Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

Five love languages in action: How five parents show love for their school-going children

07 Mar 2024

Schoolbag sits down with five Parent Support Group members after a workshop on the popular Five Love Languages, and ask how they tailor the ways they show love based on their kids’ love languages. From writing notes of encouragement to playing their favourite sport with them, see if any of these tips resonate with you.

By Sabrina Lee

Forty members of Parent Support Groups (PSGs) from various schools replaced their usual Saturday morning routines with a workshop on the Five Love Languages.
This workshop centred on the concept of how signs of love are generally expressed in five ways: physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time and receiving gifts. Attendees were taught to examine how their children may prefer to express and perceive love, and how parents can show love in a way that the child understands best. 
Attendees, made up mainly of PSG leaders, also learnt how to facilitate workshops that teach the love languages. The workshop was organised by the Community and Parents in Support of Schools (COMPASS). Made up of PSG leaders, educators, and others, COMPASS meets regularly to explore ways to enhance children’s learning and growth both at school and home.
Curious to find out what the most common love languages are among children? We asked five PSG attendees to share their child’s primary love language and how they apply this knowledge to boost their child’s well-being and school experience.

We talk about our holidays and how they relate back to what he is learning

Ms Leonie Nagarajan, mother of two children, ages 11 and 14 

Love languages: Quality time, acts of service

“We need to boost our children’s self-esteem by ensuring they feel loved. That foundation is essential for them to step into the world confidently. Love languages have a role to play. While they may change over time, going through the five love languages reminds us to show our children love in the way they best understand.
Last week, I spent quality time with my son as part of his learning journey. We read History and Geography together, which aren’t his forte. He is currently learning about the Japanese occupation of Singapore and the region. I helped him connect textbook knowledge to his real-world experiences – which was important for him to appreciate the concepts holistically. For example, we discussed our recent trip to the Philippines, where he explored Japanese World War 2 shipwrecks while scuba diving with my husband. This enabled him to link historical events to what he reads in his textbooks.
When my kids were younger and faced their first assessments, I wrote little notes wishing them luck. As they grew older, I adapted my expressions of love, finding ways to support and reassure them during anxious moments, such as accompanying them to school on exam days.”

I want to understand her challenges better rather than give direct solutions

Mr Tang Hong Sing, father of a 10-year-old 
Love language: Quality time

“I joined this session with the primary goal of gaining a fresh perspective on parenting my child. As a first-time parent, my aim is to strengthen the parent-child relationship by incorporating guidance beyond academics. 
When my child faces challenges from interactions with friends, I’ve learnt that she seeks understanding rather than direct solutions. My child loves to express herself through writing. She uses sticky notes; pink to express when she’s upset and green when she’s happy. 
I’ve realised that character traits and personality tests can lead to stereotyping, so I focus on the ever-changing nature of traits instead of fixed labels.”

I share my own experiences, and tell them it’s okay to make mistakes

Mr Jasper Liow, father of two children, ages 18 and 20
Love languages: Quality time, words of affirmation

“I strongly advocate for teaching our children the value of learning from their mistakes, a principle I emphasise by sharing my own experiences, like how failing a test because I didn’t study taught me better time management and study habits. This not only makes the lesson more relatable but also shows them that mistakes are an essential part of growth. 
Celebrating their successes, no matter the scale, also plays a critical role in building their self-esteem and confidence, empowering them to take on new challenges. Moreover, dedicating quality time to engage in their favourite activities or just being there for them reinforces my support and love, which are crucial for their growth and sense of security.”

From playing football to hugs, anything that helps him open up

Ms Aparna Hattikudur, mother of an 11 year-old
Love languages: Physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation

I realised it’s not just about how you receive love, but also how you express it. Being mindful of both aspects is crucial, especially since my child is reserved. He seldom shows emotions or expresses himself through words, making it challenging to understand his needs.
Learning about love languages has been beneficial for trying to help him open up more. Recently he was selected to lead the oath-taking ceremony at school, I could sense he was feeling anxious the night before. I reassured him that his feelings were natural and suggested he either find a familiar face in the audience or focus on an empty spot to calm his nerves. 
I believe using approaches like words of encouragement, playing his favourite sport together or even a hug lets him know I’m right there for him and helps building a stronger bond. It’s all about showing them, in ways they get, that we’re there, always.”

Not every child is the same, show love in a way that the child understands best

Mdm Joyce Low, mother of three children, ages four, eight, and 11
Love languages: Words of affirmation, receiving gifts

“Each of my three children is unique, showing distinct needs as they grow. The eldest is shy, the second is lively, and the youngest, though still small, has clear likes and dislikes. Attending the workshop has been enlightening, helping me to communicate more effectively with each of them.
Inspired by a friend, we celebrate the end of exams with a special meal or a pre-result ‘achievement’ gift, showing our appreciation for their hard work throughout the year. This act of giving resonates with their love language and makes them feel valued.
Recently, my eldest has been seeking validation for her tasks, highlighting a need for more words of affirmation from us. Simple morning encouragements like ‘Have a nice day at school’ or ‘All the best on your test’ significantly brighten her day.

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