Preventive Discipline-Part 1

Hebrews 12:11 says, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

So much of the time when we talk about discipline, we are only thinking of punishment.  While punishment or corrective discipline is certainly necessary from time to time, the definition of discipline is much broader in scope.  Webster defines discipline this way, “to instruct, educate, inform the mind: prepare by instruction correct principles & habits”.  Wow!  That covers so much!

For the purpose of this post, I want to focus on how to prevent discipline problems from occurring.  In my next post, we’ll look at some practical ways to help children behave properly in the Bible class.  Let’s start with preventive discipline.  Do you realize you can prevent many problems in the classroom before they even have a chance to start?

  • Try to be the first one in your classroom.  Children should not be running around unsupervised.  Kids can get hurt, get into materials that they shouldn’t be into, and get into fights with one another.
  • Be prepared.  Have enough to do and have materials ready.  Kids should not have to sit and wait on a teacher to get herself together.  Bored kids will get into trouble.  Plan your schedule carefully not giving opportunity for free time in class.
  • Know your students and develop close personal relationships with them.  It’s great when a child loves you and wants to please you.  By getting to class a little early, you have time to sit and chat with children one on one.  You should know something about the family and home life of your students.  You should know something about a student’s capabilities like if there is a disability or attention difficulties.
  • Show affirmation and affection through your words and actions.  Never embarrass, ignore, or talk down to a student.  Use your words to build up and encourage children.  Even the most difficult child has something that you compliment.
  • Let kids move.  Don’t keep them confined to one spot or activity too long.  Especially think about those kids on Wednesday nights who have had to sit all day at a desk in school.  They need some movement incorporated into their class time.
  • Keep things out of reach that you do not want children getting into.  Don’t have things in view in your 2 yr old class that you don’t want them touching & looking at before you’re ready for it to be seen.
  • Discuss expectations with students.  Have very few rules and keep those rules positive and simple. For example, keep your hands to yourself, use an inside voice, raise your hand to speak, be kind to your neighbor.

By practicing preventive discipline measures, you are sure to keep the real discipline problems to a minimum!