Why Won't the Kids Sit STILL?

Do you find yourself saying any of these at church?

  • Sssshhhhhhh!
  • Sit still!
  • Quiet please!
  • No moving!
  • Keep your hands still!

Do you ever wonder why so many kids in your ministry can’t seem to sit still?

The underlying cause is lack of opportunities to move.  It is rare these days to find children running, climbing trees, or jumping and spinning just for fun. Merry-go-rounds and teeter totters have disappeared from playgrounds.  Recess times have been shortened.  Children rarely play outside due to parents’ fears. 

It all adds up to this … children are not moving enough. If you grew up in the industrial age model of education, where everyone was placed in rows of chairs and told sit still and listen to the “lecture” up front, then you may be bringing that model to the next generation. 

Only problem … that’s not how kids are wired and that’s not how they learn best.  Just because you and I (if you’re over 30) had to sit quietly through hours of torture doesn’t mean we should make today’s kids do the same.

Studies show that kids learn best when they are active. Kids who perform better in school are more likely to be physically active on a regular basis. Adding movement to your class or worship environment at church will increase attention, behavior and retention.

Here are some tips to get things moving…

  1. Use motions with your songs.
  2. Honor kids’ attention span.  It maxes out at five minutes.  Don’t make them sit still and listen to your “lecture” for more than five minutes at a time.  You can do a 20-minute “lesson”—just break up the “talking head” with an activity every five minutes or less.
  3. Play active games that reinforce the lesson.
  4. Do crafts/activities that allow them to get up and move.
  5. Get them involved in helping teach the lesson by acting it out.
  6. Make motions for Bible verses they are memorizing.

Your turn.  The floor is yours. What are some ways you get kids moving during their time at church? What is one of your favorite activities or games you use to teach kids?<  

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Dale Hudson has been serving in children's ministry for over 30 years. He is an author, speaker and ministry leader.  He is the founder and director of Building Children's Ministry. BCM helps churches build strong leaders, teams and children's ministries.  (www.buildingchildrensministry.com)