Long before children understand the meaning of words, children receive emotional messages. The tone of voice and the gentleness of mood communicate emotional warmth. All parents speak to their infants, and what the baby understands is the look on the face and the affectionate sounds, combined with physical closeness. Young children don’t understand the meaning of the words, “I love you.” They can’t see love as they can see a toy or a book. But they begin to associate the words “I love you” with the hugs and tender touches you give them as you say the words. It’s the tone of voice that they hear and they associate it with the words, “I love you.” Affirming words communicate love even before the child understands the words.
April 8, 2014