The 5 Love Languages
You may express affection to your family and loved ones on a regular basis, but are you taking the time to make sure you are communicating it in a way that is most effective for them to receive it? There are 5 types of love languages that people use to communicate, and yours may be different than others in your family, including your children. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. The concept of love languages was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman. Children can show their love languages in many different ways.
For many kids, a hug may say I love you, but for those who look for physical touch, it shouts, “I LOVE YOU!” Other ways to express love to them include a snuggle on the couch, asking your kid if she wants to sit on your lap, and offering foot massages and high fives.
Someone whose primary love language is gifts often remembers who gave him what and why they gave it for months or years after the fact. Another way to tell if this is your child’s love language is if your child has trouble throwing out things he’d been given, even if he hasn’t looked at them in ages. Your child sees a gift as a symbol of your love. Not all of these gifts need to cost money. Try leaving them a homemade snack or a wildflower that made you think of them. Stickers and star charts are also concrete ways of making these children feel valued.
If your child thrives whenever you praise her or offer her sweet feedback, she probably relishes words of affirmation. Little notes in their lunch box, texts, and even a bracelet with something like “my hero” printed on it can mean the world to these kids. Another way to meet their love language could be whispering loudly to a stuffed animal, another adult, or even a bird outside about something your kid did well.
Acts of service is the most peculiar-sounding love language, but kids who speak it appreciate thoughtful gestures. He may beg you to tie his shoes for him, fix a broken toy, or fluff his pillow. As a result, parents of these kids often end up feeling like servants. But as these children—and all kids—grow, it’s important to encourage self-reliance and expect them to do what they can for themselves at each stage of development. The best act of service you can provide is walking your child through a new process and teaching him, step-by-step.
A child who often says, “Watch this!”, “Play with me” or “Come look at this” is begging for quality time. In addition to just being together, offer your undivided attention. Let them choose the activity from time to time and be fully present with them at that moment.
Love languages for some stick with them their whole life, however, for some children their preference may change from stage to stage. Check in from time to time with your loved ones and observe what love language they are needing most at this time in life.
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