Children are all different and you find this evident in a Sunday School setting.
During Sunday School, you may find that most of your children behave with little to no difficulty, but there are always a couple that will have behavior issues. Getting children to behave during Sunday School is important for several reasons.
You need order in the classroom to teach your lesson, the other kids need it for their own learning needs, and you need to provide a safe environment for all the children. Here are some ideas for helping children behave during this time.
No matter what age of children you teach, you need to establish rules within the classroom. These rules should always been simple and pertinent. Do not have so many rules that children feel trapped in them. For example, simple rules such as "Listen at all times," applies to not only listening to you, but the other children as well. Think about what you expect out of the children and start from there. It is a good idea to explain all of the rules to the class, so there are no ways for them to misconstrue their meanings.
Get to Know Your Children
One important step in establishing order in your classroom is getting to know the kids on a personal level. Talk to the parents and find out if there are behavior issues in the home or if the child has been diagnosed with a medical condition that may cause behavior issues. Find out what works best for your children and what kind of classroom setting they respond to the best.
Have a Reward System
A reward system works out very well for children of all ages, especially children in preschool. It could be something as simple as earning star stickers each week for outstanding behavior, and letting the children place their own star on their Sunday School attendance chart. At the end of so many weeks, children can earn a prize from a prize box. Other ideas include earning plastic coins, "Bible bucks" or anything small that the children can trade in for larger rewards. It is always a good idea to keep the reward system in a place where they can see it each week. This gives them a visual reminder of what is expected out of them.
Plan Plenty of Activities
Children often misbehave or become restless when they become bored. You can prevent this by keeping your children busy during the time they are in your classroom. Have plenty of short and easy activities that last no more than a few minutes.
Remember that small children have a short attention span and need several small activities to keep their interest. Sculpting clay, puzzles, blocks, easy games and even a quick walk around the church are all quick activities that will direct their attention.
There will always be the child who doesn't behave during Sunday School. Learning how to distract that child's behavior is your best bet. Keep open communication with the parents of your students, use the tips suggested above, and you should be able to run a tight ship in your classroom every week.
Denise Oliveri has been teaching Sunday School for the past 13 years. She is the owner of Preschool Sunday School Central, a leading online resource for preschool Sunday School teachers.
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