As we launch into the school year, I’m sure many of you are also launching into a time of transition within your children’s ministry. As kids move from one age grouping to another, it can be a trying time tending to those crying second graders who got donuts every Sunday in their last class or those parents who just want their two kids in the same room, even though one is a first grader and one is a fifth grader. Transition and change can be hard for all involved throughout a child’s time in a children’s ministry. Here are 5 ways to make it a little easier:
1. Prepare both parents and kids for transition. Remind parents that the transition is coming and consider holding an orientation for kids and parents get to check out their new rooms and meet their new teachers.
2. Make the first day special. Greet the kids with party hats, balloons, and a special snack. Help kids feel welcome and remind them of the story they studied the week before. Remind kids that they will get to continue learning as they were before, and their new classes will pick up right where they left off.
3. Know and appreciate that the first day might be a little chaotic. It’s a good thing that kids and parents love the teachers that they have been with in the past. It might take a few weeks for kids to get acclimated to a new set-up, and that’s okay! Love on them and help them stick it out.
4. Handle each situation case-by-case. Sometimes, it really is best to let Sally stay with her best friend, Susie, instead of being promoted to a new class, and sometimes, it’s important to have the hard conversation and help a parent feel at ease with a move, even though it’s not what their child would prefer. This takes reliance on the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom. It’s not an easy task, but it is something that you will most certainly need to do as you face times of transition.
5. Do something nice for your teachers the week the official transition happens. Love on teachers who are putting in extra focus to get to know new children as they teach that first week. Bring them breakfast, host a thank you lunch, or bring them a small gift as a reminder that you know that kids and parents aren’t the only ones transitioning, and that you understand that it can be hard when a new group comes in with a new dynamic. They’ll be tweaking the way they teach as they learn this new group.
Check out these other great posts about helping kids transition:
Take some time to breathe deep and thank God as transitions happen. They may be difficult, but they also are beautiful as kids carry what they have learned over the last year into a new classroom and are impacted by another set of teachers who care for them. Every transition means another set of kids has transitioned out into the world of youth ministry equipped to serve Jesus and follow Him, even when it’s difficult!
How do you prepare kids to move into new classes?