Think a good greeting program isn’t necessary for children’s church? Think again! When we don’t greet kids as they come in, we miss making a valuable connection for two reasons. First, the greeting is where you establish discipline. That’s so important to do right at the beginning of each session. Kids need to know someone is in charge. Second, we can miss precious opportunity to build strong relationships. Like anyone, children want to be acknowledged when they step in the room.
“Stop, squat and smile.” That’s what I teach my volunteers. Yelling at kids from across the room isn’t acceptable. If I’m talking to a child, I say, “Excuse me a minute,” and move them along in the process, perhaps to the craft table, the sanctuary or to another volunteer. I squat down or sit down so I’m at eye level with children. I smile and greet the child by name, if I know it.
Give kids something to do. That activity might be to sign a visitor sheet, collect Bible bucks or review the take home sheet. Whatever it is, I take the opportunity spend time with kids, asking them about their school week, their family, a pet. Whatever it is, I engage them in conversation during the greeting.
Wear a costume. Build the excitement right from the beginning by greeting children in costume. A pair of inexpensive, oversized novelty glasses make a fun conversation point and can even give kids a clue about the upcoming session. Do keep in mind that some costumes are frightening to some kids, like clowns, furry costumes and anything that looks scary. Costumes make an awesome visual for shy kids who don’t know if they want to come in or not.
Get everyone in on the greeting! Don’t you love it when you go to a pizza place and they all stop and greet you? I do! Kids do too! Have your volunteers stop and greet each kid with a “Welcome to ________!” when they walk in.
Have fun greeting the kiddos!
Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.
- 4 Ways to Make Families & Children Feel Welcomed
- 10 Ways to Make a New Kid Welcome at Church
- Smart Ways to Grow Your Kids Church
- Helping Kids In Kids Church with Separation Anxiety
- Five Ways to Get Kids to Shut Up!