Class time at church should be the most exciting part of a kid's week! It shouldn't be boring, stale or slow. My goal as a Kid's Pastor is always to make class as powerful and energetic as possible.
To a lot of grown-up that come into the classroom, it may look a little chaotic. But a closer look will show structure and order - the backbone of every class!
If you're having discipline issues in you kid-min, follow some of these strategies we employ in our classroom.
Employ Your Students
Kids love to help.
No matter how rowdy or rambunctious the kid, they will jump at any chance to help that's offered! I've found most "bad" kids are simply "bored" kids. When they know they're helping by setting an example for the rest of class, they will usually settle down and help.
Every class needs student leaders. These are the kids that help you when you need a hand. They're the ones who will take the new kids under their wings and show them around. They're your front line in classroom discipline. What I mean by that is they're the ones who are showing the rest of class how to behave!
Make a big deal about your student leadership. Give these student leaders name tags. Use them when you need simple things done. Brag about them as much as you can. Your goal is to encourage the rest of the class to follow their examples. And don't forget to keep adding to their ranks - don't just put your favorite kids in these positions!
Never Go It Alone!
Under no circumstances should there be only one adult in your classroom! Besides the obvious issues of student and teacher safety - one teacher simply can't keep the class exciting and controlled at the same time!
When you have more than one teacher, you never have to stop your lesson to confront discipline issues! When there are two or more teachers, they can alternate between teaching and maintaining order in the crowd.
When fellow workers handle the correction from the floor, it allows the speakers and teachers on the stage to continue the excitement of the class!
One more advantage of this multi-teacher system is training. When you bring in adults to children's ministry, they can spend time learning the flow of the class before they ever step onto the stage!
Kidz Blitz Live!
Make Your Rules Well-Known
Every park has this. Chuck E. Cheese has this. Even your kids' favorite teachers have this. Why shouldn't your class have posted rules? A few basic, well-known rules are necessary for a good class. Every time a teacher starts class, they should state the rules as early as possible!
Here's the simple reason you need rules - kids need to learn to obey the people in charge! How many wild kids do you know that got in trouble as wild teenagers? How many of those could've been spared the trouble by disciplining them as kids?
While this is mostly the parents' job - it becomes the teacher's responsibility when they step into your classroom!
Make your rules short and simple. Ours are: "Obey your teachers" and "Don't bug the person sitting next to you" - simple right? We don't need rules about running in class because that's covered in "Obey your teachers". We don't need rules about hitting because that's covered in "Don't bug other kids". See?
Try not to make your pet peeves into rules. Chewing gum, wearing hats in church, slouching in their chairs....these aren't serious discipline issues! They don't deserve to hold a place in the kids very limited memory!
Classroom Discipline on Amazon
Have A Plan For Rule-Breaking
No one likes to deal with misbehaving kids - especially teachers! We want every kid to be good, stay in class, and obey the rules. But you will always have a rule-breaker at some point in your class time! So how do you deal with them?
Lovingly! Your goal is to keep class fun and exciting - not to kick kids out! Sending kids out of the classroom should be your absolute last resort!
Our policy for classroom discipline is this: warn, move, remove.
1st comes the warning - that is to say, an encouragement to obey the rules. This comes from the worker who isn't teaching at the time.
2nd comes the move - we simply move the misbehaving child to a different seat. This removes any external factors in the misbehavior such as the kid next to him that you didn't see instigate the situation.
3rd removal - If the child continues to disobey your rules after being moved to a different seat, then they are removed. For some kids, this means sitting with their parent for the rest of the service. For others, it is simply taking the kid outside the classroom and encouraging them to do better.
Reaffirm and Encourage
Remember, always leave the impression of love and concern with any child and parent involved. Whether you think so or not, your class would NOT be better if that child stopped attending. It may be quieter, but not better! :)
In my 11 years of teaching, I've never known a "bad" kid. Most of the time their misbehavior came from other factors. Whether it was boredom, a troubled home life, an excess of sugar, an exciting day at school, or an over-enthusiastic friend - a kid can have all kinds of reasons for acting up. You do need to maintain order for the sake of the rest of your class, but always re-establish your connection with the misbehaving child before they leave. If they leave while they're hurt or angry, you can count on them not coming back.