Let’s face it, having your custodian or the person who cleans your church on your side is a great advantage. If they know you are actively trying to make things easier on them, the less likely you are to hear complaints about “those kids” making a mess. So here are some practical tips to help you stay in good rapport with the person who cleans your children’s area, and hey – if that happens to be you, you just made things easier on yourself!

Contain the glitter. Glitter can be a custodian’s nightmare – it flies everywhere, gets in every little crevice and has amazing staying power! So use glitter sparingly, and when you do, have the items being glittered sit inside trays or baking sheets with low sides. This will help keep the glitter off tables and floors. Give kids the minimal amount of glitter to use. Put it in tiny containers, don’t let them use the big jars from the craft store. They want to use ALL the glitter, so the less they see, the less they use.

Use gluesticks, not glue in squeeze bottles. This is one time where it pays to spend a little more. Gluesticks are more expensive than buying it in the bottles, but still not very costly. However, gluesticks don’t get wasted the same way glue from a bottle does. You know that first grader is going to pick up the bottle and squeeeeeze as much as they can onto their project, no matter how many times you tell them to only use a little bit. Glue bottles make a sloppy mess, gluesticks help keep that under control.

Buy bigger trash cans. Those tiny little class room trash cans are always overflowing because they are just too small! Invest in trash cans that are a little bigger, less unsightly, and don’t have to be emptied as often.

Devote the last 5 minutes of your class to cleanup. Help kids learn responsibility by having them clean up their area before they leave the room. You can make it a game for the kids by having a timer and seeing if they can pick everything up before the timer goes off.

Use washable markers only. And then wash off any areas where the kids have made marks, like tables, chairs, or walls.

Stop and talk to your custodian. Know him/her by name. Having a conversation, bringing them a cup of coffee or bottle of water, and always greeting them by name are things that show your custodian that you consider them to be a valuable member of the Kingdom building team.

Putting these tips into practice, as well as letting them know dates of special events when extra cleaning is likely, (VBS, day camps, missions festival, etc.), will gain you goodwill and let your custodian know that they are an important member of your team.

Let’s continue the conversation! What else would you add to this list? Leave yours in the comments on here or on social media!

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Joy Feemster is a 20-year veteran of children's ministries and is currently the Director of Christian Education at Neely's Creek Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Her passion in life is pointing people to that "1 Thing" relationship with Jesus Christ (Luke 10:38-42).