How much thought do you give to what you wear when working with kids? Dressing for success doesn’t always mean dressing to impress. It means wearing the right thing at the right time so that you can give appropriate attention to the task at hand without worrying about your wardrobe.
You would never know it – based on the fact that I am a man with a limited wardrobe and an incredibly ordinary sense of style – but I tend to put a fair amount of thought into deciding what to wear each day. Why? In my mind, what I wear depends on who I will be with and what I will be doing. On Mondays and Fridays I meet my son at soccer practice right after work. On those days my garb needs to transition well from the office to the outdoors. I am also learning (present tense) to dress more appropriately for the tasks I have to handle on Saturdays. I confess, I have ruined most of my nicer casual clothes by wearing them while I paint a wall or groom the grass.
Similarly, what you wear when you work in children’s ministry can make a big difference in your level of connectivity with kids. It’s important to anticipate activities so you are ready to fully engage with your kids when they clamor into class. While there is no set-in-stone standard for kids ministry clothing, there are a few principles to take into consideration as you decide what to pull off the hanger. Wear clothes that are appropriate for working and playing with your kids. It may be best to not come to kid’s church dressed to the nines for “big church.”
Here are 3 quick tips for what to wear when serving in kids ministry:
1. If you are working with babies and toddlers, be prepared for slimy hands, drippy noses and the occasional splash of spit-up.
2. If you are working with younger kids who will be painting, playing outside, or slurping down bug juice and goldfish crackers, make sure you aren’t overly worried about splatters, splashes and spills. Dress so you can sit on the floor with them for your Bible teaching time and get a little dirty if you need to. Ladies, if it is acceptable in your church, consider opting for pants rather than your best dress.
3. If you are working with older children, dress in a way that is conducive to creating the best possible relational connection with your kids. This may mean dressing down a bit to help kids feel comfortable interacting with you. For guys, this might mean losing your ties and rolling up your shirt sleeves or opting for a T-shirt and jeans.
The point is to make sure that your emphasis is on ministry to your children. The goal is to remove any barriers that you can in order to minister the love of Jesus to them effectively. Dress and behave in a way that shows your kids that you are there for THEM, and that THEIR time is YOUR priority.