being a parent is nothing but acts of service! But the love language known as Acts of Service is about thoughtful gestures and doing things that are not normally included in tending to your child’s daily needs. When your kid asks for help learning a new skill or requests some guidance with homework, they see the time and effort you devote to them as signs of love. Make a special meal together. Be available to help complete their chores when they seem overwhelmed by the day’s activities. Simply ask how you can help them today. Express appreciation for their thoughtful gestures!

Does performing acts of service for your child go against the Montessori principle of encouraging independence? Absolutely not! The best act of service you can provide your child is to teach them how to manage new processes so they can become self-reliant and more capable.

Keep in mind that as your child grows older, and they progress through developmental stages, the way they interact with the world will inevitably shift, and their preferred love language may change. Your cuddly toddler may not appreciate daily hugs when they’ve grown into an independent tween! Continue to observe their behaviors and pay attention to what they communicate, in words and actions. Even when your child’s primary love language isn’t clear, the important thing is that you are reaching for a meaningful connection. Be with them in the present moment, and they will feel your love!


bottom of page