Incorporate play and recreation. Children often learn through play, so it makes sense to incorporate games and recreation into your children’s ministry programs to create a greater impact on learning within each child.
Provide nutritional snacks. Some children simply don’t have enough to eat at home, and others don’t receive the nutrients they need for healthy growth. If your ministry can supplement some of that nutrition, children will be more engaged and ready to learn about God.
Encourage cooperation. One important lesson that scripture teaches is to be cooperative and live in community with one another. Reinforcing this lesson early in a child’s life can have a multitude of positive benefits, boosting their self-esteem and confidence.
Preach love. Our greatest commandment is to love God and neighbor. The sooner we instill that into our children, the better off they will become.
Create a safe space. Children are vulnerable and their safety is paramount, especially in a ministry context. Ensuring that all volunteers, instructors, and leaders have appropriate clearances is a great step to making sure children are protected.
Provide enrichment learning activities. Schools are overwhelmed with subjects they are required to teach. You can use your ministry to teach skills and subjects that children might not otherwise be exposed to.
Explore each child’s interests. Every child is different, and nurturing their differences, as opposed to trying to make them all similar will do wonders for their self-esteem and confidence.
Become an active listener. Pay attention to each child’s words as well as their body language. They may claim to be engaged and interested in what is happening, but their actions may say something else entirely.
Explain the concept of forgiveness. Children, like adults, are going to experience wrongdoing and hardship. Teaching them to forgive as Christ did will help them to navigate their feelings.
Communicate with parents. Family life is important, and it is helpful to gain an understanding of the family situation each child has so that they can be better understood.
Develop your own curriculum. Getting into the habit of creating your own curriculum allows you to meet the needs and interests of the children you are serving.
Foster an environment of invitation. Encouraging children to invite their friends and neighbors is a wonderful way to increase their confidence and make them feel more comfortable participating in ministry.
Promote peace and quiet. Taking some time for silent prayer and meditation will not only calm the children, but it will also draw them closer to the God we all serve.
Offer unconditional love and acceptance. Jesus calls us to love everyone. No exceptions. Likewise, if we show every child that we encounter unconditional love and acceptance, we model Christ’s behavior for them.
Pray for each child and their family. Promoting prayer is one thing; practicing it yourself is another. Children face daily challenges learning and developing in this world. Praying for them and their families will help them and help you as a leader to show them compassion during difficult times.
Offer both individual and group activities. Sure, games and other group activities are fun, but some children enjoy activities that allow them some solitude, such as reading or drawing. Having a healthy balance of both will help to bring shy children out of their shell while also allowing more energetic children the chance to relax.