Teach Kids The Five Languages of Love Through Choosing Valentine’s Day Gifts


February 13, 2019

Giving gifts is part of many of our childhoods: birthday presents, the holidays, special occasions. And while showing loved ones appreciation is an important lesson for kids, the financial cost can’t be ignored. This Valentine’s Day, teach kids ways of showing someone you love them that don’t cost a cent.

Different people have different “Love Languages,” according to a bestselling book by Gary Chapman. This means they appreciate certain kinds of affection more than others. Some prefer receiving gifts, while others prefer spending quality time together, words of affirmation, acts of service, or physical touch.

This Valentine’s Day, make it a point to talk to your kids about the five types of Love Languages. And, show them how to give gifts that fit each one that don’t have you reaching for your wallet.

For people who love receiving gifts…

Typically, we think of fancy chocolates, store-bought flowers, and Hallmark cards for Valentine’s Day presents. But just because somebody appreciates physical, tangible gifts doesn’t mean you have to spend money on them. There are plenty of options that are free, with a little creativity and elbow grease. So, try handmade gifts like a cute craft, baked treats to share, or passing down a less often used personal possession like a book or toy.

For people who treasure quality time together…

Go on a special walk together, have a movie night in, read a favorite book out loud, or other fun activities. The opportunities to spend quality time together that don’t cost a dime are endless! Sometimes libraries, community centers, and community education programs offer free activities, too. Consider what the recipient loves to do, and try to find a free way to do it—together.

For people who cherish words of affirmation…

Giving a compliment is nice, but for a special occasion, you might choose a way to make that compliment “last.” Can your kid write out a nice memory (or dictate it to you to write) on colorful paper? Write an acrostic poem with kind adjectives about the recipient? Make a video on your phone to email to their loved one, so they can watch it over and over again?

For people who appreciate acts of service…

Some people receive love best when it’s in the form of a favor or a helping hand. If mom or dad really loves help in the garden, can your kid spend an hour this holiday pulling weeds or mowing the lawn? Try suggesting that maybe a whole week’s worth of loading the dishwasher might mean the world to you. Does their school friend need help with a class project after school? Because “gifts” in this category may not be as “fun,” try getting creative in making “vouchers” for these acts. For the recipient who receives love in acts of service, it’s about how helpful and selfless you can be.

For people who value physical touch…

While giving a “free hug ticket” to grandma this Valentine’s Day may sound like a quick and easy gift, make it clear this is only a good idea if it makes both people in the hug happy. Because it’s important to encourage kids to maintain physical boundaries that they’re comfortable with, always ensure they are comfortable with gift ideas in this category.

Some alternatives that don’t involve direct physical contact: getting comfy in pajamas and with hot water bottles on the couch while watching a movie together; playing with a puppy at an animal adoption event together; giving a hand-me-down less-often used stuffed animal so the recipient can get a “hug” at any time!

By showing them how to recognize and gift within the 5 Languages of Love, you will not only spend less on gifts, but you will also help them become more perceptive and empathetic, too. Affection and kindness should never be limited by your bank account.

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