Let me start this post by saying any child can have a bad day – just as any adult can. If a child stayed up too late Saturday night, or wasn’t able to sleep well, or is not feeling well, or didn’t get the cereal they wanted for breakfast, or couldn’t find his/her shoes and had his/her parents unhappy with them, or for any reason they just are not their normal self it can show in the way they behave . . . or misbehave in class. When I talk about a child who won’t settle down in class, I’m not really talking about the child who typically behaves.
The one I’m talking about is the one who consistently, week after week, won’t settle down. The child who won’t sit still or stop talking. The child who doesn’t follow directions and who seems to almost enjoy getting other children to follow his/her lead. So, what do we do; how do we help a child who won’t settle down? Consider the following . . .
- Find someone who will be a prayer warrior for this child.
- Be sure the child knows you love him/her and want him/her in your class.
- It is very important for all children to have the same teacher each week, but particularly for children who have trouble settling down. If you have teachers who only serve one or two weeks a month, it is much more difficult for the children to connect with the teacher and this can contribute to a child acting out.
- Make sure you have activities which involve children in moving – if you give them opportunities to move and talk, they are more likely to listen when you need them to listen. Be sure however; you do not have activities just to let kids move. Plan activities which help teach and allow children to move at the same time.
- Along this line, be sure you have a class which is interesting and engaging. Do not expect children to sit in their chairs and listen for the entire class time. If a child is bored they are much more likely to decide to find something more interesting to do. Make your classes interesting and fun!
- If you have a child who just can not settle down, find a helper who can sit by this child and help them stay focused.
- Do NOT threaten them, do NOT try to get them to settle down by embarrassing them in front of the other children.
- Be sure to praise them when they do listen, when they do help – even find something you can put them in charge of doing each week – leading in prayer, collecting prayer requests, handing out papers, etc.
These are just a few ideas of ways you can help a child who won’t settle down in class. What have you done to help these children in your ministry?