Classroom behavior management can be one of the most difficult aspects of being a volunteer Sunday school worker. We want to provide a loving outreach to all children. We also want to make all families feel welcome and accepted. When behavior problems arise we don’t have the option of sending the child to the principle’s office. Listed below are several suggestions that have proven to be effective in our Sunday school classrooms.
Instill Hope – Build Strong Bonds
Welcome each child warmly into the classroom and make a genuine effort to connect with some aspect of each student’s life throughout the school year. Make each student feel special and unique. Form a bond with each individual – ensure students know you are really listening, and that you care about what every one of them says. By developing this relationship early on with the children, you will make them comfortable in the classroom. Their comfort with the classroom and with you will allow them to feel hopeful about the lessons to come. This will also promote their heavenly hope. Let them know God has high hopes and big plans for every one of them if they choose to follow Him.
On the whiteboard/chalkboard draw a picture of a happy face, then draw a frowning face seven inches directly under the happy face. Draw a vertical line between the two. Draw a horizontal line in the middle of the vertical bar. At the beginning of class draw an arrow just under the smiley face. If the class misbehaves, move the arrow so it is lower on the vertical bar. If behavior improves, move the arrow up the vertical line towards the happy face. At the end of class if the arrow is on the happy face side, all children get a piece of candy or sticker or other small prize.
Jesus Secret Jewel Book
Every time you see a child display positive behavior, secretly place a jewel sticker in his or her notebook and a notation on why the child received the sticker. After a month reveal the notebooks and tell the story and/or verse that is related to the good behavior. Remind the class that Jesus will reward those who do something as simple as giving a cup of water to someone who is thirsty.
Grab Bag Tickets
If you prefer not to give out candy as a reward, here is an alternative. Buy a roll of carnival tickets. At the end of each class give every well-behaved child a ticket. Once they’ve collected several tickets they are allowed to trade them in for a small prize. (Pencil, Bible Cards, Stickers, etc.)
On the board, draw a picture of a thermometer, similar to the picture at the right. Make sure you have several levels to reach so you won’t run out before the end of the class. Using a colored marker or piece of chalk, shade in the bottom ball of the thermometer, and if the children get too noisy, add red up to the next mark. Let the kids know that if the red reaches the top of the noise thermometer, there will be no treats. Avoid getting to the top of the thermometer, because if you do, there will no longer be any reason for the kids to remain quiet.
Eight Beads On A String
You will need eight beads of any kind and a string. Explain to the kids that each Sunday that the whole class behaves, you will add a bead to the string. If there’s a Sunday when the class hasn’t behaved you will remove a bead. When there are eight beads on the string the class will be rewarded. The reward could be extra game time, a small token, or anything else rewarding for the children.