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Love languages

Do you know your child’s love language? One of my favorite aspects of the Ezzo books is their discussion of love languages. The idea is fully explored in a separate book, The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, but it is a philosophy the Ezzos endorse. As parents, it is our job to learn how our kids express and receive love and to love them according to their unique love language.

The concept applies to any age. Have you ever given someone a gift and received a lackluster response? Has your spouse ever complained about not feeling loved while you feel like all you do is show him love? Everybody communicates and receives love in different ways. No way is better or worse. The key is knowing the specific love languages of your loved ones.

Here’s a basic rundown of the five love languages and ways to recognize them in your child:

Words of encouragement

Words of encouragement means exactly that. Someone with this love language expresses love by offering words of praise. Examples include:

  • That dress looks great on you.
  • I loved the way you helped your brother today.
  • You do a great job of showing your best manners at the table.

This might be your child’s love language if he is regularly giving you and others words of encouragement.

Acts of service

Some people communicate love by doing for others. If your spouse goes out of his way to do things for you, acts of service is likely his love language. Examples:

  • Your spouse puts gas in your car without you asking.
  • You make a special dinner for your family.
  • Your spouse puts the children to bed while telling you to rest.

Children express acts of service by helping you out with chores. Do you find your child helping you sweep, wanting to help fold clothes or do an extra-special job putting away his toys?


Often a simple gesture, giving gifts is a way to express love. Examples include:

  • Your spouse brings home a souvenir from a business trip.
  • Your dad spontaneously brings home flowers for your mom throughout the year.
  • Your spouse’s eyes light up when you give him a gift.

Think of gifts from a child as something that has value to him, not necessarily to you. Sharing his dessert, drawing a special picture and wrapping up a toy can be signs that gift-giving is your child’s love language.

Quality time

Quality time requires that you invest yourself in the other person by offering your undivided attention. Do you find your spouse complaining that you don’t spend enough time together, while you think you do everything together? The key is making sure that time is quality time. Examples:

  • Your spouse turns off the TV and asks you sit next to him.
  • You plan a special date night.
  • You spouse is thrilled with the idea of couch time.

For a child, spending quality time together means doing his favorite things with him or taking him out for some one-on-one time. You might recognize this in your child if he often asks you to play with him.

My oldest, William, loves his quality time. Before his brother was born, he was always asking me to play. Now, they are each other’s best friends. I’ve also discovered that timeouts are really effective with him because he hates to be alone.

Physical touch and closeness

Physical touch is simple to understand. Yet, this love language also includes spending time together in the same room. Different from quality time, it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are together. Examples:

  • You’re reading a book and decide to go sit in the same room with your spouse.
  • Your spouse doesn’t want to watch the show you’re watching, and rather than leave the room, he will bring his newspaper and sit with you.
  • Your child wants you to sit with him while he does his homework.

This love language is easy to spot in children. They tend to be overly affectionate and easily respond to any touch. My little one, Lucas, is this way. He would hug and kiss me all day if I let him. If I play with his hair or rub his neck, he goes into a little trance. So cute.

There are a few things to keep in mind with love languages:

  • Some people have one or two love languages. Usually, one takes priority over another, but both should be considered.
  • Some parents can’t recognize a child’s love language until they are age 5 or older.
  • Sometimes our loved ones know our love language better than we do ourselves.

There is a whole series of books on love languages by Gary Chapman. Plus, the Growing Kids God’s Way book includes a test where you rank certain acts of love to discover your love language. It’s an enlightening exercise for the whole family.


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Filed under parenting philosophy, prevention

Potty training regressions

by Bethany Lynch

I wrote earlier about the need for discipline during our potty training experience. When our son started deliberately having accidents, it was clear that we needed some form of correction. However, accidents are not always deliberate, and it is very common for children to go through potty training regressions. I wish I had known that earlier! Regressions make you question every step and every decision.

There are some important questions to ask if you find yourself in the middle of a potty training regression:

  • Is this behavioral? Are there deliberate signs of refusing to use the potty?
  • Have we ruled out all physical causes and reasons? Are there any signs of illness?
  • Is my child too young? Should we postpone training and resume again in a month?
  • Have there been any changes to routine? Any trips that could have disrupted consistency?
  • If discipline is necessary, what would sting the most? Loss of toy? Time out? No reward?
  • Am I being consistent?
  • Am I sending mixed signals by using pull-ups or diapers except for sleep?
  • Does my child have too much freedom?
  • Am I expecting first time obedience in other areas?

So how did we get out of the mess we were back in? (No pun intended!) We went back to square one…bare bottom with the emphasis of staying clean and dry as soon as he was back in underwear. Every 60 minutes, we put him on the potty whether he could tell us he had to pee or not. If he did not use the potty, we put him back on the potty 15 minutes later. Yes, there were times he was not pleased he had to sit on the potty, but it was done. It was done without emotion and it was done consistently.

I think one trap of potty training is expecting to be told by the child when they have to potty from the beginning. This took a long time to happen, and I think putting him on the potty consistently went a long way in helping him learn sensations and bladder control.

Another interesting tactic that we used was a reward and prize system. Another mom gave me the idea of working towards a prize. We had used that system successfully for a while. Each time he went to the potty without an associated accident before or after that trip, he got a cotton ball. After ten cotton balls, he got a small prize which was hidden in a gift box. During his potty training regression, we also agreed that the novelty of cotton balls had probably outlived their usefulness. On a whim, we decided to put pennies in the jar instead of cotton balls. Being able to put all of his pennies in his piggy bank and still work towards a prize was more than enough motivation to get us back on track!


Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

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