There is no doubt that we have all experienced the chaos of herding preschoolers during small group time (although it really can feel like herding cats). Stop throwing! Let’s sit down for rug time! Spit out that play-dough!
As small group leaders, in the midst of the chaos that can ensue, it’s our job to maintain some order so that we can create a safe place where ALL of our kids can learn and love Jesus! Having some techniques in your tool belt for managing that tension can be helpful during your time with your few.
Watch your levels.
If we let our emotions get out of control, we can be sure our preschoolers will do the same. Kids tend to match their level of loud with your level of loud. Meeting them in their hysteria will only result in more hysteria. When you feel the levels rising in your room, try to remember to speak in a calm voice. You would be amazed at what a whisper can do in a room! Your preschoolers will be straining their tiny ears to hear you.
Find your helpers.
So many times, I have found there are always a few in my group that have a consistently hard time following directions which adds to the chaos. Those few can become your best helpers! You can have them hand out supplies, help clean the room or assist in leading your group to the large group area. If their hands and feet are busy, you may find they redirect all that energy into something positive.
Divide and conquer.
If you find your preschoolers ganging up to start a riot in your room, this might be a good time to divide and conquer with your co-leader. A great technique to lessen the chaos of your room is to split the activities between yourself and your co-leader and to separate the kids into teams. You get bonus points for being strategic in dividing the children who tend to feed off of each other! When the kids finish their activities, switch teams with your co-leader. I’ve found that organizing your time with your few in this way can help you to have a better connection with fewer kid at a time. Many times, our overactive kids are really just wanting some attention.
Even in the midst of chaos, God still wants to speak to your few, and He wants to use you to do it! The most important work that you do isn’t keeping the peace and maintaining order although it can sometimes feel that way. You’re working towards creating a space safe enough and conducive enough for your few to experience God’s love. And that is very important work.
What are some techniques you use in calming the chaos in your small group?
By Kelly Stockdale
Family Director | Grace Hill