by Ashley Alden
I’m on the children’s church teaching team at my church. I teach the younger group, which range from 3-6 years old. They are hilarious, sweet, and sometimes just plain squirrely! If something hits them funny it can be so easy for them to get distracted and before I know it they aren’t paying attention anymore!
Maybe that’s happened to you too. Keeping the kids’ attention to maintain order in the classroom is essential, especially because you are sharing with them the most important message of all—the message of the Gospel! Here are some tips seasoned teachers have used to give kids a “reset” and regain their attention.
Tips for Resetting Kids’ Attention
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that we’re huge fans of GAMES! Kids and games are like peanut butter and jelly—they just go together. Kids love playing games so a good way to keep their attention throughout class (or regain it when it’s lost) is to make listening to the teacher fun and exciting.
One game that I personally use a LOT is called “Do This, Do That.” It’s a little like Simon Says, but with a twist. I tell the kids, “If I say, ‘Do this,’ (and then I do an action like putting my hands on my head) then you do it. But if I say ‘Do that,’ (I’ll put my hands on my hips), then you DON’T do it.” If a child does the action when I say “Do that,” then they need to sit down and they are “out.” The last child (or several children) standing are the winners! I usually play a “practice” round so they get the hang of it. I have two rules that I give the children—the first rule is that if they reach for the next action and it is “Do that,” then they are still out. The second rule is that they have to keep up with me! As the game goes along, I go faster and faster. Kids LOVE this game! I use it often, especially when they’ve been sitting for a long time and I sense they need to move. Or, if they’re having trouble paying attention and they’re on the verge of distraction I will play “Do This, Do That.” It gets their wiggles out and gives them a “reset” for the next part of class.
Keeping the kids’ attention to maintain order in the classroom is essential, especially because you are sharing with them the most important
message of all—the message of the Gospel!
“If You Can Hear My Voice…”
If you watched the “Regaining Attention” video, you learned another effective way to achieve a “reset” is to play “If you can hear my voice…” Softly say, “If you can hear my voice…” and then add an action such as clap twice or whatever you choose! Continue with different actions until you’ve regained attention. It’s a really effective way to bring kids back to listening.
Another attention-grabber you can prepare before class is a “code word” for the day, which was also talked about in the video. At times of transition or when the class is restless, call out “code word”! They can jump up and say it, and you may even want to add motions for extra movement. This “reset” is very effective!