As SGLs of preschoolers and kids, how we love our kids NOW is going to play a major role in the adults they become.

According to the World Health Organization, “Research now shows that many challenges in adult society-mental health problems, obesity/ stunting, heart disease, criminality, competence in literacy and numeracy- have their roots in early childhood.”

When I read this and thought of the fact that we only have about 40 hours a YEAR with our kids, it really made me think about what we are doing with that hour! How are you showing your kids love and making them believe that love?

Sometimes I think we might be so focused on teaching them the story, memorizing the Bible verse, and making sure they get all the crafts done and games played, that we might be missing the most important job of the day: LOVING them.

I’m always telling my small group leaders leaders that their most important job is to just LOVE on those babies and kids! But, let’s be real, what’s not to love about a 3-month-old baby or a smiling first grader? That’s easy to do!

The harder job is that of the SGL who has a whole tribe of kids in their terrible 2’s!It may be a little bit harder to show that tribe your love as they are screaming “NO!” in your face, or wetting their pants because you didn’t get to the potty fast enough, or as they are running around the storyteller because they don’t understand “sit and listen!”

The job gets tougher when it’s a stampede of third graders with the wit of an eight year old but the attitude of an eighteen year old. And they’re running at you at break-neck speed because they think it’s a funny when their combined weight manages to dog pile you to the ground.

However, no matter the age, our kids need to be told and shown we LOVE them!

We have to remember that preschoolers speak a different “Love” language than adults. Here are some ways that we can show them love:

~ Know their names!

~Bend down to their level when you greet them and talk to them.

~Tell them you are happy to see them.

~Comment on their “cute bow” or “cool shoes” or “awesome new glasses”. When you do this I promise their little faces will light up!

~ When they act out and you have to talk with them about behavior (and at some point we all do!) follow that conversation up with the fact you still love them and are their friend—even when they make a “bad choice.”

~ Show up! Be consistent!

Is teaching them the Bible story, helping them memorize a verse, dancing with them to the virtue song or worship music, and crafting with them important? YES! However, these will all become easier when a child knows that you love them and trusts you. When you show a child that you love them Sunday after Sunday, week after week, it proves to them their worth! That’s what love over time looks like. That’s where ministry happens.

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Jenny Zimmer

Jenny is a California native and Preschool and Family Life Director at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, CA. For over ten years she has been doing ministry work. Working with young children is her passion, which is why she is also a part-time preschool teacher. Having two older children of her own, Paige and McKenzie, Jenny recognizes the significance of spending time with children. At the same time she knows the value of family which is why when she is not working you can find her with her husband Jim, daughters, and dogs enjoying the California atmosphere.

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