VBS brings kids. Church kids. Neighborhood kids. Grandkids. Big kids. Little kids. Lots of kids! And each one brings energy, activity, and lots of personality.
All of this in one place can mean behavior problems. Of course, to see a genuine change in a child’s behavior, there has to be a change of heart, so our first order of business as teachers is to help kids see their need for Christ. But while you’re working on leading them to that heart change, what else can you do?
In addition to a change of heart in a child, there must be a change of heart in the teacher. A child can begin to understand Christ’s love for him and he sees that love through you. Here are a few helpful tips to help you on your way:
- State expectations. Some of your kids don’t know “church” behavior. And even those who do won’t know what you expect if you don’t tell them.
- Be consistent. Once you’ve stated your expectations and any consequences, be consistent. Don’t let your mood change your rules.
- Be flexible. Even though consistency is important, remember that VBS brings all sorts of excitement. Sometimes even the best plans have to change. Watch your kids closely. If what you’re doing isn’t keeping their attention, change things up a bit.
- Focus on good behavior. A child who is seeking attention will continue whatever behavior is noticed most. When a child is sharing, being a friend, following directions, and the like, let him know you appreciate it.
- Get to know your kids. Know their likes and dislikes. Watch to see when they’re most engaged. If you have a child who is really active, know that he’s not going to do well just sitting at a table and doing pencil work. Find a more active way to teach your point. Match your teaching styles to their learning styles.
- Give choices. Some kids feel a need to have control—they may not be able to have it anywhere else but here. So give choices when you can. Not every activity is going to “click” with a child. Try to have more than one learning experience available at a time so that kids can choose what works best for them.
Above all, model Christ’s love for children – all of them. Jesus did not say, “Let the good children come to me.” For a child to begin to understand Christ’s unconditional love, they need to see it in you.