Kids’ Club is a place for every kid, no matter their personality, energy level or life experience. That means some kids will need us to teach them how to behave during Kids’ Club. If a kid wants control, craves attention, or has heard “no” or “stop” all week at school, we get to give them a voice, show them they’re loved and set them up for a win in Kids’ Club.
The best thing we can do is connect before we correct. That’s when we make kids feel understood before explaining how they should act. If you want more information on that, check out the “Connect Before You Correct” video [link to video back].
But kids might not understand themselves …or want to connect. In those cases, one thing we can do is offer options. When kids choose between two perfectly acceptable choices, they feel a sense of control. If a kid is running to small group, give them the choice to walk or hop. If a kid isn’t participating in large group, offer to let them stand in the back or sit with you. The choice is small, but it’s still up to them.
Saying yes is powerful, too. If we can say yes to something thing they want to do, great. Do they want to spin around quietly for Large Group? If they’re not distracting others, sure! Would they like to use a pen instead of a marker? Why not? They might not hear yes very often.
In fact, they might not be used to positive reinforcement at all. So when they do something well–even something small–let’s tell them! Or, if they’re not cooperating, we can ask them to do some “easy” things that bring instant success. Try asking them about their favorite movie, giving a high five and finding out who brought them to Kids’ Club. Then they’ll be on a roll when we ask them to go to Large Group.
We can also offer a win by giving a re-do. Re-do’s work best when we ask kids what should have happened…then let them do it! The best part is, after that, we get to compliment them on a job well done.
When Kids’ Club becomes a place where kids feel understood, hear “yes” and “good job” and get second chances, it’s a place where kids can encounter the grace, mercy and love Jesus offers us. It might not always feel like it, but it’s pretty cool that we get to create this kind of place for kids. Who knows? One day, they might realize that Jesus cares more about who they are than what they do. So let’s show them what that feels like!
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