Like adults, children need affirmation, love, and acceptance. Under the age of 4, children should receive all the love languages to fill their love tanks. This should always be an important took communication with our children, especially children with special needs who are additionally stressed due to the medical treatment, adaptive equipment, therapies, and specialized educational settings. These behavioral and physical challenges and changes quickly deplete the child’s emotional love tank, so we should re-fill it!
By the age of 4, the child has acquired all the 5 love languages, but which one is their primary language?
Your child’s primary love language is physical touch if he/she is frequently hugging others or toys.
Your child’s primary love language is quality time if he/she is happy when you read them a book.
Your child’s primary love language is receiving gifts if he/she lights up when receiving a gift.
Your child’s primary love language is words of affirmation if he/she expresses in words such as “thank you mommy” or “I love you mommy”.
Your child’s primary love language is acts of service if he/she wants to always help others.
Remember to use all love language with your child, but always emphasize on their primary one! Love languages and filling children’s emotional tank is not only linked to the primary love language, but also to their stage of development. A basic knowledge of developmental stages equips parents to identify the level of the child’s thinking. As a result, as parents, we should always pay attention t our child’s developmental age and speak love languages in the appropriate manner.
The first stage of cognitive development is the sensorimotor stage from birth until the child is 1 or 2 years old. During this stage, children learn about the world through basic actions such as sucking, grasping, looking, and listening. They also learn through objects, and at 7 months, their memory develops with object permanence. What we also realize during the sensorimotor stage is that our children develop symbol language like pointing to pictures and objects.
The second stage of development is the pre-operational stage from ages 2 to 6 or 7. During this stage, children’s memory, imagination, and languages increases as they step outside the family circle and start making friends. The child’s thinking at this stage is intuitive, often lacking logic, as they ask a lot of “why” questions in their attempt to understand their surroundings.
The third stage is the concrete operational stage where children are between 7 and 11 or 12 years old. During this stage, children begin to think logically about concrete events, and they begin to understand the concept of conversation. Their thinking develops to become logical, organized and inductive.
The fourth and final stage of development is formal operational stage which spans from 11 years old until adulthood. At this stage, the adolescent or young adult begins to think abstractly and reason about hypothetical issues. As teens begin to think in a deductive manner, their thoughts emerge to be about moral, philosophical, ethical, social, and political issues that requires a lot of theoretical reasoning.
All of this and more was discussed in the last Parent2Parent session! Are you interested in knowing more about your child’s development and how you can communicate better with yourself, family, and community? Join fellow parents at the next Parent2Parent meeting by contacting us at the center.