At our church, we are blessed with children who are bright, curious, thoughtful, and kind. However, none of us is perfect, and sometimes kids need to be reminded of appropriate behavior. Here are some ways to prevent and intervene.
- Try to make the atmosphere more like a club than a class.
- Approach each child/youth with the same respect and dignity you would accord an adult. We are all people, but we are different sizes and have varying degrees of life experience.
- Do not to shame the kids/youth. If you must speak to a kid about a misbehavior, please pull him/her aside and not address the behavior in front of others, if at all possible.
- We strive for reinforcing positive behavior rather than punishing negative behavior.
- If misbehavior becomes an issue, please flag Heather down or come get her (or the substitute DRE) for assistance.
- If there is a misbehavior, discuss with Heather who (she or you) will talk to the parent(s). If you do the communication, speak calmly and factually to a parent about the difficult behavior. Avoid judgments an emotional reactions. If there is frequent misbehavior, a good idea is to involve the parent by asking, “What works for you at home?”
- If, in the unlikely scenario that there is persistent difficulty with one class or with one child, please let Heather know sooner rather than later so we can get a tighter behavior plan in place.
Here are some specific things to say when things get rough:
- If a kid is doubting another child’s story or trying to correct another child’s thoughts/opinions: “We need to trust that that’s his/her experience.”
- If a kid says that a particular activity is dumb/boring, etc.: “To you this is ________. To me, it’s important to do.”
- If kids are touching each other, remind them to get consent first by saying, “Is it ok with ______ that you’re touching (hugging, etc.) with them?
- On the other hand, if kids are being violent, you can simply say, “We don’t allow violence at our church.” This can carry through with younger children as, “We don’t pretend guns/fighting/hurting others at our church.”
- If things simply get out of hand, give the child/youth a choice: “I need you to ______________ now or else I will have to go get your parent from the service.” (Or “call your parent to pick you up” from a social activity.)
Most importantly, stay calm, cool, and collected and get help if you need it!