Unconditional love is something we each strive to give our children. While it can sometimes be a challenge to offer up care and compassion, through our actions and words, showing the child in our lives love is always the goal. But here’s the thing: We each show and feel love in our own unique ways, and there are different actions and words that can make us feel more loved.
How many of us know exactly how our children show their love? Do we know how they like to receive it best? These are key questions to reflect on that can help make our children feel connected and supported. It’s important to remember that sometimes, how we give our love might not perfectly align with how our child receives it. That’s why it can be helpful to learn more about what makes your child feel the most loved.
We created The Love Bug Quiz to help you learn more about how your child receives love best. Read through the different profiles below to determine which one sounds most like your child. Once you find a profile that matches, read through our tips for how to best give love to your little one.
Which Sounds Like Your Kiddo?
The Snuggle Bug:
This kiddo loves to snuggle, hug, kiss, hold hands, touch and perhaps even “cling” from time to time. They may love to be carried or sit on their caregivers laps. Parents of these kiddos can sometimes feel “touched out,” unless physical touch is their favorite way to receive love too. These physical kiddos often need lots of reinforcement of their love in physical ways.
Here are some tips for sending love to your Snuggle Bug:
- Rough house: Lots of snuggler kiddos love to wrestle and tumble around. Turns out that rough and tumble play is often great for attachment and physical development as long as boundaries are established and respected (by both child and adult).
- Schedule in Snuggles: To make sure your snuggle bug gets the snuggle time they need from you, consider building it into your routine. Bedtime routines can lend themselves well to snuggles. Perhaps reading time can be done from your lap, or snuggled up close.
- Set Boundaries: If you find yourself getting “touched out” and needing some space, don’t let it build up. Give a good hug and then let your child know that you love them but you will need some time for your body to have more space.
The Practical Helper:
This child loves to be a helper, and loves to ask you to help them with things. They may want to do little acts of kindness, like helping clean something up as a surprise for you. They watch your eyes light up as you show your appreciation for their act of service.
Here are some tips for sending love to your Practical Helper:
- Put words to actions: Help your child know that you see and appreciate their effort. Saying to them, “Wow, you worked so hard on that project, you really wanted to do something special for me.” This can help them put words to their actions to find additional ways to communicate.
- Let them know love is unconditional: Although the acts of service may be delightful (we wish we had one of these kiddos at home)-it's important that they know that they don’t HAVE to do these things to get love. Let them know that they will be loved even if they don’t go overboard.
- Share the love: Ask your child if there is something you do that makes them feel loved. Do they like it when you cook their favorite dinner? Do they like it when you help with their homework? Learn the specifics about what makes them feel loved.
The Playtime Buddy:
This kiddo just loves to spend time with you. They love going on special parent-child outings, they love spending quality play time together. You can feel them start to relax when they get one on one time with you. This is likely the most common of all the love types for children, as many parents seem to notice that their children benefit from quality time together.
Here are some tips for sending love to your Playtime Buddy:
- Set aside time: Finding time to play with your child can be tough for busy parents. Remember that even 10 minutes of uninterrupted time can mean so much to kids. Put away your phones, stay focused and set a timer for yourself for uninterrupted time with your kiddo.
- Do something special: If it’s been a busy week, or you’ve been distracted with other projects, consider a special putting your date with your child as a great “reset button.” Try heading to a coffee shop or park together as a quick outing that helps you reconnect. Even better if you can do it one on one.
- Reassure them: Sometimes we just don’t have time, perhaps it’s work, a new baby, illness, or a myriad of other stressors. Reassure your child that even though you’ve been busy, you still love them. Set a plan for future time together when you can.
The Words-of-Love Seeker:
Some kiddos really seem to take in information when they receive positive words from their caregivers. These kiddos tend to really listen when people say “I love you” and “I appreciate you.” These words feel reassuring to them and help them feel connected to the ones they love.
Here are some tips for sending love to your Words-of-Love Seeker:
- Choose words wisely: You may have heard that praise can backfire for kids, and lead to them feeling less confident, but if you choose your words of affirmation wisely, you can still help your child feel loved in a deep and supportive way. Try choosing words that validate your feelings towards them ie. “ I love you” and “I’m really enjoying this time with you.” Those types of phrases
- Reassure them: Let your child know that you love them, even when you aren’t there to tell them. Help them understand that even in quiet moments, they are always loved.
- Encourage them: If your child doesn’t already share their love through words, you could help them find words to express their love too. Ask them questions like, “What was your favorite part of playing with me today?” to help them find words of appreciation to share. Love grows and we share and receive it, so helping our children send words of love can help them feel good too.
The Gift Enthusiast:
This child loves to give and receive gifts. The gifts don’t have to be big or expensive. They may draw you a picture and want you to keep it. They may find a flower and pick it just for you. They may also light up with joy when you surprise them with something small. These kiddos love seeing and feeling love in the form of something concrete.
Here are some tips for sending love to your Gift Enthusiast:
- Don’t go overboard: For these kiddos, the bigger the gift… doesn’t always compute to feeling more loved… even though they love gifts. These kiddos don’t need a lot. Even a rock with the word “LOVE” written on it can be meaningful to these kiddos.
- Find a way to save: Your kiddo may be giving you tons and tons of pictures and art projects from school. This can be overwhelming for parents, but these kiddos can feel really hurt if you throw them away-however for your own sanity-we understand you may need to. Try to find creative ways of staying connected with their gifts. Perhaps you could take a picture of their art before recycling. Let your child know that their gift will stay in your heart and in your memory forever.
- Show other ways: For these kiddos it can be helpful to remind them that even if you don’t have a gift for them, you always love them. Help them understand that they don’t always need something new to feel loved.