Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Helping Young Children Feel Welcome at Church

Young children often cry when brought to church and left in the classroom because irregular attendance makes each week a new and strange experience. Others simply want to express their displeasure at being separated from their parents. To help alleviate the child's anxiety, be sure an adult devotes some personalized attention to each child as he arrives.

Stoop down to the child's level and welcome him by name. Help him say goodbye to mommy or daddy. Do not let his parent slip out unnoticed. Rather, say, "Mommy will be back later to pick you up. Say goodbye to Mommy. See you later, Mommy." Then help the child wave goodbye. Next, guide the child to place a sticker on an attendance chart.  Then gently lead the child into the selected learning center or to a free play area. Many children can become diverted by toys or a good book once their parents have left the room.


Jackman said...

Thanks for the good brief article. I have passed it around on FB and Twitter!

I think that there could be an added point of when the child leaves the nursery, group, classroom, or wherever they are with the volunteer. It is important to acknowledge the parent has come back to pick up the child (I'm thinking nursery/toddler age children who have a difficult time going to the nursery). If a leader says something like "Your Mom/Dad has come back to get you to go home now. See you next week!" and give the child a high five or something. I think having both interactions will make the child feel more comfortable and welcomed at church. It really is being intentional not to miss any children coming or going.

Carol said...

Excellent point. Thanks for the added advice and for sending it around to others. You are so right that being intentional with young children and verbally communicating our intent goes a long way in helping get them acclimated to new situations.

Playmobil Wedding said...

This is a very nice post. Parents must read your post. It is important that kids already know our God.

Sue Tornai said...

Thank you for the helpful hints. Great reminders as Fall Sunday school will start-up soon. I appreciate your encouragement.