There’s a fine line between being a KidMin leader and a zookeeper. If you make a few untimely missteps during a lesson, it can start to feel like you’re losing control of the room and slipping into the wild kingdom. Don’t fret, though! We’ve all been there! And fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent your kids’ wild side from breaking out. When the kids in your KidMin begin to roar, ROAR back with this acronym: Recruit help: Hopefully you’ve got some dynamic volunteers in the room who are willing and able to help you. They can be your first line of defense. Recruit them to help ahead of time. Ask them to sit among the kids during the lesson (as opposed to the back of the room). Encourage your leaders to intervene any time they see distracting behavior.
Observe the rule of 5: Fidgety kids can also be an indication that it’s time to move on to something different. If you’re overly verbose and spend too much time on the same thing, you can start to lose the room. How long should you expect a kid to pay attention? The experts say to take the age of a kid and add 5. So, for example, an 8-year-old should be able to pay attention to an interesting lesson for about 13 minutes. (Notice I said "interesting.")
Allow kids to participate: If you’re too much of a “talking head,” kids can start to zone out and get fidgety. Be sure to involve the kids in as much of the lesson as you can. Bonus points if you can get the kids moving physically.
Remove the fire from the gas: Some kids just make for explosive combinations. If there are two (or more) kids seated together that historically have trouble being around one another, don’t be afraid to separate them from the beginning.