What are some hints to look for if you suspect this is your boy’s love language?
The easiest way to discover if your child’s main love language is gifts is to take a look at the way he gives gifts to others. Does your little guy absolutely love to present you with seashells at the ocean and wild flowers on a picnic, glitter-crusted preschool projects and crumpled “pictures” he drew just for you? I have jars and cupboards, boxes, bowls, and baskets overflowing with my gift-giving child’s “treasures.” And, it shouldn’t surprize me that this is the child who melts when I give him a gift in return. | Wendy Speake
A young child with the love language of gifts will be the one to pick you a flower, draw you pictures (lots of them!), and even wrap things that are around the house just for the joy of giving to you! One of my boys used to play “Santa” for the month leading up to Christmas by filling stockings with thoughtful things from around the house and watching as we open with joy. All of these things gave me the clear indication that gifts spoke deeply to this boy’s heart! | Monica Swanson
A themed napkin from a birthday party. That’s how I knew. He came home not only with the party favor, but with the napkin. He viewed both as a gift and treasured them equally. For boys who have the love language of gifts, it goes beyond materialism. They value the meaning behind the object. Whether reminded of a special event or the feeling they were known, love is the currency behind the gift. And a boy speaks this language if he enjoys carefully considering what to give others. | Heather MacFadyen
Tell us about some of the intentional ways you fill your boy’s love tank when it comes to gifts?
This one’s tricky…because all three of my boys tend towards a “never satisfied, what’s next” mentality. Maybe yours do, too. And so, while gift giving should be wonderful, sometimes it’s stressful. I give one thing, but it’s not more. I give today, but I don’t give tomorrow. This can wear me down, truth be told, and I simply stop giving. The trick is learning to give without giving in to consumerism. Like I said, it’s tricky. One way I combat this struggle is by giving my boys what they need in a special one-on-one sort of way. That way we make the act of gift giving the gift itself. Here’s an example: going for shoes in our house is special. Just because one child gets new shoes doesn’t mean all the brothers do, too. It’s a special outing, just the kiddo and mom or dad. We try to pour into their little hearts as we pour out money from our wallets. | Wendy Speake
I also feel challenged to meet a boy’s love needs when I know “gifts” are his language. But one thing I do is help him connect words with his gifts. When he brings me a flower or draws me a picture, I will speak the words “You are showing Mommy love by giving this to me, aren’t you? Thank you so much—I see your heart in that!” I also try to be aware of what is going on inside my boy and respond to each situation differently. My youngest will ask for gum or a toy every single time we’re at the grocery store, but I don’t buy him something just because he asks. However, on a day that I know he’s needing a little extra love, I might come home with his favorite gum, or even a new toothbrush or something he actually needs, and I will give it to him as a gift. I might say, “I thought of you while I was out and I knew you could use a new toothbrush, so I bought you one!’ And he will light up as though I just bought him something really special! It is the thoughtfulness and the communication that I believe brings it all together. | Monica Swanson
Ultimately, I want my boys to know how to really make the connection between whatever their love language is and communicating and receiving love, so I believe that simply talking them through that is very helpful. Teach them how these love languages work when they are young, so that they grow up understanding how to give and receive love well! | Monica Swanson
Identifying this particular boy’s love language helped me stop mislabeling him. Instead of assuming he liked to accumulate stuff, I recognized how the simplest gift communicates love. Today my husband put a note in this son’s lunch box; on it, he drew pictures with an inside joke. I know my son will view that as a “gift” and appreciate it more than if he wrote words of affirmation. I’ve also learned to listen better when he shares something he loves. When it comes time to choose a birthday or Christmas present, I can show him he is heard, known, and therefore loved. | Heather MacFadyen
What are some practical ways you can teach your boys to love others well while working within the strength of their love language, gifts?
I like to take my boys to the Dollar Spot at Target and let them pick out a few small items for them to give to their teachers. We also try to leave little surprise gifts for the mail carrier in the mailbox and sometimes we will even send a small gift through the vacuum machine at the bank drive-thru! | Julie Brasington
Teaching our boys to give is, of course, the flip-side to this unique coin. This Valentine’s Day, I am having each of my boys choose a couple of our family friends who have girls. We will go out that night as a family with a bunch of roses and let the boys deliver them to every girl in the houses that we drop by. My three sons are already blushing! | Wendy Speake
Again, I believe that teaching our boys about their love languages is really important. A child whose love languages is gifts will have unique blessings—and challenges—in life. Helping them understand and work within their love language is really important. Kids need to know how to receive love from someone who communicates it in different ways from how they naturally do. Gifts are great, but a child should know that love may not always come in the form of a physical gift. They also need to know that giving someone else a gift may not always make the other person feel loved. As long as they grow up aware of these things, they will be well equipped to steward it all well! | Monica Swanson
My son has really enjoyed creating bags for the homeless in our community, choosing the items he feels would be most helpful and keeping it right by his seat in the car. I know this son has a hard time speaking words of affirmation or giving a homeless man a hug, but his face lights up when he can hand him a bag of precious gifts. | Heather MacFadyen
WHAT ARE SOME RESOURCES THAT WOULD BLESS BOYMOMS WHO HAVE SONS WITH THIS LOVE LANGUAGE?
Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts is a marvelous book for moms, and many of its lessons can be taken and applied in our homes with our boys who hunger for more and more gifts. My oldest boy loves gifts, and is always asking for more, so I’ve given him a special art journal where he can list and draw pictures of the things that he already has, so that he doesn’t forget to be thankful. | Julie Brasington
I find Child Sponsorship through World Vision (or any other organization) is really a blessing to teach a child how to use their “gifts love language” to even bless people far away. As they write letters or put together care packages, they make the practical connection. Also, shopping in the Christmas catalog for gifts that will support these kids helps make the gift of support very real to my boys. | Monica Swanson
Teaching our kids to be thankful is a lifelong process! Here’s an example of something I did with my kids this Christmas that could be modified for non-Christmas purposes. You can also purchase (or re-purpose) a special gratitude journal as a way of helping your children remember what they’ve been given. | Wendy Speake
Our boys love to create shoeboxes filled with gifts for Operation Christmas Child. If your son has the love language of gifts, definitely go to their site and show him videos of children opening boxes. And in November plan to pack a box (or two or three). You can even choose a boy your son’s same age. Such a simple and fun activity, which not only lifts a child’s spirit, but also communicates the gospel. | Heather MacFadyen
We hope you’ve enjoyed this series and have found some practical resources and ideas for being intentional with how your show your boys love! As one final resource, we’d like to direct you to a great resource over at our friend, Joanna May’s site, Mums.Kids.Jesus. — be sure to head over and sign up for her FREE “The Cultivate Love Challenge: 50+ Ideas and Resources to Help Your Family Grow in Love” resource!
This article on physical touch is the first article in a five-part series on The Love Languages of Boys. Click over here to read an overview on what this series covers, access a printable assessment for children and teens, and download your FREE printable Love Language Worksheet along with other resources!