Effective Discipline in Kid's Small Groups

Want to improve your discipline process for your kid's Small Groups? It's important to have a plan in place instead of randomly reacting when an issue pops up.
  • Equip your Small Group Leaders in knowing how to engage the kids in their group.  A majority of discipline issues arise because leaders haven't been trained in how to actively engage kids in learning or have not been given the tools and resources they need to do so. 
    • This means involving kids in group conversation instead of a one-sided download of information. 
    • Incorporate active, participatory learning. 
  • Train your Small Group Leaders to establish rules at the beginning of the group time.
    • Listen when someone else is talking.
    • Keep your hands to yourself.
    • Get involved in discussions, activities, etc.
  • If a discipline issue arises, then have the Small Group Leader give the child a verbal encouragement to engage and participate in an acceptable manner.
  • If the child violates the first verbal warning, then have the Small Group Leader raise his/her hand. A staff member or room leader should remove the child from the group and talk to him/her.
    • Affirm your love/care for the child. 
    • Share with the child what type of behavior is acceptable and not acceptable during group time. 
    • Inform the child that they can return to the group but must abide by the established behavioral guidelines. 
    • Let the child know that a third violation will result in removal from the group for the rest of the group time.
    • Affirm your love/care for the child once again and emphasize that you believe in him/her and know he/she will do well for the rest of the group time.
    • Return the child to the group.
  • If a behavioral issue arises for the third time, then have the Small Group Leader raise his/her hand again. A staff member or room leader should once again remove the child from the group.  
    • Affirm your love/care for the child.
    • Have the child sit away from the group under the supervision of another leader for the remainder of the group time. 
  • When the child's parents come to pick-up the child, talk with them privately about the behavioral issue.  
    • Affirm your love/care for the child.
    • Share with them the specifics of the behavioral issues that day.
    • Let the parents know you are there to partner with them. Ask for some tips on how you can more effectively connect with and minister to their child.
    • When parents senses that you truly care about their child, they will engage with you in the discipline process.
    • Follow up with a note or phone call that week to the child and parents. Let them know how thankful you are to have them as part of your church family. 
    • If the issue continues to occur, then work closely with the parents to overcome it. Communication is vital in this process.
When you follow this plan, it takes the disciplining pressure off your Small Group Leaders and allows them to effectively lead their group. Groups can continue to flow with any necessary discipline taking place outside of the group. 

Posted by Dale Hudson