What happens in Kids’ Club doesn’t stay in Kids’ Club. We want kids to share everything…from what was fun…to what was confusing…to what they learned about Jesus and how they want to follow him! But sometimes kids behave in a way that parents or guardians should know about …but kids might not want to share it. Then it’s up to us to have that conversation. After all, our goal is to make Kids’ Club a great experience for every kid.
The main thing to keep in mind is that we aren’t trying to simply inform parents about a behavior, we’re seeking to understand an individual kid’s needs… and how to best meet them. Of course, that can be hard to do, so before the parent or guardian even arrives in the room, ask the Holy Spirit to help you communicate truth AND love.
If you need to communicate something about a kid’s behavior during check-out, pull the parent aside to chat as privately as possible. Start by sharing something positive about the kid. Maybe they enjoy interacting with others or is polite to adults. If nothing stands out, we can just say: “It seems like your kid had a tough time in Kids’ Club today.” (But make sure to use the kid’s real name!) Basically, we show we’re more concerned with the kid than the behavior.
Then we share the facts, and only the facts. We might say a kid had trouble following directions instead of telling a parent they were “disruptive.” Or that they refused to share, instead of calling them “unkind.” Or that they struggled to keep their hands to themselves, instead of saying they were “out of control.” In other words, we can say what the kid did. We don’t offer our opinions, and we definitely don’t try to diagnose them.
After sharing the facts, invite parents to help us support their kid. After all, they’re the experts! Plus, it’s likely they’ve been working on the same behavior at home, and maybe even with teachers or caregivers, too. We can ask them for insights to better understand the kid and ideas for how to connect with them and motivate them to behave appropriately. Then we really listen to their response and summarize what they say to make sure we’re both on the page.
Hopefully, parents will want to partner with us and we’ll have a few ideas to try out when the kid comes back! But no matter how the conversation goes, at the end, thank them for talking with you and sharing ideas. Then remind the parent that we want to do everything we can to make Kids’ Club great… so their kid will keep coming back every week! Because when we say Kids’ Club is a party where everyone’s invited… we really do mean it.
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