What are some key elements in dealing with discipline problems?
Lay a good foundation of discipline through your positive relationships with the children. Get to know what makes them tick and what to expect from children of differing ages and stages of growth.
1. Make expectations clear. Before a children's program, camp or retreat, outline what will be the expected behaviour and boundaries.
2. Be positive. When you go over the rules focus on what the kids can do rather than what they can't. Your 'do's' should largely outnumber your 'don'ts'. Be postive also in your tone of voice.Try not to sound "too heavy" when outlining rules.
3. Keep rules to a minimum. Decide what is really important and focus on those issues. If you expect the children to 'respect one another ' then that kind of encouragement covers a lot of different situations like using 'hurtful words' or physical intimidation.
4. Plan your program carefully. Keep a good balance between active and passive activities. Think about the different children that will take part in the program. Are there any children with special needs that should be catered for? Where are the times when the children's concentration and participation could lag? Where could distractions come from and what should be done to counter these?
5. Build mutual respect. Let your children know that you respect them. If possible select other leaders who also are good role models and who are not "power-hungry" or who have unrealistic expectations of children's behaviour. Look for leaders who readily show God's love and are willing to give, as well as learn from the children.
6. Aim high. Expect the best. Let the chidren know that you expect the program or activities to run smoothly and that everyone contributes to this community. Show the children that you have confidence in their ability to behave.
7. Process failure. When something goes wrong, talk to the group about it. Was the activity too hard or instructions unclear? Tell the children how you feel about the situation and listen to their views also. Use failure as a situation where God's grace and forgiveness can be exercised.