More than ever, kids long to connect. It is an important part of how children learn about their world. While the relationship children have with their parents is key, according to experts, it makes a positive difference when children have other loving, caring adults in their life. As a teacher, you can be one of those adults!
God made you unique. Your personality, experiences, values, gifts, and talents all make you like no one else. I love that! That means that the way you teach is special and exclusively yours! You have the opportunity to impact lives for Jesus and make a difference and kids today are ripe for that. That’s exciting news!
Over the last 25 years, life has changed in big ways for children! There is an enormous amount of competition for a children’s attention with entertainment everywhere. Yet, what children are longing for most is connection. That’s why, as a teacher, cultivating relationships with the children you teach is vital.
Here are a few tips on how to nurture relationships with the children in your care:
1. Plan and prepare well!
Children are experts at reading between the lines. When they arrive and you are unprepared and distracted it not only conveys a lack of importance to them, it also prevents you from being able to give them your undivided attention.
Take the time to plan and prepare in advance so that when children begin to arrive you are able to greet them each personally and get your time together off to a positive start.
2. Be present
Life is full of distractions! Take time before your class begins to reflect. Set aside the worries of your week – lay them at His feet so that your mind is not on other things. Ask the Spirit to make you aware of what He is doing and how you can best reach out to the children God has entrusted to your care.
3. Set clear boundaries
Take time at the beginning of your class time to clearly set your expectations for the children’s behavior and let them know what the general flow of your time together will be. The time spent up front will save time and frustration later.
Nothing is more disruptive than having to deal with behavior issues.
4. Make personal time for each child
Making an effort to have a personal conversation with each child and look them in the eye is powerful! The personal attention demonstrates how important they are, and we all learn better when we feel valued!
Refrain from chatting with the other helpers – there will be time for that later. Remember, children are watching you! They are keenly aware of what really matters to you!
5. Address each child by name
There was an adorable boy visiting my class a few years back. In the middle of our class time I was unable to see his name tag and I just could not remember his name so I asked “Buckaroo” to come sit by me. I did not know it, but that just happened to be his nickname. Needless to say he was shocked that I knew his nickname and quickly responded to my request. This was a fluke! Most of the time we are not that fortunate! It really does make a difference when you address a child by name.
6. Connect Outside of class
Developing relationships with children goes beyond the classroom. It is noticing them when you see them at church, school, or at functions when your paths happen to cross.
Looking for ways to be more intentional about connecting with the children in your class? Why not snap a quick photo of you and each child individually, then print them out and mail them with a quick personal note. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all at one time, you can do it over time, working your way through the children in your class. The hope is to make an effort to genuinely connect with the kids God has placed in your care.
While you may never see the fruit of the impact you have had on the children in your class, be confident that it does make a difference when children know you genuinely care! That makes it possible for you to introduce them to the One who longs to have a relationship with them.
© Can Stock Photo / michaeljung