Yikes, we all need it and maybe struggle with it, but no one talks about it.
But in reality, each one of your church classrooms have different needs and it is not the same from one age group to the next. When your class does not have the structure needed for the age group, then that is when classroom management tends to fail.
This is where you can be intentional. Intentional on what you teach and intentional on how to handle situations that arise.
Start when they are little, be consistent. What I mean is, all classrooms, Nursery, Preschool and Grade School, should have consistent, age-appropriate structure; class guidelines and rules – for the kids.
It should never be a free for all – children doing what they want and volunteers going rogue. But the only way to have consistency in your rooms is to first have a solid teaching program and that your teachers and volunteers know how to use it.
That may mean taking the time to have a group meeting to talk about curriculum, teaching points and how to teach it and how to rein children in when they start to become unmanageable.
Here are some guidelines to Managing Your Classroom:
First and foremost, make sure the basics are being done. Things like consistency in changing diapers, feeding babies and even playing with babies.
Once you have the basics down, then take a look and see what you can do about beginning to teach the babies. It is important for two reasons: One, babies can understand a whole lot more than we give them credit for. Two, it not only teaches them about Jesus. But it is training them, that when they come to church they are going to be fed spiritually.
It’s not daycare, so don’t treat it like it is.
This doesn’t have to be a 35-minute dissertation. It should only be a couple of minutes and the same thing every week!
Kids need repetition. There should be some objects for them to touch and feel.
Example: have small Bible and talk about it’s God’s Word. Have a picture of Jesus and talk about how He is our friend.
It is so important to have a structured class time in the preschool room. This is when they are beginning to learn to sit for periods of time.
Are you going to be asking them to sit down every 45 seconds? Probably.
I am constantly in awe of what my four-year old can pick up at church. Just today, we were driving home from church, and she says to me, “Mom, God can always hear us.”
Dang, if that’s not worth it, I don’t know what is.
Your Large Group class time needs to have structure. It should also be separate from the toy area. Put all the toys away, so they will not be distracted. (Maybe this is why they won’t stay seated.)
It should have a time of a couple songs and teaching. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does need to have some depth to it -15 -20 minutes in total.
Make sure that you are switching gears every couple of minutes. Do one song, then go through the Bible Story, do another song then another object lesson.
The best thing and easiest, as a leader, is to have a strong teaching program. This is easy, because you can decide what happens at the front of the room. You are in control.
You can make your program fun and exciting.
Don’t have “dead time.” Keep it fast paced and everything queued up and ready.
Next, have your class rules and repeat them often. You should start every class time by reminding them of how you expect them to act when at church.
There is nothing more frustrating to a kid than to be held to expectations that they didn’t know about. If a child is disrupting the class, say, “Hey, remember rule number 1? No talking.”
Here is a good example of this. We did a drama skit this weekend with Not Too Bright, one of the characters from Super Church 2.0. Not Too Bright was being disruptive and that in turn made the kids be loud. I knew this going into the skit, that it would rile the kids up, and that’s ok. I stopped talking and reminded them to listen.
Take a look here:
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This drama skit is taken from Lesson 3 of Leadership, Follow the Leader. You can’t be a good leader until you learn how to follow.
I am also a big believer of Quiet Seat Prizes. It’s a physical reminder of expectations. I will stop sometimes and say, “Hey, remember our Quit Seat Prizes? Our other leaders are looking for kids that are following the rules.” You want to encourage good behavior more than you are giving attention to the negative behavior. This is also why we start every Sunday by telling them the rules. It is ok to be the bad guy every once in a while.
If your class is getting out of control. Stop what you are doing, remind them of the rules, then move on.
If you have a child who continually pushes the limits, even after warnings, then it is time to sit down with him and the parents and figure out a plan so that he can stay in the classroom and not be a distraction. Pull the parent in to help you. Train your adult leaders to help you. Correction should never come from the front of the room, unless someone is directly challenging the teacher. (In that case, the teacher has to deal with immediately – in front of everyone.)
Empower your volunteers to tell the kids to stop talking or to move them if they are being a distraction to friends around them. Remember, you have to communicate with your volunteer team, what you want them to do – before Sunday.
If you find that you are loosing the class. Change your tone of voice, move around the stage, and try something different.
You already have leaders in your classrooms and they are leading. In fact, they may be the kids that are causing the disruptions. What you want to do is train those leaders to help you, instead of hurting you – in the class. They say that 20% of the people in our churches do 80% of the work. Why is that?
Maybe because we tell them when they are children that they can’t do anything for the Lord and they continue to believe that when they become adults.
By teaching on leadership and giving opportunities to your kids to step up and be leaders, you will find your kids services transformed.
Mark has taken twenty years of ministry, teaching adult leaders, and transformed it into lessons for children on leadership.
Here are the titles:
- Lesson 1: Everyone Can Be a Leader – 1 Samuel 16:7
- Lesson 2: Vision – Proverbs 29:18
- Lesson 3: Follow The Leader – Matthew 4:19
- Lesson 4: Commitment – Matthew 8:22
- Lesson 5: Serving – Matthew 20:26
- Lesson 6: Right Response to Correction – Proverbs 10:17
- Lesson 7: Pull Your Own Wagon – Galatians 6:5
- Lesson 8: You Will Get Shot At – 1 Samuel 17:29
- Lesson 9: Teamwork – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
- Lesson 10: Leading From The Middle – Matthew 8:9
- Lesson 11: Think Like A Leader – Proverbs 6:6-8
- Lesson 12: Run Your Race – Hebrews 12:1
- Lesson 13: Review Lesson
To learn more about our Leadership curriculum, CLICK HERE.