Training volunteers to work with children is a big part of our role in Kids Ministry. It’s important to recognize that not everyone comes equipped to manage a whole room full of preschoolers and children. In fact, often times, folks tell us “no” because they feel intimidated by working with kids in general. As leaders, we must give our volunteers practical tools for managing their groups. There are many tips for engaging kids and keeping their attention, but my personal favorite is singing—yes, singing! Now, hear me when I say—kids do not care if you are a good singer or not, so talent does not matter! Here are three reasons why singing makes for great classroom management.
- Singing helps cue kids to listen: You may talk for 90% of your teaching time, but when you start singing—it signals kids to listen for what’s next. For example, as kids arrive, they may be working on an activity page or coloring sheet until you’re ready to officially “start” your time together once most friends have arrived. When that time comes, you begin with a simple song. Once kids hear you do that consistently, they will always know that when you sing—you’ve got something important to say. This also works for clean up time, dismissal, and changing centers or stations.
- Singing helps teach truths in a memorable way: If you want kids to remember an important truth or take away from the Bible story and lesson, make it into a little song. Yes, you can be a songwriter—creating a simple phrase with a simple melody. Sing it—and have your kiddos sing it back to you. They will leave with that song (and truth) in their hearts.
- Singing helps YOU stay joyful: Sometimes working with kids can be tiring—or even frustrating and you can risk losing your joy. But, if you keep singing as part of your classroom management—your heart will stay joyful and your kiddos will too. You can’t help but smile a little when you sing, even if it’s when you need to help friends get along, listen to a story, or clean up a mess of blocks. Singing makes everything better!
Encourage your volunteers to add singing to their toolbox for classroom management. Joyful hearts and voices will soon fill the hallways and rooms in your church!
Sing a new song to the Lord; let the whole earth sing to the Lord. Psalm 96:1
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Lifeway Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.