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Keeping Control

Help, I'm losing it!

Setting Boundaries:

In children's work there is a need to keep control and set boundaries and limits.  Children need to know what is expected of them, because where there is no discipline, very little learning will take place!

Teachers need to make a suitable set of rules for the Sunday School or class.  Keep these few in number, so that the children can easily remember them.  For example, when teacher is talking, they don't!  Or you may designate a specific area as being out of bounds.

Once the rules have been established, be consistent in applying them.   Hebrews 12:11 says:

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
But, later it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace
for those who have been trained by it."

Children Need Security:

Children need security and this comes when they feel safe, and when there is stability, and when teachers are consistent.  Enforced boundaries provide this and the rules protect them so they feel safe.  Children of course, also need to know that they are loved!

When a parent or teacher establishes and enforces rules and their consequences, children conclude that this person wants what is best for them and therefore cares about them.  Children may act disgruntled over your rules, but deep down they are glad because they are loved.

The lack of boundaries leaves a child feeling insecure and perhaps unloved.   To most teachers, the word "discipline" is equated with reacting to bad behaviour.  However, in children's ministry discipline is mostly what you do to encourage good behaviour.  Remember, you must always be a good example and model good behaviour.  Some control methods you could use are:

1.  Using Boys and Girls Teams:

Divide the children into two teams.  Girls on one side and boys on the other.  This is the simplest and fairest method of establishing two teams.   It also helps to ensure a mix of ages on each side.  But beware not to use this as an opportunity to promote one gender as being better than the other!

2.  Balloon Chances:

Sets of three blown up balloons are each assigned to three or more teams.   If any member of a team is being disruptive, then one of their balloons is popped.

A team having all three of their balloons popped will forfeit a treat at the end of the program.  If a team has had none of their balloons popped, then they will receive a double treat.

This will send a message that you mean what you say!  Avoid popping balloons for minor misbehaviour or popping all the balloons early in the program.   This will only reduce the control you will be able to exercise later in the programme.

3.  Three Strikes and You're Out!

A verbal "strike" is given and noted down for individual children when they misbehave.  After three strikes the child is "out" (as per baseball rules) and is asked to leave the hall or classroom and return to their parents.   This is not an easy rule to enforce, but once you have set the rule, you must follow through.

4.  Surprise Chair:

Announce at the beginning of the meeting that a surprise chair has been chosen.  And if the person in that seat has participated and behaved well, he or she will receive a special prize after the service.  But, if the person in this seat disrupts the service, the prize will be forfeited!

5.  Mop and Broom Puppetry:

This can increase attention if you announce at the beginning of the service that you will be looking for well-behaved kids to operate the puppets at the end of the service.

For this you need a set of Mop and Broom puppets that can be made from various mops or brooms with a cardboard face fixed to the head.  The face is painted or drawn on and the strings or bristles are used as "hair".  A wire hanger is taped just below the face and is "dressed" in old clothes.

Let the team chosen march around the hall or perform an impromptu skit or play to the rest of the group.

God bless!

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