I once heard a children’s ministry leader say, “If you don’t put on a program for kids, they will put one on for you!” How true is that? After a few weeks in children’s ministry, I realized how true it was! For the best results, I had to have a good plan that included object lessons, games and very little free time. Since those early days, (can you believe it’s been almost twenty years?) I have learned even more. It’s not enough to have a plan–you have to enforce it but in a fun, playful way.
That’s not to say that sometimes tough discipline problems occur but that’s not the norm. Over the years, I have developed/found/picked up some silly yet effective techniques that help me keep control of my class. As you know, once you lose control, it’s hard to get it back.
The Paper Drop: Have a wad of paper at your teaching table. If kids begin talking while you teach, hold the paper ball over your head. This gets kids attention. Drop the ball and say, “Can you hear that?” Keep dropping the ball until your class can hear the paper ball. It works!
Quiet Spray: Purchase a can of unscented hairspray. Cover the hairspray can with construction paper, except the nozzle. Write, “Quiet Spray” on the paper using a marker. When kids get noisy, spray the air pretending to use the quiet spray. Don’t spray kids! If you prefer you can use an empty water bottle.
Balloon Swap: This is a play on another discipline plan I used called Balloon Pop. Before class, put three helium or air filled balloons on both sides of the room, one for the girls, one for the boys. In the original discipline plan, when one of the kiddos broke the rules, I popped one of their side’s balloons. Whichever side had the most balloons was the winner. With this version though, I didn’t pop the balloons, I moved one of the rule-breaker’s balloons to the other side. It’s funny to see those balloons move back and forth.
So those are some discipline ideas that work for me. If you have a real discipline problem with specific children what you’re really seeing is a cry for help. You can do this!
Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.