After a particularly messy playtime in our family room, I instructed my 2 ½ -year-old son to get his toys out of the middle of the room. He looked around the room, looked at his toys, then looked at me and asked, “But Mama, where is the middle of the room?” This is an example of communicating ineffectively!
As adults who are committed to sharing God’s love with the toddlers, 2-year-olds and preschoolers in our environments, it is vital that we communicate effectively in the brief time we have to interact with them each week. What we say is critical.
Each message must be made clear through easily understood and meaningful words. In addition, our communications must be concise and consistent. One-step directions, such as “Follow me to the rug,” (said in an irresistible, exciting tone) will meet with much more cooperation and enthusiasm than, “Okay everybody, it’s time to go to the rug, sit down, and listen to the Bible story.” In the latter example, their attention was probably lost after “Okay!”
In addition, be sure to give choices only when there is actually a choice. Asking, “Is everybody ready to go to large group?” tells a 4-year-old that he or she has a choice to not go if they aren’t ready. You could perhaps consider a transition song, which is sung each week when it is time to move to large group. This is a consistent signal that effectively communicates the desired behavior.
What you do to communicate effectively with younger children and the volunteers that serve them?