The need for love is the greatest of all human needs. Children who don't receive love cannot fulfill their God-given potential for a fulfilling, contributing life. While children's workers at church spend relatively brief amounts of time with children, our effect on boys and girls must not be minimized. Small tokens of love from a child's teacher can sometimes have an impact way out of proportion to the significance of the event. Here are 8 simple ways to show your children you love them.

1. Get down on their level. The unspoken gesture of getting on your knees so you can communicate eye-to-eye with kids speaks volumes.

2. Be a patient listener. Let's face it. Children's narratives can sometimes be tedious, filled with long pauses, repeated words, and more details than anyone really cares to hear. However, really LISTENING to a child says, "I care. I'm interested in you." To show that you are listening, it sometimes helps to interject a question or comment in the narrative. For example, "That must have been a lot of fun," or "How did you feel when your brother did that?"

3. Remember birthdays and other special events. Recognize birthdays in your classroom. Take photos of the children during activities and display these in the classroom or give them copies.  Send a birthday card or e-mail.

4. Occasionally attend something of importance to the child: sports events, musical recitals, school events.

5. Welcome children warmly when they come to class, and give them time to share the events of their week. Possible questions are: "How was your week--good, bad, or average? What was the best thing that happened all week? What was the worst thing that happened?" As children respond, rejoice or commiserate with them as appropriate.

6. Remember the children who always come. Absentees are usually contacted urging them to return to class. By contrast, regular attendees can sometimes be overlooked. Occasionally call or e-mail these children to express your appreciation for their regular attendance and participation.

7. Notice things about your children. Is Jessica wearing a particularly attractive dress? Tell her so. Has Nathan lost a tooth? Let him tell about it. Is Corbin sporting new shoes? Admire the special features he points out. This attentiveness tells children they are important to you.

8. Praise good work, good behavior, and good effort. According to some specialists, it takes several positive remarks to undo the effect of one negative comment. Some children hear mostly commands and negatives: "Sit up straight." "Why can't you . . .?" "You never . . . ." or " You always . . . ." Help to balance these with honest praise of the good things you notice: "You're doing a great job on that picture," "Thanks for waiting so patiently." "You're really improving in raising your hand before you talk." When praising a child, ALWAYS be sincere, and be SPECIFIC about what you praise.