Discipline means controlling and leading to obedience and good order. “God is not for disorder, but for peace.” (1 Corinthians14.33). The child who comes to Sunday School must know that he enters the house of God, and that he must have a respectful attitude towards God, towards this place, and towards those who attend it. To help him with this, discipline is essential.
Let’s not be afraid to discipline. If we do so with love and wisdom, as the Lord does for us, children will feel reassured and respected.
Let’s not let the mess set in. It can become a habit. If this is the case for our class, it is possible to restore order with patience, but firmness. Some principles:
The very first piece of advice: don’t leave any time out. Busy and interested children do not normally pose discipline issues.
Leading the group
We must expect the children to obey us. So let’s have no qualms about actually running things.
Threatening and blackmail is not a good method, as it demonstrates our weakness in the eyes of children and does not assert our authority.
You get more by compliments rather than criticism, by rewards than by punishments. Take the right things, to encourage others to do the same. Plan rewards (gum, image, candy…) to distribute at the end of the session to those who have respected the discipline.
The child needs to know what we expect from him. When the “regulation” of the class is not well defined, the instructor is constantly obliged to take back the children; they may even have fun. Consequences: dissipated children and overworked, distracted, angry… You can draw up a list of rules (3 or 4 at most, such as sitting during the lesson, only one speaks at a time …) by involving the children and then displaying them. It is important to stay there because children have a strong sense of justice.
A special interview with a particularly unruly child can help identify the problem. When the child knows that you have understood the reason for his difficulties, his attitude can change radically.
With firmness, wisdom and love
Do not use the Word of God or adult meetings to punish. How, when they grow older, will children be able to love what has been a punishment for them? Instead, use a system of deprivation of reward, participation in an activity that he likes, isolation of the group. Plan in advance what you can use to react, not with the blow, but wisely.