Discipline Tips for Your Kids Ministry

Teaching in today’s world is a challenge but when you are teaching kids about God and His love, the pressure is really on. It is hard to be the perfect example of love and charity when little Johnny stands on the table and refuses to come down. Broken homes and a broken society have all contributed to the lack of discipline Christian teachers see evidenced in their classrooms and children’s churches. As a result, spiritually hungry children may get left behind while we deal with bad behaviors. Besides prayer and patience, use some kids’ ministry discipline tips to make teaching easier.

Establish Easy Rules
In order for kids to follow the rules, they need to understand them. Establish a simple rule system, display it on a poster and post them at kids’ eye level. Use as few words as possible when writing these rules. For example you should write, “One person speaks,” or “Raise my hand first.” Only have a few rules, three to five is good. No more than five as this can be too complicated for little ones.

3-Step Discipline
After the rules poster is created establish your 3-step discipline policy and teach it to all children’s workers. Here are the steps.
• Rule Reminder: When a child breaks a rule, remind him or her the poster rules. Have him repeat the rule with you.
• Personal Visit: If the rule is broken a second time, walk to the child and speak to him privately. Bend at the knees if possible to make eye contact with the child in a non-threatening manner. Tell him he has broken the rule and tell warn him about breaking the rule again. Explain to him what the next course of action will be.
• Immediate Consequence: At the third infraction, there should be an immediate consequence like a visit to time-out, or removal from a game. Threatening to talk to Mom or Dad after class is not an immediate consequence.

Teachers have the discretion to repeat the process if they like or escort the disruptive child to his parents.

Put Them to Work
Before class begins, designate children to specific tasks. Busy work may help the strong-willed, undisciplined child to participate in class. There is nothing wrong with teaching a child how to get “good” attention as opposed to “bad” attention.

More Tips
Here are a few kids’ ministry discipline tips to consider. These will help manage behavior in your Sunday School class or any church setting.
• Avoid repeating warnings. Saying a child’s name repeatedly will only frustrate you. Use the 3-step discipline plan and do not repeat yourself.
• Let others talk. When you talk too much, kids tune you out.
• Never take it personally. Kids with poor discipline are not targeting you- they need you. Do not take angry words to heart and do not hold a grudge.
• Laugh a lot. Lighten up the room by laughing with your kids, even the naughty ones.
• Apologize when you are wrong. In a perfect world, grownups never make mistakes but we know this is not a perfect world. Teach your kids the meaning of humility by admitting when you are wrong. If you reprimand a child that did not deserve it, do not brush it off. The child will not. Admit you are wrong and ask for forgiveness.

Be proactive and take the appropriate measures to get control of your class or ministry. Good, even-tempered discipline will give your child a true picture of God’s love. Leave a comment to share your best classroom management tips.