It’s All About Respect! Creating Reasonable Expectations for Sunday School Behavior
In the first post I talked about classroom discipline. This is a topic that many teachers dread and I encouraged teachers to see discipline in a new light. It’s about making disciples!
In this post, it’s all about respect! With the understanding that the goal of discipline is discipleship, the next step is to create reasonable expectations for children’s behavior in Sunday School.
It is important to be realistic about your expectations. Each child that arrives Sunday morning has come from a different situation and circumstances. Remember to consider each child and their limits and try to ensure that their needs are met as much as possible.
With that in mind, it is okay to have high standards for behavior. Build specific classroom rules based on the following 4 goals for your children.
1. Respect for God’s Word
Expect children to show respect to God’s Word as the final authority. This includes respecting God and treating Him as worthy of the highest praise. Using God’s name without respect will not be tolerated.
2. Respect for Adults
Expect children to honor their teachers and all adults with respectful speech and behavior. Sassing or defying instruction are examples of disrespectful behavior.
3. Respect for Others
Jesus told us to treat others the way we would like to be treated (Mt. 7:12). Children should be encouraged to treat each other with kindness and humility. Children should be encouraged to think before they speak and to find encouraging words to speak to each other. Mean, crude, or hurtful speech or actions are therefore not acceptable.
4. Respect for Themselves
Encourage children not to act in ways that will put their bodies or their faith at risk.
Children will not follow these expectations all the time. That is because they are children and they are growing. They are learning the behaviors expected of them. It is part of our job as teachers to remind them of these expectations, give them specific examples of what this expected behavior looks like and to discipline them when they disobey.
Here is an example of a behavioral guidelines & principles brochure I created for a church where I was serving as Director of Children’s Ministry. It clearly outlines our expectations for children’s behavior.
In the next post I will talk about consequences. Having clear expectations is important. Having clear consequences for disobeying is also important.