I have always been fascinated with the fact that laughter is contagious. No matter how hard I may try not to, if I see someone else laughing I find myself drawn into grinning, too. There is something so engaging about laughter. It only makes sense that one of the most powerful elements that can connect parents and leaders with their kids is fun. In Playing For Keeps, it’s written like this, “One of the most effective ways to stay connected to your kids is to have fun with them. Fun over time makes a friendship go deeper.” So how do we leverage fun as a leader of little ones?
It’s said that the best way to connect with a child is to get down on their level. Just loosen up and do what the kids do. The book suggests three ways to loosen up:
–Move– As preschoolers, moving is their default mode. But often as adults, we just sit. Move with your few, dance, jump or skip, whatever you choose, but move!
–Laugh– If you laugh with your preschoolers, they will get the feeling that you like being with them! Have a joke of the day or ask them to share the funniest thing they saw that week. Laugh together!
–Play– Just play. Playing isn’t a distraction from what you are wanting to communicate to your preschoolers, playing is the catalyst that opens the path to your kid’s hearts to be more receptive to hear and process what you are teaching them. So often, we put fun at the bottom of the daily schedule. We will play if there is time left over. But playing is too important for that. Schedule playing into your class time, just like you schedule the snacks and music. Don’t miss it!
Learn what they like
What’s fun for you may not be fun for your few. So figure out what it is that they like. Listen to what they talk about, what they laugh about and watch how they respond to the activities that you do. The point is for them to have fun, so even if it’s not your idea of fun, go with it!
Lose the agenda
While we want our times with our few to be purposeful and productive, sometimes you just have to make sure, if nothing else happens, you have fun. As a ministry leader, you are presenting the kids that you lead with a view of the life with Christ. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to give us an abundant life. I can’t imagine a dull, boring, sit-down-and-be-still church service to be an accurate reflection of the life that God has planned for our few. Give them a front row seat to the joy in your life; if you have the joy of the Lord in our heart, open up and let it show.
I love the line from the book where it says, “ Nehemiah said, ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’ If that is true, how strong is your church?”
How strong is your small group? On a scale of 1-10, what’s your “Fun Factor?”