With VBS coming up, attitudes and conversations can make a difference when you have a rambunctious group of kids


Attitudes and conversations-VBS-crazy kids


Summer is here, and recently I’ve been doing my early morning walk on the beach. In our part of the country we have a beach restoration project going on. This project involves ships, pipes 4 feet in diameter, tractors, backhoes, and other equipment needed to dredge the sand off the bottom of the ocean and pump it up onto the beach. It’s quite interesting to watch the sand pour out of those very large pipes onto the beach and then observe the large earthmoving equipment move all the sand around and pile it up on the beach.

More fascinating to me than the equipment are the seashells. Compared to the large pieces of equipment used to move the sand, the shells appear so small and insignificant. As I look at these shells I am reminded that nothing God has created is small or insignificant.

I pick up shell after shell. Some are whole and some are broken. When I look at the broken shells, my mind equates their condition to the broken relationships many children experience in our world today.

These are the children from fractured and divorced families, the foster care children, and children who have experienced some type of trauma in their short lives. Just like the shells that were created to be whole, these kids are living lives that are broken into bits and pieces. These are the kids who bring chaos into your group. Some are rambunctious. Some are out of control. A few of these kids will test every boundary and rule you have.  

How will these kids be treated in your Vacation Bible School (VBS)? How will you talk to them? How will you calm them and let them know that Jesus loves them just as much as He loves the other children in the group?

Getting everyone registered and to the right room can be stressful and hectic. Will you and your volunteers be too stressed and busy the first day to notice these kids?

Will you encompass them and fill their emotional bucket, or will you not notice them and send them away with an empty emotional bucket and a spiritual emptiness?

Attitudes and conversations make a difference

A leader’s words and attitude can help calm a rambunctious group of kids. Here are some easy and simple tips to help you help those kids who seem to be instigating that kind of mood in your group.

  • Stay calm and keep a relaxed and nonthreatening posture.

    Your calmness can be contagious. A relaxed stance with eyes softened, arms at your side, one foot in front of the other, and a smile is a nonthreatening posture and helps a child feel welcomed. Taking this stance also helps your voice sound calm and reassuring.
  • Small words matter to small people.

    In other words, keep it simple. When wanting a child to do something, use the child’s name and the verb. “Coleman, sit.” Or, “Josey, listen.” Say it in a matter-of-fact tone.
  • Soft words speak loudly to hurting kids.

    Spoken softly one on one, “Thank you for being here today.” Or, “I’m glad you are here today. I would miss you if you were absent.”
  • Assure the child he or she is safe.

    “Cassie, remember I’m here to keep you and everyone safe. Standing on a chair is not safe. What could you do that would be safe?” Cassie is always in trouble, but in your group she is not in trouble because you continually help her. You also diffuse the situation by not making a big deal about her misbehavior and antics.
  • Keep a smile on your face, especially when you are greeting each child.

    Smiling and making eye contact says to the child, “You matter.”
  • When correcting a child, don’t force the child to look at you.

    Some traumatized children do better when you are standing next to them. Simply tell them what you want them to do.
  • Notice acts of kindness.

    “Lexi, I saw you get some scissors for your friend. That was a kind thing to do.” Kindness is contagious when you can get the kids to realize what kindness looks like.

Brushing a child aside because you are rattled, are too busy, or have too many kids in one room may very well feel like God is brushing them aside. Keep in mind that for many of these kids, you are the closest they have been to someone who is Christlike.

Remember all the shells I’ve been collecting? Even though some are broken, they are still vibrant in their color. They have unique shapes to them. They are still worth picking up and adding to my collection. Just like some of the children who will attend your VBS. Even though they may be experiencing broken relationships or are broken themselves, they are still valuable to the heavenly Father. They are still worth saving.


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