Monday, January 13, 2014

#KidsMin from A to Z: Expectations

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope that your weekends (and especially Sundays) were full of fun, laughter, and life change for some little one's.  I had a great Sunday with my little one's.  Then again, I knew it was going to be a great Sunday when I walked in the door and I had a little one running for a Miss Mary hug.  The #KidsMin life is sweet for sure.  I had a fabulous morning with my 3rd-5th graders.  I walked in the door at 9:20 (10 minutes before class starts) and I had 4 kids sitting at the table, Bibles open, waiting for me and asking me to do sword drills.  It was the most bizarre but heart warming Sunday.  And as an added Bonus I got the rare pleasure of attending church during the second service with my fiance'!  It was a truly great morning. 

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's Sunday Social.  If you've always wondered why I started blogging, who my favorite bloggers are, and what my favorite blog posts are you should totally visit here and check it out!  It was really fun to take a break from my #KidsMin from A to Z series but I'm back today.  We are 15% of the way through and still have a lot of great letters left!  I mean, come on... this week we are going to spend a day talking about Ice Cream.  I scream!  You scream!  We all scream for Ice Cream!  (And then we send little one's home with their parents... best part of the job!) 

B is for Butcher Paper and Bibles 
C is for Curriculum and Communication
D is for Do It Yourself

When I first began working in full time kids ministry (almost 2 years ago now... wow is that hard to believe) I had such high hopes and ideals for my little one's.  I had visions of kids sitting attentively in their chairs hanging on to my every word as I poured my soul out in my teaching.  I believed that we would play fun games and when I said stop everyone would halt in their tracks.  Whoa!  Was I mistaken or what?  We all know that kids ministry isn't that easy.  If it was, we would probably have less burnt out and frustrated Children's Pastors and a lot more happy little ones.  Here is what I realized after about 3 months in full time kids ministry.  It's all about the expectations.  

If I became frustrated and just expected my little ones to run wild and take over my kids ministry then guess what... they would do just that!  I learned that I had to make my expectations for my little one's simple and clear.  When Miss Mary is speaking they are expected to have good listening bodies.  Their hands are expected to be in their laps, they are expected to be sitting in a chair, their eyes are expected to be on me, and their mouths are expected to be closed.  When Miss Mary says walk instead of run they are expected to walk.  

The key to kids and expectations and order is to communicate your expectations clearly and simply.  

Here is a great example.  Yesterday morning I was teaching 3rd-5th grade Sunday School and we had a really fun game to play that involved playing tag around our classroom.  We have a fairly large classroom so I wasn't too concerned, but before we started I clearly communicated my expectations to my class.  I told them that we were going to have a great time playing tag, but they were not to yell (as classes meet right beside us) and that they were not to get too aggressive as we were playing inside and not out.  I also clearly communicated that I expected these rules to be followed or we would stop the game and not play anymore.  We had a great time playing tag, no one got hurt, and hopefully the classes meeting around us weren't disturbed too much.  In fact, I only had to give one reminder not to yell for the whole 5 minutes of the game.  

It really is all about expectations!  

You can take this same concept and even apply it to your volunteers and parents.  It's about making sure that your expectations are communicated clearly and they will more than likely be followed.  Sure there are always those issues where a kid tries to push your buttons, but I have found in my experience that that is the exception and not the majority. 

What are some ways that you communicate your expectations and make sure that they get followed? 

Oh, and P.S.  Tomorrow it's all about 2 #KidsMin favorites: Flexibility & Follow Up!  

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