Could following the 5 love languages bring more peace to your mealtimes?
Spoiler alert… Yes!
In case you are unfamiliar with the book ‘The 5 love languages or ‘The 5 love languages of children’‘, by Dr. Gary Chapman, I’ll give a high level overview. Dr. Chapman teaches that each person (adults & kids) feels love most in 1 of 5 ways.
(If you are familiar with the 5 love languages, go ahead and skip down to the ‘how’ section!)
The 5 love languages are:
- Physical touch (Example: hugs, holding hands, snuggles)
- Words of affirmation (Example: You did a great job getting dressed by yourself!)
- Gifts (Example: A souvenir from Dad’s trip, or a ‘special sparkly rock’ found while on a walk “just because I thought of you”)
- Quality time (Example: Building a lego house together)
- Acts of service (Example: Fixing a bike chain, helping find a missing shoe)
Dr. Chapman says that although we may feel loved with many or all of these things, one will mean the most. This one is our primary love language. (We can have a secondary love language also, so don’t worry if it seems like if more than one seems to fit you.)
We each have a ‘love tank’. It’s similar to a gas tank. When someone is speaking our ‘love language’ to us, our love tank fills! We need ongoing deposits into the tank to keep us feeling loved.
So what if you could take these basic love language principles, and apply them to getting your kids more on board with healthy eating? You can!
HOW THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES CAN HELP WITH HEALTHY EATING:
A child with a ‘full love tank’ is a happier, more cooperative child than one whose love tank is getting down near empty. By filling your child’s love tank (helping them feel loved in the way that means the most to them) while teaching about healthy eating, you’ll see better results everywhere.
(What if you aren’t sure what your child’s primary love language is?)
Depending on how old you kiddo is, it might be hard to know which is their primary love language. Dr. Chapman says that generally until age 5, a good ‘love tank filling’ practice is to simply make sure you sprinkle in some of each language.
HOW IT LOOKS IN OUR HOME:
Looking for opportunities to fill our 5 boys’ love tanks is one of the most effective uses of time I have found. It makes for happier, calmer, more cooperative kiddos. #win
When our kids have a low love tank level, it can look like fighting with each other, whining or crying, or sometimes comes out as ‘I hate this food.”
It doesn’t matter if it’s a food they’ve previously loved or not. Sometimes “I’m not feeling loved” shows up as “Yuk. I’m not eating this.”
****IMPORTANT: If you have that 10/10 level picky eater, I’m not saying I think this means that they are always feeling unloved! There are many factors :)*****
When I see this with our kids, I know I should start hunting for ways to let them know they’re loved. This could be as simple as snuggling while reading a story together. It could mean stopping to play cars for a minute, and listening to their chatter.
But there are also ways that I SUPER-CHARGE this, filling their love tank in ways that also makes trying new foods/ healthy eating a bit more awesome.
If your kids are young, just try to get in as many love languages as possible. You’ll see changes pretty quickly! (I try to speak all ‘love languages’ to all of our boys, and the oldest is 7).
- Have your child help you make a recipe. Make it fun with an arm around the shoulder, high 5s, & laughter. Thank him for every little job he does well (quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation)
- Buy your child’s favourite fruit/veggie when you’re shopping and let them know you thought of them while you were at Costco (Gifts, acts of service)
- Hold your young child on your lap as you eat (physical touch, quality time)
- Ask your child what meal he’d love most, and then make it for him. You could say ‘this is Jacob’s special spaghetti dinner” as you serve it. It takes no extra time, and reinforces that feeling of being loved for the child. (Acts of service, gifts)
- All 5 love languages are also easy to use with my Flint the Dragon ‘healthy mail’ kit!
- You snuggle together to read the story
- make smoothies together
- drink smoothies together
- reinforce how proud of them you are for trying a new food (greens!) with the sticker chart,
- and it all comes in a fun package in the mail, making it a love tank deposit as a gift too!
These are just a small sampling of ways that you could use the love languages to help your kids develop a great relationship with healthy food.
You are most likely doing these or other things already, or could be doing them without much extra effort. All it takes is getting them onto your radar and watching for ways to make healthy eating pair with showing love.
I hope some of these will be helpful in your kitchen with your kiddos!