It’s that time of year again! The summer is coming to a close and kids are back in school. If your Children’s Ministry group is anything like mine, things were a little bit squirrely this last week. A little too much sitting during the school day perhaps?
Even if the kids in your group were as good as gold, the beginning of the school year is a perfect time to review expectations and make sure everyone is clear on the rules.
Here’s a few things we do in our kidmin classes in order to help keep the classroom calm (for even more classroom management ideas, check out my classroom management blog series or my pinterest board).
#1: Be Prepared (Get the Supplies Out and Ready)
Of course, the more prepared you are to teach the kids, the more smoothly the classroom experience will be. Not only should you be preparing (and practicing!) your lesson at home, but it’s crucial to get all the supplies ready for kids before they arrive. If you have older kids, they might be able to get supplies out themselves, but it’s best to keep the rummaging and wandering around the classroom to a minimum.
#2 Line Them Up!
Since you’re already in the classroom setting up and getting all the supplies ready for the kids, it will be easy to control how the kids enter the classroom. It’s best to hold the kids at the door and line them up so they can enter the classroom in an orderly manner. Before our Children’s Church, I make sure to tell the kids to use the bathroom or get a drink before they enter and I also make sure all the kids have their KidCheck sticker on before they enter the classroom. If you have any other specific instructions (such as “get your Bible off the shelf” or “be sure not to touch the crayons just yet”, this is a great time to communicate that to the kids).
#3 The Schedule (Help Keep Things on Track)
Kids like to know what to expect next. Even though it’s good to keep thing varied, it’s also important to keep some kind of routine for the kids. Each week, I change the way I teach the lesson (props, puppets, video shorts, etc), but we keep the same general routine. This helps you time things properly and helps keep everything on track. By posting the schedule, kids can keep track of what’s coming up and you can refer to it when you need to transition into a different activity.
#4 I Need a Helper (The Popsicle Stick Method)
Kids love to help in the classroom and you can use this enthusiasm to your advantage! Whenever I need a volunteer (or helper) during Children’s Church, I pull out my popsicle sticks. The names of the kids are written on the sticks (one name per stick), plus a few sticks say “guest” in case we have a visitor that day. I pull out a name and secretly look at it — if that person has been listening and participating well, I ask them to be my helper. If that child has not been cooperative, then I say something like, “I’m sorry — this person has not been listening well. They cannot be my helper. I’ll need to pick someone else.”
It’s important not to actually say the disruptive child’s name. This serves two purposes.
- It prevents shaming and embarrassment
- It causes ALL the kids to evaluate their behavior. They all wonder if it was their name on that stick and will generally vow to shape up (at least for a few minutes!) in order to increase their chances of being a helper.
That’s it for now! What things do you implement every week in order to keep things calm in the classroom? I’d love to hear about it!