The ABCs of guiding a child’s behavior

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Phil

To assist you in guiding the behavior of the children in your ministry, try the following.

Always model Christ’s love for children and adults. Children learn Jesus loves them as they sense the adults in their lives love them. Children need to know they are loved and accepted for who they are, not for what they do or how they behave.

Be an example. If you want children to do as you say, then do what you say. If you want children to actively participate, then participate with them. Children will follow your actions more than your words.

Consistency is key. Work with the other children’s ministry leaders in your church in regards to what is expected of the children. What is expected in one ministry should be the same for others. Children are easily confused when there are different standards with different ministries.

Don’t expect too much. Children are not little adults; they are children and they need time to be children.

Explain activities before giving out resources. It is difficult for children to listen to the rules of a game while holding the equipment. Explain the rules before handing out the equipment.

Find time to know what is going on in a child’s world.

Give choices when possible, but make sure the choices are ones you are willing to accept.

Hold children accountable for their actions. Children need to learn there are results to their actions, and they may need help accepting the consequences of their behavior. This means both positive and negative consequences.

Involve men in your ministry. Children’s behavior tends to be different when there is a positive male role model in the room. Enlist men to serve in your Worship KidStyle ministry. Children need positive male role models in their lives.

Judge what is misbehaving and what are simply childhood characteristics. It is important to separate the child’s behavior from the child, and understand what are normal childhood developmental characteristics, attitudes, and abilities.

Know the children’s likes, dislikes, hobbies,interests, and so forth. Select activities that fulfill their likes.

Love each child. Children need to know there are adults who love them and want the best for them. No child should be made to feel unloved when she is at church.

Meet the needs of the children. Make sure the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the children are met. If any one of these needs is not being met, it will affect the child’s behavior.

Notice children’s “good” behavior. Catch children doing things the way you would like for them to do things. Reinforce their positive behavior.

Observe what the child’s home life is like. Children act out what they see and experience at home. Visit children in their homes, and discover what their home lives are like.

Pray, pray, and pray. This should be your first step in dealing with any behavioral issues. Pray before, during, and after the session for each child and leader by name. Pray for yourself that God will give you the peace and patience to deal with any situation which may arise.

Quickly deal with any unsafe situation.

Respect the rights of the children. Children do have rights. No child deserves to have his self-esteem destroyed because of his behavior. When it is necessary to redirect a child, make sure it is done in a manner that will not destroy the child’s self-esteem.

State what is expected. Children will live up to your expectations. Let the children know what is expected of them.

Take the initiative to participate with the children. Children need to see you learning with them, playing games with them, and enjoying the session.

Use additional adults when dealing with behavioral situations that may arise.

AVoid calling down every negative action a child does. It is OK to overlook some stuff.

Work with other adults. Make sure the teacher/child ratio is maintained.

X marks the spot. Be in your spot, prepared and ready when the first child arrives.

Yelling accomplishes nothing. Lower your voice, and the child will lower his.

Be Zealous for children. Stand up for them, and be their voice. When they know you are on their side, they are more likely to do what you ask them to do.

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Conversation Starters: Center of My Belief

Posted on July 18, 2012 by Phil

Colossians 2:8-23

fullness over emptiness; substance over shadows; relationship over rules

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers

• Read a Bible story book together. Talk about the pictures. Point out words and letters. Why are you happy God gave us the Bible?

For School-Age

• What’s your favorite book? Why?

• Why is it important to know how to read?

• What is your favorite Bible story? Why is it important that we read the Bible?

For Students

• Why do you believe what you believe about Jesus?

• How would you respond to someone who thinks believing in Jesus Christ is wishful thinking? Where would you get your facts?

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Teach your child to think like Jesus

Posted on July 11, 2012 by Phil

I looked at David questioningly. “What did we talk about yesterday, son?” I asked. “Did you remember to ask yourself WWJD?”

“It’s OK, Momma,” he said in all innocence. “I’m not wearing my bracelet today.”

Reaching the heart

At that point, I realized I needed a better plan for teaching my children how to think like Jesus! A bracelet might serve as an outward reminder, but it does not have the power to change your heart. Jesus explained that evil thoughts come from the heart (Matthew 15:19). It is not so much about what Jesus would do, but it is about sharing His heart. Reaching my children’s hearts is the only way I will be able to teach them how to think like Jesus. A transformed heart will lead to changed lives that reflect what Jesus would do.

John A. Younts, author of Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally About God With Your Children, agrees. “Christian thought will lead your children away from the desires and works of the flesh and toward the fruit of the Spirit,” he explains. “It will lead to change in actions, attitudes, and words.” But it will not happen without your help. You must guide your child in learning to think like a Christian, relating every aspect of life to Christ and how he can best serve and glorify Him.

Everyday decisions

A child’s life is full of choices, although he may not see it that way. While he does not choose what school he attends or what neighborhood he lives in, he makes decisions concerning his own conduct every minute of the day. “God designed the Bible to address all of the events of your child’s life,” notes Younts. “So familiarize yourself with the passages of Scripture that address the issues your child faces each day in school, at home, at church, and in his life. Then bring these principles and truths into the daily world that your child inhabits.”

A child needs to realize that he makes a choice when it comes to the way he treats others. For example, he determines whether he shares or adopts a me-first attitude. He does not understand that he has a choice to make unless you show him. Telling your child, “You are choosing to be selfish when you refuse to share that toy,” defines his selfish behavior. It puts a name on his action. Explaining then, “God wants us to share with one another and be generous,” shows your child that there is a right behavior that he can choose – a choice that will please God.

Think on these things

Younts encourages parents to follow the direction of Paul in Philippians 4:8: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things.” “Take the time to point out the things that are excellent and then focus your child’s thoughts on those things,” Younts advises. “Of course, parents must set the example.”

You cannot expect your child to learn how to think like Jesus if you are not actively pursuing that mind-set yourself. “Use the seemingly ordinary events of life to encourage Christian thought,” explains Younts.

  • A new baby in the family can lead to a conversation about God as the giver of life.
  • An afternoon spent tracking down a lost pet can facilitate a discussion on how Jesus came to seek and save people who needed Him.
  • A scary thunderstorm or an unsettling news story can be used to lead your child to understand that God is sovereign, working everything together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Relate everything to the active presence of a personal God who is involved in every aspect of life.

“Christian thought is, first of all, redeemed thought,” explains Younts. “The goal for Christian thought is expressed in Psalm 19:14: ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.’ ” When your child is ultimately concerned with whether or not his thoughts are acceptable to God, you will reap the following rewards of Christian parenting.

  • A child who knows that God is watching him even when no one else is looking
  • A child who feels it when his heart is pricked by sin and weighted down by lack of confession
  • A child who senses God’s power and marvels at His overwhelming presence in his life

“One important goal of parenting is to teach your children to think God’s thoughts,” reminds Younts. “Each day provides fresh, new opportunities to challenge your children to embrace God’s thoughts as their own.”

All quotes taken from personal interviews by Rebecca Ingram Powell. by Rebecca Ingram Powell 

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