6 Strategies to Help Children Pay Attention in Sunday School
If you ask any Sunday school teacher, they'll probably tell you that keeping the kids' attention is one of the most challenging aspects of delivering their weekly service. Kids are naturally full of energy and enthusiasm, but it's often redirected to other unproductive activities if they begin to lose interest in Sunday school. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to keep your kids attention throughout the lesson and hopefully make an impact on them that they can carry on through their walks in faith with Jesus. Here are a few of the top tips for keeping control of your classroom.
Link Lessons to Life
The Bible is full of wisdom and tales that carry applications to real life. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for children to see the connection between the important stories and lessons of the Bible to their own lives. Helping kids make this connection is part of your job as a Sunday school teacher. Is one of your students struggling with overcoming a difficult problem? Help him or her connect that challenge to the story of David and Goliath. Is one of your kids experiencing anger issues? Convey the message of Matthew 5:5 concerning the meek inheriting the Earth.
The Gospel Project recommends using the internet to find resources that help children link Bible lessons to real life in ways that are fun and easy to understand, even for small children.
Reward the Right Behaviors
Children are more perceptive than people often give them credit for. If they notice that you, as the teacher and authority figure in the classroom, do not discipline students who are behaving poorly, then they are likely to copy those behaviors to see what they can get away with. Testing limits is a natural part of any child's life, and Sunday school is no different.
Likewise, rewarding positive behaviors is important to your class as well. When students see that you praise and reward active participation and good behavior, like listening attentively and respecting classmates, they are more likely to engage in those behaviors. According to Family Education, in child psychology, this is called positive reinforcement. It is a proven strategy to get the behaviors you want out of your Sunday school children and avoid the negative ones.
Keep the Classroom Clean and Clutter-Free
Research has shown again and again that learning and thinking occur best in environments that are free of clutter. This is because the mind has a natural tendency to crave order, so a room in disorder is distracting to both children and adults. According to Hang Safe Hooks, creating a safe and distraction-free learning environment can help children focus. Take a few moments before class to tidy up and get organized so you can be in the best position to deliver the most powerful Sunday school lesson ever.
Switch Up the Activities Consistently
One of the best ways to keep your students' attention in Sunday school is to always introduce new activities that they are unfamiliar with. These will grab their attention and keep them looking forward to the next lesson because they are unsure of what fun things to expect. Keeping them guessing makes them curious. Fortunately for you as a teacher, the internet is full of great ideas for your Sunday school lessons. Even more conveniently, they are broken down by theme, so planning your next lesson with brand-new activities is really easy to do.
Kids of today are used to technology as an everyday part of their lives, and there's no reason why it can't be used to spread the Word of Jesus to them as well. This doesn't mean that every lesson has to include a video or interactive online games, but you could consider using them from time to time to keep your students engaged in the learning process.
Connect With Students Around the World
Isn't it amazing that every Sunday, all around the world, students come together in classrooms to learn about God? Wouldn't your students love to meet some of these other kids in foreign countries who are learning the Word of God at the same time as them? ChristiaNet recommends connecting them to other kids through online pen pal programs can be a great way to help them build meaningful faith-based relationships and to become more active members in your Sunday school classes.
Keeping a child’s attention during Sunday School can seem like an impossible task sometimes. Children are naturally rambunctious sometimes and can have really short attention spans, depending on their age. Fortunately, there are things like these that you can do to alleviate difficult situations when they occur. Pray on some of the tips, and if they seem right to you and a good fit for your class, consider adding them to your Sunday school curriculum.
Here’s another article you might like: How to Preach the Word in the Information Age