What About Negative Behaviors?
Perhaps one of the biggest fears of any new teacher is that the children will misbehave in his Sunday school or Bible club class. There are several things of which you should be aware concerning a child’s unacceptable behavior:
1. Most often, disruptive behavior does not start at church, but is the result of something that happened at home or on the way to church.
2. There is always some reason for a child’s behavior. If you know that reason, you can help meet the child's needs.
3. A child cannot learn if he is hurting or preoccupied with a problem.
Remember the following basics as ways to reduce negative behaviors in your Bible club classroom:
• Prepare fully in advance for each meeting. Spend time in prayer, asking the Lord's blessing on your class. Ask Him to work in the lives of each child to make him receptive to the truths to be taught.
• Be in your classroom and prepared for your meeting fifteen minutes before the first child arrives, with all leaders and helpers present and prepared. In that way, when the very first child arrives, the classroom is ready and under control.
• From the moment the child enters your classroom, be alert for trouble symptoms and try to avert further negative behavior before it even starts. Special attention from the leader or a helper, time with a good friend, or getting involved with a favorite activity is often effective in dispelling misbehavior.
• It is important that transitions from one activity to another are handled smoothly. Make sure you are prepared. Then be sure to state your expectations clearly before beginning a new activity.
• If one child is yelling or talking loudly, the teacher may suggest, “Let’s talk in our indoor voices.”
• Happy teachers make happy students, so as much as possible, try to put your own concerns aside during the time you are in the classroom.
• Never ask a preschooler or toddler if he wants to do something unless you actually intend to give him a choice (he may choose to say no). Instead say, “We’re going to glue the star on the paper now.”
• A young child who is just learning language is apt to answer no to just about any request. This is all part of the child’s attempt to learn what it means to be an individual, and because “no” is one of the few words he knows and understands. Your guidance should be firm, but suited to the child’s ability to understand and respond. Say, “[Jacob], do not hit [Anna] with the block, because you will hurt [Anna].” If Jacob persists, remove the block or gently pick up Jacob and move him away from Anna.
Be consistent. This helps the child feel more secure and helps him develop his own sense of self-control because he can understand what is expected of him.