(Read my Love Language Series post first if you haven’t already. Then this post will make more sense.)
The first Love Language I am going to discuss is Quality Time.
After my epiphany with Elle I sat her down and asked her a few questions so I could find out what her primary love language was. I wanted to know how to say “I love you” in a way she understood.
Our conversation went something like this:
Mom: Elle, who do you think loves you?
Elle: Grandma Pam
Mom: Well how do you know Grandma Pam loves you?
Elle: She sews with me.
Mom: Okay. Who else loves you?
Elle: Grandma Kerry.
Mom: How do you know she loves you?
Elle: She lets us have sleepovers at her house.
Mom: Yes she does. So who else loves you?
Elle: Grandpa Randy
Mom: How do you know he loves you?
Elle: He plays games with us.
Mom: Does anyone else love you?
Elle: Grandpa Gene
Mom: How do you know he loves you?
Elle: He takes me and grandma out to lunch sometimes.
(Should I be disturbed that she didn’t mention her mom or her dad?)
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Elle valued spending time together. She felt love through quality time. (Ugh. I really wished she just wanted me to buy her expensive gifts– that would be easier than finding more time in my day.)
So I was a little confused at this point because she often had her melt downs while I was spending time with her. But as I continued pondering I realized the time was spent on my terms not hers, so she wasn’t viewing it as quality time. Our time together wasn’t registering as love.
Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, authors of The Five Love Languages of Children, define quality time “as the gift of presence to a child”. So it is more than just being with them, you must be present with them. It is focused attention. One point that the authors brought up that stuck with me is that the time you spend together needs to be at the physical and emotional development of the child. It is important to meet them at their level.
The authors give some suggestions of ways to spend quality time with your children. I have added a few as well:
positive eye contact
These activities are consistent with what I know about Elle. The most important part of her day is our nightly snuggle. She always needs me to talk with her and tuck her in and she loves for me to tell her stories.
I have to do all that I can, not to overlook this snuggle time or cut it short because I am tired or because it is too late or because I have something more pressing to do. Chapman and Campbell counsel to not “be a victim of the urgent”. This time together before bed is what Elle craves most and other responsibilities can wait.
I passed what I learned about Elle’s primary love language on to her grandma. Now for birthdays and Christmases Grandma Pam often gives Elle quality time gifts. She will write a little coupon that is good for a trip to a museum or lunch or a day out. She is learning that this time with her grandma means way more to Elle than a cute outfit or a fun toy.
I wonder if Elle’s desire for Quality Time has anything to do with her being the oldest child? (That would be interesting to study…) She got mom and dad’s undivided attention for 3 years and got pretty accustomed to quality time.
If you are struggling with ideas for quality time with your children here are some of my previous posts on quality time:
It’s the Journey Not the Destination
Tomorrow’s Post: Words of Affirmation
1 thought on “Love Language- Quality Time”
Maybe the quality time thing is an oldest child thing because I am constantly telling you how much Elle and Jace remind me if each other. This is definitely something to work on with Jace. Thanks, Tiff. Maybe I’ll have to borrow your book. 😉
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