While behavior modification is NOT the goal of children’s ministry, behavior management is still a very real challenge we face as kidmin leaders. So to help you wrangle in the madness and create an environment your kids and volunteers will love, use these 5 tips for behavior management at church.

  1. Set expectations. You can’t expect particular behavior if you don’t communicate those expectations to the kids. Make sure the kids know what you expect of them each time they walk through your doors! Want to see the expectations I set for my ministry? Check out a full overview of SLLRP (pronounced “slurp”) here!
  2. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. If kids are going to know what you expect, you have to remind them. That means mentioning your expectations every week. Whether it’s up front and explicit (remember our expectations, kids!) or subliminally (Lord, help us listen to our friends and learn more about you today), remind kids often about your expectations.
  3. Be consistent. This means your volunteer team has to be on board too. We had different volunteers every week, and that can make things difficult, but do your best to train your volunteers on your expectations and procedures so everyone is on the same page and enforces the same expectations.
  4. Add a goal or make it a game. Use fun and reward systems to reinforce your expectations and make kids WANT to meet them! Anything from candy to group reward parties can work in your favor to encourage good behavior. Remember, gamification is vital for engaging with this generation of digital natives! 
  5. Remind kids you’re on their team. Kids’ behavior will only get worse if they don’t feel like you know them or care about them. Be sure to listen to what they have to say and remind them that you love them no matter what their behavior or actions.

Want to see my behavior management system? Here are the “expectations” I created for my ministry that remind kids to “sllrp it up!” (stay safe, listen, learn, respect, participate).

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