Today I am continuing my new series Love Languages Ideas for the Whole Family with a post on Physical touch love language ideas for kids. Affiliate links are included in this post.
The Five Love Languages for Children is a fantastic book by Gary Chapman that helps you learn about how your child KNOWS you love him or her. If you've read the books already and you know that your child values physical touch, this list will help you think of ways to express your love in a way that means a lot to your child.
My Love Languages for the Whole Family series is not meant to replace the information in the book. Even if you know the names of the Five Love Languages, nothing can replace the guidance in the books for determining just which ones speak to your child. You may be surprised when you hear some of the information in the book
20 Physical Touch Love Language Ideas
Below is a list for you of ways to start speaking the Physical Touch Love Language to your kids. If you have more ideas PLEASE share them in the comments, I'd love to hear them but you will be helping others out with ideas too! Download a shorthand printable version of this list to keep handy when you need ideas!
Before I get to all the fun ideas, I wanted to mention that if your child responds strongly to physical touch, it might be helpful to have a talk about good touch and bad touch. As they go through life they might initiate contact with people and others may pick up on their physicality. Model good touch at home and help your child to know the difference. Sorry to be a downer but it needs to be said!
Okay, let's go!
Thumb to Hand Rub – Do you walk holding hands with your child? That's a simple place to start with physical touch. If you'd like to make it extra special, try this. When you hold hands rub the back of their hand with your thumb. It adds an extra special note of affection and would mean a lot if your child speaks this language.
Bath Time – One of the first pieces of parenting advice I received after having a baby was to let LalyDad handle bath time. As a new mom I got tons of physical touch time with baby but we had to work to make sure LalyDad did too. If dad always handles bath time, you'll be assured that he has that opportunity too. Even if your kids are not babies, bath time is a silly and fun time to interact.
The Kid Wash – There is more to physical touch than holding hands and hugging! This one is pretty silly- it turns you into a robotic car wash for kids! It doesn't actually involve the bath or water. We do this just to be silly sometimes. My kids will be walking by and in a robot voice I come to life as The Kid Wash. “Meep, mop, The Kid Wash is open!” I robotically pull one of them into my lap and pretend to do all the steps of a car wash. Wooosh to wet them down, blurp, blurp to scrub and wash them, wind type noises to dry them off. Sometimes this involves picking them up, turning them upside down and that kind of thing. It's just silly, you can make it your own!
Massage – Now I know some of you out there are thinking “WHAT!? I'm the one who needs a massage!” but infant massage has become a popular relaxation technique! You can keep this going ask they get older, trying to focus on their scalp, shoulders and arms. Or you could also be silly with it. Sometimes I pretend to be the Swedish Chef and massage my daughter's back. Herda, herda backa ruba.
Do Yoga Together – Have you ever thought to do stretches or Yoga with your kids? I have done yoga here and there before kids, but I stopped after I had my daughter. Recently when I was looking for some nice ways to spend time together in our morning routine, I found a series of Yoga for Kids books and we tried it. She loved it! We have had fun inventing our own poses too. I try to guide her with a gentle hand on the shoulder or adjust her stretch a little. It's a subtle way to work together.
Schedule a Snuggle – If you plan with your kids to snuggle at the same time every day, it will make it extra special to anticipate and take part in that special snuggle.
Related: 9 Reasons You MUST Cuddle Your Kids
Lap Time Reading – It's a simple one, but also easy to overlook. I have a super busy toddler who does not stop to snuggle often but he will ALWAYS sit in my lap if I offer to read a book. If your child is older than “lap age” you could also read together laying next to each other.
Hold Hands and Skip – Yep. I said skip. As an adult. In public. It's hard to skip and not be happy. It's also a fun one with older kids who might crave physical touch but might be at that “too cool for cuddles” phase. (I personally don't think I have ever hit that phase! I have always loved a good cuddle!)
Secret Handshake – It's not just for secret clubs! Make up a super cool, high fiving, butt bumping, nose honking hand shake to do any time you say good bye, goodnight, or whatever works for you. My mom and I had a special “thing” we'd say each night before bed, it was mostly comprised of inside jokes and anything that previously made us laugh until we cried. We said in one long sentence. Every now and then we'd tack on something new at the end and we always raced to see who could say it the fastest. As a “Words of Affirmation” person, I loved having that special bond with her. So, here I'm picturing something like that, but in a physical form.
High Five – If that's a bit much for you, and maybe physical affection is not your favorite thing, start with some high fives. It's easy. It's pretty cool. It's physical touch so count it!
Play Footsie – This is another “start small” step you can take. If you're not going to bust out the robot Kid Wash just yet…start by just connecting with one body part. Prop your feet up next to your child's while you are watching TV and just touch tootsies.
Tuck Them In – This one's easy! However, I still miss this opportunity too often with my kids. After a long day I let them just get into bed after our bedtime routine and say goodnight. Guess what though, you need to tuck them in! It's important anyhow, but extra important if your child's love language is physical touch.
Morning Cuddles – Can you think of a better way to start your day if this was your love language? In our house the kids share a room. When their alarm clock turns green they pitter patter into our room and crawl into bed. My daughter, my mini-me, could lay there with us forever. My busy toddler son crawls in, gives everyone a smooch and then wants to go downstairs right away. So that might tell you a little about their respective love languages. If that timing doesn't work with your daily routine, find another spot in the day where you can always welcome a snuggle.
Tickle – Now. LalyDad will be the first to tell you that tickling IS a way of showing affection. This one is tricky though. My kids generally love tickling and being tickled,-and ask him to tickle them a lot. I happen to reallly dislike being tickled, especially when the tickler is not himself ticklish, ahem. So you need to see how this one pans out in your house. It may be a sign of love…or not!
Wrestle – Similar to tickling, this might be just what you need if your kid craves physical touch but you're not up for the huggy smoochy type of affection. Rough housing can provide a lot of opportunities for touch but you will have to see if that is the kind of affection your child responds to.
Related: The Secret Behind Rough Housing
Physical Games – When you need to get the wiggles out but want to show physical affection, go for some good old fashioned fun! Tag, duck duck goose, Twister, Marco Polo and other games that involve little bits of touch would be a fun way to sneak in some touch.
Hug Reminders – If hugging does not come naturally to you, but you want your child to know he or she can still come to you for physical affection try a Hug Jar or make a set of Hug Coupons as a family.
Mirror Touch – If your child initiated an unexpected type of touch, try to reciprocate or at least embrace it. If your child keeps doing something that you don't understand and it involves touching you, take that as a sign that he or she is missing physical touch.
Body Race Track – Drive toy cars or walk stuffed animals on your kids' arms, legs and tummy. You can add in the car vroooom noise, or a little voice for the stuffed animal.
Tummy Time – Whatever your child enjoys doing, playing a game, reading, playing toys- get down on the floor and lay down together one day. Do it together, laying side by side. If you are not used to it, I bet your kids would be delighted at the change!
Bonus Love Language Tip: One thing the book tells you is that you should always remember to talk all the Love Languages. So my bonus tip is to add Words of Affection to ANY of the above activities by telling your child that you enjoyed it. “I love holding your hand, it's special to me.” “It's so fun to tickle with you.” “Thank you for playing tag with me, that was fun!”
What are your favorite Physical Tough Love Language ideas? I'd love to hear them in the comments and you'd be helping other readers get new ideas too!
Next head over to the Love Languages for the Whole Family Series Page for more Love Language ideas!