This is the continuation of a series where we are sharing tips and tricks for dealing with common kidmin discipline issues. Many of these answers were compiled by a roomful of people who work and serve in the trenches. You can see the other two posts here and here.
– label shelves and bins with pictures
– help kids clean up as they go rather than wait til the end.
– establish a consistent, fun part of the classroom routine.
– offer stubborn choices: “Do you want to clean up the blocks or the cars?”
– Include a fun timer that they have to “race” to accomplish their task.
– Don’t expect more than their age group can do.
– Don’t ask if they want to clean up. 🙂 That is not a choice.
– These situations can be beginning steps to teaching about stewardship: we take care of what God gives us.
– Give those who disrupt often a job in the classroom. Lots of times disruptive kids want attention or are bored. Let them operate the lights, computer, etc.
– Create a positive reinforcement plan for repeat offenders. Offer incentives for making it certain lengths of time without interrupting the class.
– Show lots of grace and unconditional love while establishing boundaries.
– Have a plan for temporarily removing the extremely disruptive child. It is not fair to hinder the other kiddos.
– Don’t let your frustration take over.
– Don’t let your correction of the disruption be more of a disruption. Kids ignore a lot more than you do. Make sure that the correction benefits the class rather than interrupting more.
– If you do have to remove a child for being disruptive, have someone who can spend time with that child to connect and discuss behavior, but also to look for discipleship opportunities.
– Assign groups or partners rather than let the kids pick.
– Set the expectation that everyone is a part of the class and everyone is important.
– Have private conversations with those who are doing the excluding.
– Personally give extra attention to the kids who tend to be left out.
– Don’t make a public spectacle of the issue. That will only embarrass your excluded child even more.
– Don’t tolerate exclusive behavior.
– Make sure that you aren’t intentionally or unintentionally excluding kids yourself!
– When counseling a child who feels left out, you can remind them of times that people in the Bible probably felt left out… David when his brothers went to the battle, Joseph, even Jesus.
– Be very intentional about grouping kids or rearranging seating. Separate potential issues without them even knowing. For example, group together kids with red shirts.
– Encourage kids to play/interact with others.
– help kids talk about issues.
– Choose times to ignore the problems and encourage kids to ignore it and move on.
– Don’t take sides.
– Don’t encourage the drama or make it worse by dwelling on it.
– Don’t act like it is not a big deal. It is huge in these kids’ lives.
– At camp we always had late night girl friend drama. In every situation I would talk to the upset girl about Matthew 5 and Matthew 18. One says that if you have offended someone you go to that person. The other says if someone offends you, you should go to that person. I encourage the girl to go talk to her friend and explain why she’s upset. More often than not, a calm conversation inspired by Scripture will resolve problems and hopefully also helps them have a model for what to do in the future.