Discipline With Your Style


You may be clueless if you…

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• Find yourself asking, “What boundaries? What rules?”

• Don’t have the foggiest notion why kids need parameters.

• Question why kids don’t come with the rules programmed in.

• Believe that rules are too cool for Sunday school.

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know this

Kids aren’t little adults. They can’t balance checkbooks,
don’t know what FICA is, and are still learning self-control. For
the most part, they don’t see abstract consequences as reality. So
it really is all fun and games until somebody puts an eye

Kids need rules. Plain and simple. Kids actually
thrive most when they know the rules and are expected to follow
them. Boundaries offer a safe environment where kids can focus on
learning. Classroom guidelines are critical to the success of your

Your job isn’t Director of Chaos Management. You
have the huge task of molding and developing kids to follow God.
This is no small task, so don’t take it lightly. It requires that
you have a healthy, functioning class where kids feel emotionally
and physically safe. Fun should still be a key ingredient, but
there’s a line between total chaos and controlled chaos.

do this

Get a grip on reality. Letting kids run wild isn’t doing
them a favor and won’t please their parents — or your leader. If
you don’t see a need for classroom order or can’t imagine requiring
kids to follow rules, take stock of your current classroom
situation. What’s actually happening? How much more might kids
learn in a more controlled environment? Settle down with some
popcorn and watch a few episodes of “Super Nanny.” Take notes on
the before and after. Imagine how your classroom is now and how it
could be. Which environment is more honoring to kids?

Get a mentor. Set up a time to observe a more
seasoned teacher. Notice how the person guides kids’ focus and
transitions from activity to activity. How are rules enforced? What
does a class session look like when guidelines are in place? Kids
respond positively to structure and stability.

Challenge yourself. Create a plan and timetable
to implement structure and guidelines. Include rule-setting, plans
for consequences, and transition ideas between class

Your individual discipline style will show through in your
teaching, and that’s the way it should be. God picked you because
you bring something special to the kids you’re working with. But
keep your balance-somewhere near the middle of the discipline
continuum. Too far in any one direction could spell discipline
disaster. Strengthen your style, and you’ll be a more effective

Adam Day is the children’s pastor at Fairfield Christian
Church in Lancaster, Ohio.

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