Helping kids stay focused throughout your lesson or service can prove challenging for the children’s minister. Not only are we responsible for bringing the Word and building the leaders of tomorrow, we have to do it with plenty of pizzazz. With the onslaught of behavioral issues that teachers encounter today like ADD and ADHD, it’s no wonder we stay in constant prayer, right? You can help kids stay focused without going crazy yourself. As a children’s pastor who works heavily in child evangelism, I can assure you that you can do it!
Always post the rules, but keep them basic. Even reading a long list of rules stretches the patience of some children. Keep those rules short and to the point. I use the Golden Rule a lot and keep it posted in several places in our building.
I always make eye contact with kids. When kids talk to me, I stop what I am doing and look them in the eye. If I am teaching I say, “I see you Ben but hold your question for a few minutes.” I encourage them but don’t force them to make eye contact with me too.
You have to recognize the motivation for unfocused behavior. Is he unfocused because of events that happen at home? Have an open mind about the child’s motivation until you can make an unofficial assessment. Get to know his family, talk to his other teachers for clues but don’t gossip about the child.
Say the child’s name. Nothing means more to a child than to hear you call his name. Greet each child by name and use name tags if you have to.
Control daydreaming with questions. Don’t interrogate kids but ask them to repeat what you just said. Lead them in moments like, “Say this after me…” or every time I say this keyword you say, “Amen!”
Involve the unfocused child. Children that have attention issues sometimes perform better when they have a task to accomplish. Ask them to hold your object lesson items, to help you distribute prizes.
Keep kids focused with team games. Pit boys against the girls and you’ll see them get involved. They want to win! I use team games quite often to help kids stay focused.