Promotion Sunday is a fun day in Children’s Ministry.  On this day, kids get to move up to the next class.  While this is exciting, it can also be a little scary for some kids…especially Kindergarteners.

I saw him walk into his new classroom on Sunday.  And from the look of his face I could tell he was scared.  A new room with new people and he wasn’t so sure about any of it.  He didn’t want to leave his parents (even though he’s been coming to our church for over a year now).  He just began Kindergarten and was having a hard time adjusting to his new school.  Now he had to change rooms at church and it was just a little much.  Too many changes at once.

So, what do you when this happens at your church?

1.  Show compassion.

The most important thing you can do for a child who is anxious is show them compassion.  They need to be loved and nurtured.  They are terrified and just need someone who is going to show them God’s love.  Your compassion will help them feel safe.  They are anxious because they aren’t familiar with the new space.  When you show them compassion, you are giving them a sense of security.  You are helping to wash away those feelings of anxiety and replacing them with a calmness and peace that comes from God.

2.  Be flexible.

A child walks into your classroom and doesn’t want to sit at the table.  He doesn’t want to participate.  He just wants to sit in a corner.  Instead of getting frustrated, you first have to be flexible.  This will definitely throw off your lesson plan.  However, you must let go of your desire for perfection and make way for flex in your class time.  It’s important for a new child to have a grace period, a time to adjust to a new setting.  Give them a few Sundays to settle in to their new class.  If you aren’t flexible, then this will just cause the child to have more anxiety.  Let go of control and give it over to God.

3.  Be patient.

Sometimes we wish kids would act the way we think they should act in new situations.  We think they should not have any issues and just jump right into the normal routine. That’s not always the case, though.  And that’s where we must practice the art of patience.  It can be frustrating when a child doesn’t want to do what you need them to do.  But, you have to be patient with them.  Give them time to adjust.  Don’t let any frustration show.  That will only make things worse and they will not want to come back.

New changes aren’t fun for everyone.  Changes can cause worry and anxiety.  Be aware of this on your next Promotion Sunday and make sure to show compassion, be flexible, and have patience.

 

 

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Vanessa Myers is the Children’s Director at Dahlonega United Methodist Church in Dahlonega, GA. She holds a Masters in Church Ministries from Duke Divinity School and is professionally certified in Christian Education through the United Methodist Church. Vanessa loves to write and share her experiences in children's ministry on her blog, KidMin Days. She is married to Andrew and they have two daughters.

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