5 Ways to Teach Children to Love

Children love naturally, unless they are taught to do otherwise.  If we yell, they will learn to yell.  If we spank or hit, they will learn to do the same.  And of course, if we love, they will learn to love.  Below are 5 ways I have found effective to teach children appropriate ways to love. 

  1. Teach them to serve.  My sister-in-law is a master at helping others serve, no matter what age.  She just simply asks for help from those that want to talk with her while she does projects.  It could also be children trying to get your attention while you are trying to do something else.  Ask them to help with your project.  Her example of inclusion made me feel part of the result.  I felt ownership of the desired results and felt worthwhile.  Serving helps children focus on others, rather than themselves.  This is a critical developmental stage of their life.
  1. Teach them appropriate touch. A creative mother rolled a die every day to teach her children how to love.  As they learned the languages of love and practiced them, the family became closer.  One day the 4 year old rolled the die and said, “AWESOME, I GOT TOUCH!”  He then promptly went over to his older brothers and started hitting them.  It opened the door for the mother to teach appropriate loving by touch.  Loving touch can change a child’s life.
  1. Teach them how to spend time. Children love to be cuddled or maybe adults love to cuddle them… or maybe a little bit of both.  One of my favorite ways to spend time with my children was to hold them and read as many books they wanted until they got tired of that activity.  They would sit for many minutes as we read book after book.  They loved the one-on-one time.  Changing activities often would create a sense of inattention but focusing on one activity for a time deepened the experience.  Keeping on the subject also, I believe, helped them in school.  Spending time is an activity of love.
  1. Teach them to say kind words. Once I heard a nephew say to his sister that was making pancakes and the first one failed miserably, “That’s ok, maybe the next one will turn out a lot better.”  I will never forget the kindness with which he said it.  Instead of focusing on the negative, focusing on the positive encouraged an attitude for life.  Everyone makes mistakes but if we look for the goodness in others, the goodness will be what we see.  Children can usually grasp this concept.

5. Teach them how to give appropriate gifts.    Amazingly prevalent is giving a gift we like to someone else with the expectation they will share.  More appropriate is to give a gift to another that THEY would like.  Just this past weekend, a brother in law was talking about giving a gift to his wife that they would both like.  After some discussion, indeed it was something he wanted and expected her to share with him after he gave it to her.  Gifts with agenda are not the best gifts.  Kids can learn how to give good gifts as a token of love, without strings attached.

As a thank you gift for reading this today, I would like to give you my eBook on suggestions of ways to love in each one of these areas.  Download it here.