Family Dinner Topic: What Makes You Feel Loved?

Text that reads: Family Dinner Topic- What Makes You Feel Loved

What makes you feel loved? What makes each of your family members feel loved?

Last week, I wrote about focusing on what really matters as parents. For me, that’s making sure my kids feel loved and worthy. A book that helped me ensure my kids feel loved is The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman.

In this book, Chapman describes the five different ways people feel loved. For most of us, one of these ways is more meaningful than others. So it’s really important to know what makes our loved ones feel loved. (which may be different than how you show love)

The 5 Love Languages:

  • Physical touch – hugs, high fives, holding hands
  • Words of affirmation – positive feedback, compliments and supportive words
  • Gifts – gifts and surprises
  • Acts of service – doing nice things for them, like helping with chores and projects
  • Quality time – spending time together, like playing a game or going to a movie

The book and web site includes a quiz to help parents determine which love language their child prefers. When I did this a few years ago, I learned that my two daughters have different love languages.

One’s love language is “physical touch.” She loves hugs and sitting in close contact. She was one of those babies that always wanted to be held. Touch grounds her, so I hug her many times a day.

My other daughter prefers “words of affirmation.” Compliments, encouraging words and regular reminders of how awesome I think she is really light her up. So I try to do this daily too.

Gary Chapman’s book for couples helped me understand my husband’s love language as well. And of course, I let him know that mine is “acts of service” which has prompted him to help me more around the house. (although we are still working on that:)

Since it’s been a while since we discussed this as a family, last night at dinner I asked if everyone thought their love language was still the same.  The answer around the table was yes. A great reminder of what we all need to feel loved in this short and precious life.

Ground Rules to Support Family Dinner Connection and Conversations

  • Make the dinner table a safe space. Practice respectful listening. Do not make fun or embarrass anyone about what they share. (This rule has grown into a house rule too.)
  • Turn off and put away devices. Make the dinner table a no phone, tablet, or TV zone. 
  • Make the conversations fun, especially as you get started. (Later, families may delve into more serious topics and discussions.)
  • Choosing not to respond is okay. Allow family members just to listen if they prefer not to share.
  • To start, introduce just one topic at each dinner. From there, decide what works best for your family.

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Published by Jessica Speer, Author

Author and Advocate for Kids and Families

5 thoughts on “Family Dinner Topic: What Makes You Feel Loved?

  1. Great post. Thank you for this reminder to take a moment to pay attention to what really resonates with my son – and to take the time to meet him where he is.
    Not only do I find lately that HOW I connect most deeply with my child matters, but also WHEN. There’s no better way for me to get shut down than to try to connect with my son after school,- but if I can make myself available around bedtime, then I just need to show up and be present. I know this line of conversation comes up among parents in joking, skeptical ways on a pretty regular basis, with comments like, “They’re ready to talk when I’m too exhausted to keep my eyes open!” or “They’re ready to talk when it’s 10 minutes PAST their bedtime!”. And while that may be true, and I also know those feelings, it doesn’t change the fact that there, in those moments, are opportunities to focus on what really matters as a parent; letting our children know they are loved… in their own native language and time zone.

    1. This is such a great point Sally! Paying attention to WHEN our kids want to connect is super important. I find I have some of my best conversations as I tuck my kids in for the night too. Thanks so much for sharing…

  2. When I first heard about Languages of Love, it was as if the fog lifted. They just made so much sense! I’ve referred back to them frequently as I’ve tried to tell my family that I love them, in a way that they will understand. Great post!

Please share! I welcome your thougths and comments.

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