My daily routine is … well … pretty routine. Each day, I wake up, shower, get dressed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep, and start all that over again the next day. One day I recall looking for my keys which were nowhere to be seen. Where could my keys have gone? They were not where they were supposed to be so I couldn’t find them. Once I did recover the lost keys I realized that my keys were misplaced by a simple breakdown of my routine. I always put my keys on the hook when I get home so I don’t have to search for them when I need them. When that routine breaks down, silliness ensues. So, how do we apply this simple concept to our classrooms?
It’s been said that having a routine has many benefits which include structure, efficiency, good habits, and makes tasks more doable. Let’s look at each of these and see how they apply in kids ministry.
Structure: One of the things I heard many times when directing a summer program was, “My kids need structure.” This is so very true. One thing that routine in your classroom provides for kids is structure. When you and your fellow leaders provide an easy routine, this ensures that kids have a good idea what is coming and will help them get mentally ready for the learning to come.
Efficiency: When you have a routine that kids are comfortable with, your teaching time will become much more efficient. You might even think you have a few extra hours (OK, minutes) that you didn’t expect.
Good Habits: Good habits are easy to come by when a classroom is ruled by routine. When kids know what to expect they are more inclined to respond in such a way that both kids and leaders have a positive experience.
Doable Tasks: Part of your routine should certainly include activities that are appropriate for a child’s age and learning style. When we provide activities that are too challenging for a child, we might have a breakdown in our routine.
What does a routine look like? Well, that really depends on what your classroom looks like. Routine in our classroom looks like this but you can figure out what works best for the kids you lead. We open our teaching experience by providing activities that kids can do the moment they walk into the room. We move from there to a table where we do our focused Bible study time. After a bit, we do an active activity that gets kids up from their chairs and moving. We finish with another time of study with our interactive pages and always close in prayer. When kids walk into our classroom they know each week what to expect, so moving from one activity to another has become second nature to them. After just a month of teaching with this group of kids, they move immediately from one activity to another with very little need to hear from leaders over and over what they need to do.
Tim Pollard teaches 3rd-6th graders Explore the Bible: Kids Worship on Sunday nights at Tulip Grove Baptist Church. He’s passionate about helping kids dig deep into Scripture, which he pursues through his daily work as leader of the Explore the Bible: Kids team. Tim lives with his wife and daughters in Mount Juliet, TN.