How to deal with early arrivers

Children who arrive early for Sunday School might be a frustration to your Sunday School teachers. Maybe the teacher doesn't know what to do with the child before other children arrive. But there are two basic rules the teacher must accept:

  1. I must be in the classroom first.
  2. I must be ready and willing to focus on the child as soon as he arrives (that means lesson preparation is already complete.)
The positive results of following these rules far outweigh the teacher's personal sacrifice. Here are some suggestions for taking full advantage of these precious minutes.
  • Engage the child in meaningful conversation about her experiences of the past week. Asking questions that require more than "yes" or "no" will encourage the child to talk.
  • Pay close attention to her answers. Respond with praise, compliments, encouragement, or whatever is appropriate.
  • Look with the child at the teaching picture(s) from the previous Sunday(s). If the child was present, ask him what part of the story is shown in the picture. If the child was absent, use this opportunity to briefly tell the story.
  • Discover if the child was able to apply the Bible truth of the previous lesson. For example, "Last Sunday we learned that Daniel trusted God. Tell me about a time that you trusted God this past week."
  • Pray with the child about her special concerns. Keeping it brief, let the child hear you thanking God for her specifically.
  • Practice Bible skills. Keep a supply of resources to help children learn the books of the Bible and how to locate them.
  • Save games and other materials from teacher packs to reuse.
  • Help the child learn the memory verse; talk with him about what it means.

The ways to use this bonus time with children are unlimited. This time is gifts... don't squander it!

Carolle Green is a Childhood Strategist with the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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