Isn’t it amazing how God can count our hairs, know our needs and love us so completely? He encourages us along life’s path with all sorts of special moments. As the Good Shepherd, He loves us collectively but individually too. He’s provided us a wonderful example of loving and leading the children He sends our way.
Still, I fall short of that mark frequently. I get distracted with paperwork and the necessary things of ministry and sometimes I forget to make children feel special. However, it’s those special moments of connection that let children know how important they are to you and ultimately to God. It’s easier to talk about love but we must show it too.
This week, incorporate these 15 ways to make a child feel special and build strong ties with your children.
1. Treat them with respect. Every person, big or small deserves to be respected. Don’t talk over or ignore children. Respect them like you would respect their parents.
2. Snack together. Jesus knew this: Sharing a meal builds relationships. Snack with your kids. Don’t just hand out drinks and chips. Sit down, visit and munch together.
3. Enlist their help with projects. Make a child feel special by making him feel needed. His talents and abilities have value.
4. Shake hands and give hugs. The appropriate level of physical contact is important though. Don’t hug kids that don’t like physical touching.
5. Call them by name. When I minister to a large group, I can’t remember everyone’s name so I create funny nicknames. Never choose a derogatory name and try your best to learn everyone’s correct name.
6. Involve everyone. Some kids wait to be invited. Make a child feel special by inviting him to play.
7. Laugh at yourself. Kids can relate to this and it puts them at ease.
8. Remember her birthday with a card or small gift. Keep in mind, if you start giving gifts you’ll have to do it all year-long.
9. Contact a child when he’s absent. Let him know he was missed.
10. Praise the child sincerely for his accomplishments.
11. Greet him when he arrives and say goodbye when he leaves.
12. Create a regular class schedule. Familiarity makes kids feel comforted.
13. Keep your word.
14. Interact with parents and guardians to make your child feel special and important. Talk her up!
15. Focus on the child when he speaks to you. In the case of inappropriate interruptions, correct the behavior without embarrassing the child. Follow up with a conversation after to address her question.
We hope these ideas will help you make a difference in the lives of children. It can be that simple to make a child feel loved and special by getting back to basics. Leave a comment below with your ideas. This practice makes a good example for volunteers too!