(Inside: Know your child. Create a family connection by learning how your family members feel loved and how you can all love each other better. )
You dropped one kid off at voice lessons, picked another up from swim team and the third you wrangled through homework with a few tears…from you. Do you get stuck in the busyness of life and occasionally find yourself wondering: Do I really know these people I live with?
I asked my dad if he could go back in time and redo one aspect of parenting what would it be? He answered: “I would focus on getting to know my kids more.” (This is coming from a man who slayed fatherhood.)
His words ring in my ears.
I want to know my family. In these fleeting years when my kids are at home. I want to learn about what makes them tick, what their interests are, and how they feel loved. I want us all to learn this about each other.
I read Gary Chapman’s best-selling book The 5 Love Languages® and loved it. Then, I found the resources on his 5 Love Languages Website powerful. I wanted to use these tools to create family-connection by learning more about how my people feel loved.
Here are the steps our family took to utilize the 5 Love Languages Website and build our family connection. (I explain what we did below, but we also I created a nice, lesson plan and worksheet for your family. My coworker – a teacher like me – did this with her family and love it!)
Better know your child and learn how your family feels loved lesson
STEP 1: FIND THE TIME
Dinner is the magic hour for us – everyone likes to gather and eat.
However, perhaps because I’m the only female in my family, the conversation can be…well, hard to get going. (“Oldest son, how was your day?” *Fine.* “Middle son, tell me something funny that happened at school.” *I can’t think of anything.* Fifty questions later and I’ve finally sparked a conversation, but am too mentally exhausted to participate. Okay, kidding – I love words.)
I like that dinner means my family is trapped by hungry tummies and food, so their ears are all mine.
STEP 2: DEFINE EACH LOVE LANGUAGE
My husband and I asked our kids what they thought each love language meant, then went over the definitions after we heard their answers.
- Word of Affirmation (You’re doing a great job, I like you…etc…)
- Physical Touch (Hugs, snuggles…etc.)
- Quality Time (Going to the movies together, a family basketball game…etc.)
- Acts of Service (Someone making your lunch, doing your laundry…etc.)
- Receiving Gifts (Picking up your favorite snack at the store, a birthday present…etc.)
STEP 3: HAVE EACH FAMILY MEMBER TAKE THE “LEARN YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE” ASSESSMENT
During dinner, each person took the assessment on the 5 Love Languages Website’s main page. (Click the big purple button that says, “Learn Your Love Language” and follow the prompts.)
STEP 4: EACH FAMILY MEMBER BRAINSTORMS HOW THEY FEEL LOVED
1. Then, each family member recorded the order of their love languages on this worksheet.
2. Each person wrote down ways/acts/actions/words…etc…that make him/her feel loved. (Bonus, the back of this worksheet can be used to draw pictures for the speedy kid waiting on his/her siblings to finish. Mine choose to draw monsters with vicious teeth. See what your kids come up with as they are pondering love.)
STEP 5: BRAINSTORM HOW OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS FEEL LOVED
Next, we brainstormed how our acts/actions/words make other family members feel loved and recorded it on our worksheet.
STEP 6: SHARING
1. We started with our oldest son, and each family member shared what acts/actions/words we thought made him feel loved. (Kind of like a guessing game.)
2. Our oldest son then told us his love language and shared what actions made him feel loved.
3. Repeat for every family member.
Friends, my non-sappy family members enjoyed this “get to know your child” activity.
It specifically helped me better see how parents can daily strengthen connection: Taking time to tell one kid how proud you are of them for trying so hard at their voice lessons, words of affirmation – powerful. Vanilla shakes after swim practice, receiving gifts – powerful. Sitting next to your kid while he/she struggles with homework, quality time – powerful.
And getting to know our kids – priceless!
PS – Don’t forget to grab your free family connection activity here.
Know your child better by reading the create family connection series
We all want to feel connected to our family. I know, I do.
One of my favorite things to do with my family is to create family time. Yes, life gets busy, and no I don’t do this all perfectly (who actually does!?!), but it sure is fun to try.
I hope you enjoy these family connection articles and ideas too…
Create Family Connection Series
Know Your Child: One Way to Learn How Your Kid Feels Loved
One Easy Way to Get to Know Your Kid
Parenting Tweens: Annoying Ways Tweens Show Their Parents They Love Them
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
Celebrating Real Love This Valentine’s Day With My Family
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.