Discovering Your Child’s Love Language

Author Dr. Gary Chapman’s original book, The Five Love Languages, was hot off the press back in 1995, but the message is still as current today: in discovering your significant other’s primary communication style, you will know better how to love him or her.

Those communication styles (more commonly referred to as “love languages”) include: Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. The notion is that while it’s important to practice all five in your relationship, it’s beneficial to know which one your spouse favors so he/she has a full emotional tank.

Since my husband and I so frequently referenced the book to others in the early years of our marriage, we decided to keep an extra on our shelf to loan out. But I mistakenly ordered Chapman’s co-authored book with Dr. Ross Campbell, The Five Love Languages of Children instead.

I was about to send it back since we didn’t have any kids yet, but I figured it was worth hanging on to. Though the paperback’s acquired a little dust over several moves, I came across it recently and took it off the shelf. Here’s a little of what I found inside:    

“Only the child who feels genuinely loved and cared for can do her best. You may truly love your child-but unless she feels it-unless you speak the love language that communicates to her your love, she will not feel loved.”

Chapman and Campbell claim that you must practice all love languages to keep your child’s emotional tank full. In fact, until your child is about five-years-old, it will be hard to decipher his or her primary love language. But it helps to deliberately practice all of them, knowing that in their earliest years, you are planting the seeds that will help them grow into adults who bless the world around them.

Quality Time

  The authors define Quality Time as “a parent’s gift of presence to a child.” While it’s important for parents to set apart undivided time for their children no matter how hectic life gets, there are some children who perceive personal time together as the foremost importance.

Through their numerous interviews with children, Chapman and Campbell asked, “How do you know that your dad loves you?” When a seven-year-old boy responded with, “He does things with me. Things like shooting baskets and washing the car. And going to the barbershop together,” he indicated that Quality Time is his primary love language.

Though I know she’s a bit young to gauge, I’m starting to suspect my three-year-old daughter’s love language is Quality Time. If she wants my attention, Josie presses the top of my laptop down, asks me to sit with her to watch cartoons, and gets out of bed extra early to snuggle with me in the morning.

Chapman and Campbell encourage parents to find small ways to give their children the gift of time. From their listing, some helpful suggestions include: scheduling a specific “date time” with each of your children and setting aside a certain place in your house where you can play. A walk-in-closet can become a “castle;” a segment of a garage can become a “workshop.”

Gifts:

The act of giving tells some children just how much their parents care for them.  The authors are quick to tell parents that the love language of Gifts is not referencing awards or allowances that are earned; those purchases belong in a separate category.” Nor is the love language of Gifts giving-in to please children whenever they desire something.

Rather, this love language “is an expression of love for the individual and is freely given by the donor…with sincere hearts for the benefit of our children.”

For example, when parents are on a business trip and remember to pick out something unique for their child-such as a seashell or a stone-it’s the memento rather than the worth of the object that truly matters.

If your child’s love language is Gifts, several suggestions for keeping their “tank” full include putting a surprise in his/her lunchbox, serving snacks on a special plate, and considering a gift that lasts such as a tree you can plant together in the back yard.

Acts of Service:

The authors tell us that “we serve our children, but as they are ready, we teach them how to serve themselves and then others.”

Though we’ll teach each of our children how to serve, the child with this love language will pay special attention to the details. He may want to watch you through each step of preparing a meal even though it’s not necessarily convenient to slow down at the time.

Yet, “if your only objective is to get the food on the table, you might as well prepare all the meals,” the writers say. “But if your objective is to love your children-looking out for their best interests-you will want to teach them how to cook. The best motivation for your children is to see your genuine acts of love for the family as you serve them over many years.”

Chapman and Campbell say that helping your child practice for a team sport, sitting down to help with homework, and setting up a service project to do together might be things your service-minded child would find especially meaningful.

Words of Affirmation:

  A child will reap encouraging words for a lifetime, and all the more if that child’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation.

Since “encourage” means “to instill courage,” our words can help give children the confidence to attempt more, whether that’s learning to ride a bike, going out for a new sport, or learning how to paint.

Not surprisingly, words of condemnation will cut a child who values words pretty deeply. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but when I told my five-year-old son he was being a “brat,” he was quick to tell me “that’s a bad word, Mom. That’s not what I am.” Realizing just how much he thrives off affirming words, I’m watching my word choice a little more carefully now.

If you have a child with the primary love language “Words of Affirmation,” nurturing suggestions include putting post-it notes in lunchboxes with meaningful messages written on them, asking your child what he wants to do when he grows up, encouraging him on that endeavor frequently, and sharing five reasons why you are proud of your child when he is feeling down.

Physical Touch

  For some children, the kind touch of a parent or guardian shouts “I love you!” louder than the other love languages.

The authors were easily able to pinpoint the primary love language of a fifth grade girl they interviewed when she said, “I know my parents love me because they give me lots of hugs and kisses.”

Chapman and Campbell wisely speak on the changes that come with age and gender and remind parents that “physical touch” is not only lovey-dovey; it can be the wrestling, jostling, bear-hugs, and give-me-fives that many young boys crave. It can be the pat on the back after a tough day or the family holding hands together as they ask a blessing over their evening meal.

Ideas for physical touch between parents and children include: reading stories with a younger child on your lap, playing games or sports that involve contact, and purchasing a gift for your child that is touch-oriented, such as a soft pillow, blanket or sweater.

Though you may be familiar with the five love languages, I’ve found it can help to refresh them, especially as they pertain to young ones. If interested in discovering what your child’s primary love language might be, please visit: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/children/.

February events:

CWU: Wolves in Washington State exhibit. Examines wolf ecology, highlights the role these animals play in our ecosystem, includes a touchable wolf skull cast and touchable comparative species track. On view through mid April, located in Dean Hall, 1200 N. D. St., Wednesday through Friday 11am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 3 pm.

Youth Climbing Program: Kid’s Rock, held at CWU’s climbing wall on Sundays from 3-4:30 p.m., cost is $8 per week for children of Rec Members, $12 for non-members. Kids ages six through 12 are welcome to attend with a parent/guardian. Must preregister, please call 509-963-3512 for further details.

Ellensburg Christian School Auction: Saturday, February 22 in the SURC Ballroom. The event begins with the silent auction at 5 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m., and live auction at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $25 and for sale at ECS, Fitterer’s Furniture, and Old Mill County Store.

Ellensburg High School and Central Theater Ensemble present: “Annie, Get Your Gun.” Enjoy the tale of great sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Located at McConnell Auditorium, adults $15 per ticket, children $8, student with ID $8, February 22, 27, 28, March 1 7 p.m.

Ellensburg Public Library: Come join Ms. Josephine, Children’s Librarian, for Toddler Storytime at 10:15, Preschool Storytime at 11:15 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Bookworms for 1-5 grade at 3:30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Baby Bounce at 10:15 on Fridays.

MOPS: February meeting is Friday the 21 at 9 p.m., Mercer Creek Church. New and returning mothers are invited to a morning of free childcare for their little ones (infant through kindergarten), while they gather at their table for socializing, breakfast, coffee, and a craft.

Rodeo City Gymnastics offers Toddler Time Mondays from 9:30-11a.m. The cost is $5 per child, ages six and under. 6061 Vantage Hwy. For further info. on Pre-school gymnastics and Girls and Boys Gymnastics ages five and older, please call 509-925-7380.

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Harvest Fest

  • Dusty’s Nursery Harvestfest: October 12, 10 am to 4 pm, 1116 E. Mountain View Ave. Join in for a fun-filled family day of music, games and prizes, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, Balloon Man, corn maze and more! The pumpkin patch will be open to find your perfect jack o’lantern too! Concessions by Udderly Espresso. Come see where everyone has been having a fall blast for the last 10 years! Admission is $3 for kids 2-12. Adults and infants free. (Does not include pumpkin patch or concessions)
  • Huffman Farms: October 12 & 13th Pumpkin’lympic Days 10 am to 4 pm, 6181 Wilson Creek Rd, “Grab your family and friends and come prepared to compete in family friendly field day activities like our gourd relay, pumpkin stacking and three legged races to name a few. Then, jump aboard a hayride, make some four-legged friends in our petting zoo, chuck some far-flung pumpkins, adventure throughout our kid’s play area, challenge a friend to a duck race, pick the perfect pumpkin straight from the patch, score some goals on our soccer field, indulge in our down home BBQ, shop for festive fall décor and more” (www.huffmanfarms.com)
  • Suncadia’s 8th Annual Harvest Festival final weekend is October 12 &13. 12-4 A great way to celebrate fall with the entire family. Festivities occur at the Historic Nelson Dairy Farm both weekends and includes a Haunted Movie Theater with daily movies, wagon and pony rides, a kid-friendly Haunted House hosted by local fire districts, arts and crafts, 1,000 bale straw maze, pumpkin patch, merchant market featuring local artisans, food & beer garden, plus much more. Don’t miss the Big Dirty Run Sunday, Oct. 13.
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On the Web

Start a Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com.

Local Personal Trainer and Mom Dania Cochran with daughter Paisley

Local Personal Trainer and Mom Dania Cochran with daughter Paisley

 

Pinterest:  The Pros and Cons

By Alisa Weis

For The Daily Record

 

Though new uses of social media can be intimidating at first, many are drawn to Pinterest because it’s an inspiration mecca.

The website has caught the eye of everyone from brides-to-be to aspiring chefs to home renovators, and the “social scrapbook” offers a wide array of categories — food and drink, weddings, health and nutrition, education,  film, music and books. Ask a friend where she got the cute centerpiece on her coffee table, and odds are, she’ll tell you she found inspiration on Pinterest.

 

Pros of Pinterest

While some use Pinterest to explore their hobbies, others visit the site to plan a stylish wedding on a budget or look for a home remedy that they wouldn’t have thought of themselves. For these people, it can be encouraging to see what’s been “tested and tried” by others willing to share their experience.

“Pinterest has been a great tool for me,” says Darcy Stringer of Ellensburg. “I’ve found fantastic healthy recipes, great craft projects, natural health care ideas and DIY natural household cleaners and so much more.”

Though Pinterest boards are often geared toward “do it yourself” design, architecture and art projects, they also can be used to unwind after a long day.

Nikki Pollock of Ellensburg said her favorite part of Pinterest is the humor section in “explore.”

“When I am having a rough day, feeling overwhelmed, or just down, I scroll through the section until I laugh myself into a better mood,” she said. “I don’t spend much time pinning, but it’s almost like flipping through a fun magazine without the cost or paper.

“When I see something I like, instead of cutting it out or flagging it in the magazine I just click and pin it to one of my ‘boards.’ I also let my girls have their own board on my page where they can pin things they like.”

 

How to use it

Though site membership used to require a personal invite from an established member, today’s sign up requires only a valid email address.

Once a new user signs up, he or she is instructed to “follow five boards to fill your feed with pins you like.” The remaining instructions are minimal: “use big images, write thoughtful descriptions, pin things you really love, no nudity,” according to the website. “Pin it” buttons on web content allow users to pin in a single click. In no time at all, new users are able to upload, save, store and manage items or “pins.”

 

Cons of Pinterest

As helpful as Pinterest is to collect and organize information, any user should exercise caution. Since Pinterest offers “just a click away” access to original ideas, one needs to remember that not all information is credible.

It didn’t take long for personal trainer Dania Cochran, who has a masters in exercise science from Central Washington University, to notice several of the pitfalls, especially pertaining to the health and nutrition message boards.

“Anyone in the world can pin,” she says, citing an example of 33 resistance band exercises which don’t correspond to an actual link. “One of the things that bothers me the most is that some people approach Pinterest with high expectations and unrealistic expectations.”

Cochran provides living proof that while the “lose 10 pounds in three days” banners might appeal, it takes hard work, not short cuts to maintain a desirable level of fitness. To train for 2012 NPC Capital City Natural Championships last July, Cochran was extremely focused on her meals. She learned to portion foods like chicken and broccoli in marked baggies, and missed lots of girls’ nights out to get in tip-top shape.

“As a personal trainer, I have to refrain from commenting on some of the message boards at times,” Cochran says. “I remind myself that the posters all have freedom of speech. But what I’d encourage women who are looking for a fitness regimen to do is: read through the description of the exercise, verify the site, watch the exercise on YouTube and ask themselves if they are physically capable before proceeding.”

Apart from the issue of validity, time constraints and personal comparison are two matters that can be drawn into the Pinterest debate.

Stringer, who visits Pinterest on a weekly basis and is grateful for the resource, adds that it can take up a lot of time.

“I get so into pinning what others have pinned, I can’t pull away from it at times,” she said. “One other thing I don’t care for is that if you are looking at the “everything” page you are looking at pins that people outside of your friends list have posted. That can be hard on the eyes, as people have posted nude pictures and things I would not normally see. It can be quite shocking at times, especially if a little one is looking over my shoulder.”

 

A grain of salt     

One final, but worthy consideration before using Pinterest is protecting yourself against the human tendency of comparison. It can be intimidating and downright disheartening at times to follow users who “seem” to have flawless homes, savory meals and perfectly designed crafts.

“I think Pinterest has the potential to create an unhealthy image about what’s important in life,” says Cait Rainsberry of Ellensburg. “It can be a constant reminder that you, the pinner, are not good enough — your house does not look immaculate, your wardrobe is less than desirable, you’re not fit enough, you’re not making delicious meals for your family, the list goes on. However, Pinterest does offer a lot of great ideas when looking for a specific interest.”

If you are Pinterest member — along with the 48.7 million (and counting) others — or considering your first message board, veteran pinners hope that these words of wisdom will help direct you on your image-sharing quest. That said, happy pinning!

 

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