Updated: Mar 23
This is the easiest to understand, and is also the most convenient way to show love. However, how will your child be able to differentiate if this is a reward for something, or your expression of Love Language? Hence, this is the easiest to do but hardest to execute correctly. As a Love Language, the gift must not be a “payment” or reward for any behaviors. It should be unconditionally given. You can promise your child a brand new game console if he/she achieve the targeted examination results. To them, that is already an exchange of condition, and he/she “earned” it. Similarly , you may a reward chart in place, where you set goals for them to work towards. Again, the name already told them that it is a “reward”. As an unconditional expression of love, the gift should come spontaneously. It may not even need to be expensive. You should also maximize the chance of giving the present, and make it meaningful. You can create atmosphere of fun, suspense or even joy during the process.
For example, create a riddle where answer is the password to “unlock” the present, or even setting up treasure hunt for your child to find the hidden gift. Take note that, these “mini-games” are not tied in to any other conditions or expectations. Gifts can also be zero cost items, as long as you can insert meaning into what you are giving. A simple DIY personalized water-bottle for your child using a recycled soda bottle can have two teachable moments.
You can teach them about up-cycling and natural resources, and yet creates something that is uniquely theirs.
You are also teaching them about value of things, instead of only looking at their price tags.
One reminder to all parents: NEVER EVER use gifts as a compensation for other things, especially when substituting other Love Languages. This creates many undesirable outcomes. One of which, may cause your child to believe that there can always be a physical item to compensate for what they actually want. Such skewed understanding may lead them to become materialistic, or even become manipulative.
If you think you are guilty of having committed this mistake at least once, it does not mean that the “damage” is permanent. Just be mindful, and be explicit about the intent of your presents. Remember that all the Love Languages are always directed at not only conveying love, but also guiding emotional maturity.