Love is essential for emotional health and well-being and to feel loved is a primary human emotional need. According to Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages,” love can be expressed and experienced in five ways:
-words of affirmation
-acts of service
We have natural preferences and tendencies to give and receive love in one or two of the five ways listed.
Dr. Ross Campbell, a psychiatrist of children and adolescents, suggests each person has an “emotional tank” that needs to be kept full for optimal health and well-being. When our “love tank” is empty, we do not feel loved, perspective on life seems darker, we may feel irritable, and act out. “A lot of misbehavior in marriage grows out of an empty love tank,” said Dr. Gary Chapman.
Our children have their own love languages and love tanks too. Although, their primary languages will not be established until they are older, it’s important to keep their “love tanks” full by loving them in all five ways. Knowing your own and your family members’ love languages can improve relationships and help see interactions in a new way. Your can discover your love language here.
This Valentine’s Day be intentional with how you love and work to keep love tanks full. Below are a few ideas that reaches each type of love language.
Cooking: (quality time, acts of service, gifts)
For Younger Kids: Valentine’s Day Sparkle Playdough
Sparkle Playdough Recipe adapted from https://www.iheartnaptime.net/
-2 cups flour
-3/4 cup salt
-4 teaspoons of cream of tarter
-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
-red food coloring
-red and silver glitter
-quart size plastic bags
1.) Add flour, salt, and cream of tarter to a large pot. Stir.
2.) Add water, oil, and food coloring.
3.) Over medium heat, stir mixture constantly until dough has thickened.
4.) Separate dough into two bags quart size plastic bags and add silver and red glitter.
5.) Knead the dough in the bag until glitter and food coloring is incorporated and combined.
6.) Have fun!
The playdough can be packaged with a heart cookie cutter and given as a cute Valentine’s Day gift.
For Older Kids and Adults:
Try a new recipe and learn a new technique. Here’s a scrumptious recipe for truffles by my friend Stacey. They make a beautiful, thoughtful gift!
Crafts: (quality time, receiving and giving gifts)
Younger, Older Kids and Adults: Pull out the craft supplies and lots of glitter and make Valentine’s cards.
Older Kids and Adults: Sewing and Embroidery
We did a simple sewing project this week with muslin and embroidery floss. With a pencil, I stenciled a heart on the fabric and embroidered around the traced shape. They added heart after heart in different colors. The end result was so cute, we framed them.
Appreciate Love and Others : (words of affirmation, quality time)
Grab a deck of cards and some paper. Write 52 things you love about a person or what you love about being a family. Cut and paste one thing to each card. Hole punch cards and tie together. (This makes a great gift! I gave this set to my husband about five years ago.)
Create a gratitude board with the 100 Things I Love activity. We did this at MOPS a few of years ago as a practice in gratitude. It was a great reminder of all the big and little blessings that make my life richer and more enjoyable. This activity could be done together or separately.
Dance Lessons (physical touch, quality time)
Grab a partner and learn a new dance with these fun dance cards from Step Calvert Art.
You can get printable dance cards like the one above at this link: https://stephcalvertart.com/lego-birthday-party-dance-dancing/
Here’s an example: Rhumba
Reading Books: (quality time, physical touch)
One of my favorite parts of the day is when we are all snuggled on the couch with a cozy blanket and a good book. No matter what the book it is, it’s the time spent together, the amazing places you “go”, and the interesting characters you “meet” that makes it such a special time. I also love the great conversations that follow the readings.
Take time to slow down and enjoy your loves today. Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!