Our midweek program last night was one of those “perfect storm” events.
- Three of the 12 small group leaders called in. One was leading a large group portion also so I had to fill in.
- Someone called me wanting to argue a doctrinal issue right before service. It had me pretty upset.
- Our building is in the middle of a renovation: our game room was unavailable, two of our three projector screens have come down, and the walls are patched in preparation to be painted.
- Our electronic check in did not work. This frustrates me because we have top of the line equipment. While we put on smile some of our feedback form this wasn’t good from parents.
Kids usually report to the game room before service and I don’t think I fully understood how useful it is before last night. I must have asked kids 100 times to stop running in our auditorium. Many kids asked why the walls were all messed up. I could sense that kids were in a special mood that night. We struggled with behavior the whole night. It made me sit down and think why did this happen? I pride myself in having a well behaved classroom.
Here’s some of the things we’ve learned over the years as it comes to discipline.
- Tell the kids what you expect.They don’t know how to act unless you tell them. We’ve gotten away from telling them rules and boundaries. I think midweek programs need all the more structure in this area, more so than weekends.
- Environment matters.
We threw a wrench in the kids thinking by not having the game room open and walls all patched up. The environment you have kids in effects them.
- Routine brings safety.
By not having our name tags in place the kids routine started off all wrong. It caused immediate effect on their behavior.
- Incentives encourage the right behavior.
We have a boys versus girls point system. The winning team gets a pizza party at the end of the spring. I don’t think we’ve pushed it enough. Whatever you decide to use, push it and make sure every kids is on board. I used to use a three balloon system. If the classroom got out of hand I would pop a balloon. If any balloons were left at the end of the class every would get a prize. It usually never wound up with all three balloons popped.
- If your program isn’t engaging, kids will misbehave.
This is the first thing I always looks at even though I’ve listed is last. We did a good job with this last night but we can always be better at engaging and channeling the energy. I modified my portion to take some of that energy and direct it towards the lesson.
How about you, what tips do you have for discipline?