Children want to be good. They really do. But they’re still getting used to these wiggly new bodies that they acquired when they were born a few short years ago! Primary leaders and teachers can help them learn how to behave in church with a few simple rules that are easy for children to understand, and reinforcing them often.
For my Primary class, I made a poster with very few words and simple drawings:
1) Obey the teacher.
2) Raise your hand.
3) Hands to yourself.
4) Six feet on the floor – four feet on the chair, and two on you.
5) Inside voices.
It’s amazing how many situations these six simple rules can cover. I wrote these rules on a large piece of thin paper that I could fold into quarters and put in my Primary bag (mine is a recycled event poster that folded down into an 8 1/2 x 11 page). Before every class, I post the rules and review them every single week, until the children really had them memorized. I’d make it interactive, varied and fun — one week talking through the poster, the next week just making the simple drawings on the chalkboard and having the children guess which rule went with which drawing, etc. Making a game of it first thing is a way to help each child succeed, setting the expectations before class even began.
Then, if I needed to correct a child, I could just give them The Look and say “Remember — hands to yourself — Rule #3.” After a while, children would correct each other by rule number!
Watch a 4-minute video demonstrating how to review these rules here.
Setting appropriate classroom rules and making it fun makes children feel safe and loved, as they learn what’s expected and how to achieve it. A reverent child is more likely to feel the Spirit and more likely to get acquainted with the Lord in Primary.
This idea appears in “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids,” with downloadable rules poster and other handouts here. Read more about how Primary in Zion became a book by clicking on the book cover below.