So often as adults, we find ourselves looking down at children and interacting from a five-foot height difference. Mostly, adults are looking at the tops of heads as they survey the scene in front of them. There are many disadvantages to this type of interaction, one being the missed chance to see what the child sees from his or her perspective. Getting down to the child’s level gains respect and encourages equality—a meeting of the minds if you will. When did we begin to think that looking down at children facilitates interaction? Get down! No, I’m not referring to any dance moves here. Literally get down to the child’s level. My goal as a SGL lies in developing bonds and establishing trust.
Getting down to a child’s level might feel awkward at first, but put yourself in their shoes. Try sitting down on the floor sometime while another adult hovers over you and holds a conversation with you. There’s a disconnect that happens because you aren’t at eye level with one another. Simply being on the same level fosters understanding.
Voice intonation is another Pre-K SGL must. Think along the lines of watching a Blue’s Clues show. When asking a simple question, voice intonation helps dial in kids and they know when to prompt their little brains to think about what you are asking. It also spurs more than just a yes or no answer. You’d be surprised at how much Pre-K kids like to talk when you pose a question the right way. This is true also for helping a child remember the bottom line for the week. Pre-K kids love, love, love repetition and consistency. You can never have too much of it! Another thing I remind myself to do as SGL is to “talk their turf.” This doesn’t mean you have to watch regular Disney Jr. shows. Just means, ask them about some of their favorite things to do, their favorite toys, etc. and bring those things up occasionally. All of these things are sure ways to keep you winning with the few in your group and will make them feel connected with you as a SGL.
What are some other ways that you “Get Down” with the kids in your Small Group?