Teaching kids about the love of God is a privilege and a joy but what happens when your group includes a negative child? Everyone has a down day occasionally but this little one sees the glass half empty all the time. If it’s snack time, he bemoans the cookie and cracker selection. During the teaching time, he interrupts to infuse his negativity into your lesson on faith. You love him but he walks under a rainy little cloud. What can you do? Is teaching a negative child impossible?
Of course not! God’s love can permeate any situation but we must be his hands and feet. Here’s how I handle teaching a negative kid.
Refuse to succumb to the pint-sized pessimist’s bad mood. His negativity should concern you but not influence you. You have to remain positive for everyone! Wrap yourself in prayer and worship before you enter the teaching environment.
Understand the causes of negativity. Sometimes kids wake up crabby. Other times it is a lack of structure that puts them in a negative state of mind. Believe it or not, structure plays a big role in teaching kids to be positive. Do structure your time together. All kids love structure but kids struggling with negativity find it especially comforting to know what comes next.
Confront negative statements but be wise. You don’t want to get in the habit of counteracting every statement with correction and you don’t want to embarrass anyone. However, you must draw the line! Control the atmosphere of your kids church or classroom by insisting that kids raise their hands during the teaching time. You can decide whether to acknowledge the question or make them wait. If the complaints or negativity persists, correct it. Say something like, “Okay, that’s enough. I understand that you feel that way but we must move on.”
Show the negative child plenty of affection. He needs extra love.
Recognize that some families tend to focus on the negatives. Pray! Pray for a spiritual breakthrough of God’s Spirit into that home. When He enters, He will bring peace, joy and all manner of good things.
You can do it!
Read more from Mimi by visiting her blog at Tools for Kids Church.