TIPS FOR SPEAKING TO CHILDREN
I have been so blessed these past twenty plus years to work with children of all ages and from different nations, here at The Inn. I have worked with children in one way or another since I stopped being a child myself! I want to share with you over the course of the next weeks some tips that I believe will help as you work with children. So, here you go. Three tips for today! These are not in any particular order, nor are they by any means exclusive.
3 TIPS FOR SPEAKING TO CHILDREN
1.BE AS VISUAL AS YOU CAN BE:
Don’t just stand there and talk! Use as many visual illustrations as you can. Children love visual aids and will remember much better what you are talking about if you use them.
For example, use:
Puppets / chalkboard / pictures / photographs / drawings / books / objects / related videos / slide presentations / act it out etc…
You can go to a Christian Bookstore and spend hundreds of dollars on visual aids. But you can have good simple visual aids very easily. Jesus used as illustrations what was around him. So can we. He used nets and fish, seeds and birds, etc., all familiar objects to those He was speaking to. We can use simple everyday objects to help convey truth. Then when those every day common place objects are seen later and used, the children will remember what you have shared.
In other words have plenty of visual aids to illustrate what it is you are talking about. The more the better.
2. SHARE AS MANY DIFFERENT WAYS AS YOU CAN:
Show it. Tell it. Sing it. Dance it. Act it. Record it. Draw it. Have someone give a testimony about it. Discuss it. Play a game related to it…
Variety is a key. That’s why we have the four Gospels. Essentially the same things are shared, but from different perspectives. If that’s important for us in regard to God’s Word, then surely it is important in regard to how we communicate with children. If an elephant came up the road outside your house, everyone would see it differently! Front view, back view!! From the side, from on top, close up, from a distance or not there at all, but hearing about it! Everyone could tell you something about the elephant, and everyone’s comment would be valid. All of them would be from a different perspective, but all helpful and all about the same elephant!
3. THE THREE R’S – REPEAT, REINFORCE, REVIEW:
REPEAT, REPEAT: To repeat means to utter or to state again. Repetition is something children love and respond very well to. That is why they want the same storybook read to them over and over. They may know it by heart and could tell you who says what and exactly what happens next, but they still want it read to them again and again.
Similarly, the Lord repeats over and over to us, His children, the things He wants us to know. Sometimes He will do this many times until we grasp what He is saying. SO it is with children! Never be afraid to repeat something. Never be afraid to repeat something you have said. We can hear many different sermons with the same theme, or about the same verse. And yet they speak to us differently each time. We never say, “I am not going to Church today because the Pastor is preaching about David and Goliath, and I have heard that before!” We don’t decide not to read a Bible passage because we have read it several times previously!
REINFORCE: To reinforce simply means to give more force or effectiveness to, to strengthen and support.
You are wanting to strengthen and shore up what you have shared. Making it stronger, clearer, and firmer in their minds, so that it is more able to stay with them.
REVIEW: To review means to look over and study and examine again.
Have the children review what you have said to them. Let them teach the lesson back to you (they love to do this!). This helps you know if you have communicated effectively. It lets you see what points you need to further emphasize. I believe The Lord does the same with us! He repeats things. He reinforces what He has said and gives us times when we review together.
There you have it. Three tips for today.
May God bless you greatly as you work with children,