Sunday, March 1, 2009

Following the Leader

A few of you have asked how I find ways to keep the craziness of kids under control during singing time. I am sure there are several ways to go about this, but here a few ideas that have really been successful in my primary.

  1. First and foremost, these kids know I love them. I go out of my way to learn their names. When I see them in the hallway or when I enter the chapel before church begins I say hello and ask them if they are ready to have a fantastic time in Primary today. I do my very best to make coming to Primary the highlight to their week.

  2. I often begin singing time with a wiggle song (especially for the Jr. Pri). This helps them get the need to move and be free out of the system a bit. I specifically choose wiggle songs that have actions that they have to follow me (Do as I'm doing, Hands, Head, shoulders knees and toes, Once there was a snowman, Popcorn Popping,). Or, you can even do some hand rhymes such as Open/Shut Them.

  3. After the wiggle song, I ask them to sit down and be reverent so I can explain the fun things we get to do today. If they are still having a hard time paying attention I speak softer and softer to where I might only be moving my mouth. Kids find this really interesting and stop so they can hear what I am trying to say. I will continue to almost wispher so they have to really listen to hear me.

  4. I never ask open ended questions such as "Who would like to be my helper today?" I have a cup full of popcycle sticks with every child's name on it, and the kids know that they have the same chance as anyone else to be called up. It took a few Sundays, but the kids are very used to this and there is no begging or throwing fits because they didn't get their name called. It usually takes me about a month before the rotation begins again, but everyone does get a turn eventually.

  5. I let the teachers do the discipling. That is a huge reason why the children have their teachers present during Sharing/Singing time. Let the responsiblity for taking care of a child who is having a rough time fall to the teacher. I usually will stop mid sentence and wait with my arms folded until the child stops or is removed. Again, it took a few weeks, but the kids have come to understand that I'm consitant and that they all miss out on FUN when we have to stop. The kids have really become their own disciplinary group. They really all keep each other in check.

  6. I hold the kids responsible to learn and sing the song their very best. I tell them that they have the opportunity, through music, to invite the spirit in to our Primary to help us learn and feel Heavenly Father's love for us and for the ward. I challenge them to take the music home, teach it to their families, and understand the meaning. For the Jr. Primary this might seem a bit much, but you would be surprised the parents of the Sunbeams that have come up to me and told me that their three year old will not stop singing our lastest primary hit.

  7. Pray to know the specific needs for your primary kids. All Primary rooms are not the same and the dynamics won't be either. However, all children want to be loved and all children want to have fun. The spirit can direct you in how best to do those two things for your primary kids.

    Above all, Hang in there.


Dana and Adam said...

These are great suggestions. I am new to the whole primary experience. I'll take all the advice I can get!

Poutua said...

Thank you for all your tips! I love being the primary chorister and I am surely going to incorporate these things into my teaching!

handsoflove said...

Thank you for posting this. I am Deaf and all the primary children are Hearing. So I struggle every Sunday. I can't hear the piano or the kids. Yet my sweet husband and I bult a vibrobox so I can feel it with my feet. My primary Pres. helps me greatly. But this is the first time I have found information on working with the kids that I have needed. I enjoy teaching them and learning myself. I love all these kids.
Thank you very much,
Hands of Love Chorister