I remember spending hours at Target and Walmart looking for the perfect gift for my little sister’s 15th birthday.
When she was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with autism and a partial extra chromosome that significantly delayed her development, making most of her exchanges with us nonverbal (outside of the occasional outburst of her favorite words like “CUPCAKE🧁!!” or “CHICK FIL A🐔!!”). Although she was turning 15, her doctors estimated that her development was similar to that of a 4-year-old, so I went to the toy aisle to find the perfect, “age-appropriate” gift to impress her. I ended up going for a RIDICULOUSLY cute, 3-foot tall Barbie doll from Walmart that came with super colorful, glittery hair and clip-on bows. 🎀
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I walked into her birthday party confident that she’d fall head over heels for this gigantic, colorful doll. My heart sank when she opened my gift and threw it to the side. Why didn’t she react the way I expected her to?
I know now, years later, that love comes through different channels 📺 for each of us — and for my sister, gifts just weren’t one of her channels. She prefers acts of service, like cooking her favorite meal, and quality time, like watching Moana or Frozen with her (for the millionth time!!) and singing along to her favorite songs. Understanding what makes you, your kids, spouse, siblings, family, and friends feel loved can make a WORLD of a difference — especially for those who don’t know how or can’t tell you how.
Here at GoBe Kids, we love the premise behind the 5 love languages. Essentially, there are 5 key ways people express and receive love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. You can get a good idea about how your little ones want to be loved by taking a look at how they show you love. Does your child randomly give you hugs? Or draw a picture and gift it to you? This could be them saying I LOVE YOU in their love language… and they could be waiting for a reply!
Valentine’s Day 💌💗 is the PERFECT time to discover you and your loved ones’ love languages! Here’s a quick break-down of the 5 love languages and some Valentine’s Day-ready activities that can help you bond with your little ones.
Acts of Service
Some people feel most loved when others lend a helping hand or do something kind for them. Thinking ahead of what you can do to make their daily routine easier could make this person fall head over heels! If your toddler associates with this love language, they might feel most loved when you’re actively seeking ways to show that you care about their well-being. You might catch them trying to do things for you, like helping with the dishes or making you a quick snack.
Roll out your arts-and-crafts cart ✂️ this Valentine’s Day and make some home-made “coupons” that each family member can cash in for things like: “✨ONE NIGHT OF NO DISHES✨” or “✨REDEEM FOR A CLEAN ROOM✨”. Be sure to make it extra fun with colorful markers, glitter, stickers, copy paper, and index cards! You can use the compartments of your GoBe Snack Spinner to keep your glitters, stickers, buttons, and other trinkets organized in one easy spot.
Just because someone associates with this love language doesn’t make them materialistic. It’s truly the thought that counts. Big or small, handing this person a tangible representation of your love will give them butterflies!
Valentine’s day is a great opportunity to exchange small gifts with your loved ones. Assign each member of the family a secret Valentine🤫 and have everyone open their gifts on Valentine’s Day. Let your kiddos’ imaginations run wild with this one – that cool rock they found in the backyard will make a WONDERFUL gift!
People with this love language need your full, undivided attention to feel loved. Doing new things (or doing the same things with renewed excitement 🤩), having plenty of conversation, and showing them that they are being prioritized in that moment will take their breath away! If your toddler has this love language, you might notice that they thrive most on the days you give them your full attention throughout the same everyday tasks or activities – maybe you’re making more eye contact than usual, or having more one-on-one conversations with them, or maybe you seemed extra interested in binge-watching Cocomelon or Sofia the First. All of this attention reminds them that you find them interesting and love them for it!
Come up with 3-5 activities to do together and have the family do a Valentine’s Day Vote. Try including a good variety of active, outdoorsy activities and relaxing, indoors activities so that the family has an opportunity to bond in both settings.
People with this love language like to express their love through physical gestures. In other words, the CLOSER you are (literally!!) the better. Gestures like hugging, holding hands, and kissing are bound to create a puppy-love type of bond! 🐶
Host a Valentine’s Day Game Night 🎲💘 and bring back the memories of your childhood with these classic games that incorporate tons of physical touch! Play a game of Twister, a round of Duck Duck Goose, or Tag. Give Duck Duck Goose a Valentine’s Day twist by having “Cupid”, or the person who’s “it”, try to pin a paper heart on the person they choose to be the goose, or in this case, their “Valentine”. BONUS POINTS if you come up with a cool secret handshake by the end of the night!!!
Words of Affirmation
People with this love language get lots of joy from hearing the things you love about them. They want and need reassurance that you love them and who they are! If your little one has this love language, they might be really awesome about vocalizing their feelings for you. You might get a lot of unexpected I love you’s and mommy or daddy, you’re so amazing!’s from them. Share how you feel about your toddler often, and you’ll see that beaming smile every time! 😁
Rock your family’s world this Valentine’s Day💗 with these fun, affirming activities that’ll surely send the message that they’re loved!
- Make an Affirmation Wall Shout out to The Busy Toddler for this awesome idea. Have the family make a poster for each person (don’t forget your kitties and doggies!! 🐾) and take turns writing what you love about each person. This is a great way to not only show your family you love them, but also encourage them to show each other that same love (this is especially helpful if you have a sibling rivalry in the family 👀). Have fun decorating the posters with glitter, stickers, ribbons, and bows — and if you want to keep your craft supplies and trinkets organized, try using your GoBe Snack Spinner! If your loved ones need some help with writing on the posters, have them say their affirmations out loud and help them write on the poster.
- Message in a Bottle🍾 Have everyone write a secret message to another family member and put it in a bottle. The other person can’t open the bottle until next Valentine’s Day!
- Play a game of Telephone Whisper positive affirmations like “I love you” or “you have a great smile” into the ear of the person next to you. Have them share it with the person next to them until everyone’s heard the message. This is sure to get some giggles while also bonding through positive messages!
Feel free to tweak any of these activities to best suit you and your family’s Valentine’s Day plans. If you’re too busy this Valentine’s Day, remember that all of these activities can be incorporated into a weekly or monthly family night. We wish every member of our GoBe family a Valentine’s Day filled with a million hugs and kisses, yummy chocolates and sweets, and most importantly, tons of love and fun!!! Happy Valentine’s Day💐!!!
- Sofia, from the GoBe Team