Routines are Your Best Friend!
The first few weeks of club, you will want to set aside extra time to teach your small group routines and procedures. Explain and model expected behaviors such as:
o How students should enter Kids Club and where to put their things when they arrive
o How and where everyone should sit during small group
o When and how bathroom breaks will be handled
o How they are expected to transition from one activity to another when instructed
o What does it look like to follow these rules during small group time: Respect God, Respect Leaders, and Respect Others?
Give Attention to Positive Behaviors
You may use tangible rewards such as tickets as well as verbal praise to encourage positive behavior in your small group (click here for an explanation of how to use tickets for behavior incentives). Give out lots of tickets early on to reinforce appropriate behaviors. State why you are giving a ticket. Example: “You put your backpack away and came to sit down quickly.”
Focus on the positive as much as possible, and avoid drawing attention to negative or distracting behaviors. Praise expected behavior publicly and deal with misbehavior privately when there is an opportunity to do so. In rare circumstances, you might take a ticket and explain why you had to do so. Always direct the student back to the positive by reminding them that you will be watching for a good reason to give the ticket back.
Be Consistent in All Things
Kids are very concerned about fairness, and they will watch carefully to see if adults follow through with what they have said. Clarify from the beginning what your expectations are, and how you will deal with students who break the expectations. An example could be:
First Offense: Verbal Warning
Second Offense: Loss of Ticket
Third Offense: Call Parent
Fourth Offense: Meet with Team Leader or One Week Suspension from Club
Whatever policy you and your team put in place, be consistent in following through. Establishing boundaries and enforcing them will make your small group a safe and fun place for you and your kids. Your students will love and respect you for your consistency.