Let’s spend some time walking through specific behavior issues that pop up in kidmin and make us or our volunteers scream for help. A lot of this content comes from the collective brainstorming of awesome workshop participants at the Kidmin Conference. For each topic we talked about what we could do proactively to prevent the issue, what we should do/not do when it occurs, and identify if there is a discipleship moment there.
– give the child something to fiddle with in their hands during the lesson
– make sure lessons are varied and interactive
– talk with parents and learn what works at home and school
– remember they are learning even if they don’t look like it
– Label children or write them off
– Expect constant verbal correction to make a difference.
– draw class’s attention to the child or to disruptive child.
– Often children with ADHD have low self esteem, as they know they are different and often they know they make other people kind of crazy. Look for opportunities to show God’s love and to remind them of God’s love. Also, help them find positive ways to channel the God-given extra energy into ways that are more productive for the kingdom.
** A great resource for dealing with ADHD and other special needs is The Inclusive Church site run by Amy Fenton Lee.
– Teach and remind repeatedly that in this ministry we treat others like we want to be treated. We are kind to everyone.
– Take any child’s complaint seriously. Kids are afraid to tell. Honor their choice to do so.
– Address the situation immediately.
– Have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. Kids must feel safe in your ministry.
– Involve parents.
– Don’t tolerate a level of teasing, horseplay, or picking on others that could escalate or could hurt a child emotionally or physically. There are plenty of other ways to have fun.
– Don’t tell a child it is not a big deal or to toughen up.
– Don’t overreact and lose discipleship opportunities with the bully.
– For the bullied: help them identify with how Jesus was mistreated as well as Jesus’ teachings on how we are to respond to “enemies”. Teach forgiveness.
– For the bully: A good lesson on the Golden Rule might be in order, but he/she probably can quote it to you. Rather, discuss some of the reasons we may be mean to other people: insecurities, wanting to be liked ourselves, wanting someone else to pick on, and connect those to what the Bible says about who we are instead.
What are your best tips for dealing with children with ADHD or extra energy or with bullying?