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1. What is discipline?

Discipline is the education of a person's character.

It includes nurturing, training, instruction, chastisement, verbal rebuke, teaching and encouragement.

2. Why discipline?

It brings security, produces character, prepares for life, is evidence of love and is God's heart. Hebrews 12:6 and Proverbs 22:6.

3 Do's and don'ts of discipline in children's work:-

a. We need to be insistent, consistent and persistent.

b. NEVER smack, or hit a child.

c. Discipline out of love NEVER anger. (It is better to let a matter pass than discipline in anger - you may say something you regret, and that damage cannot be repaired).

d. Do not shout in anger or put down a child.

e. Lay down ground rules e.g., no swearing, racism, or calling each other names, a respect for property.

f. Keep the ground rules simple and clear, and make sure the children understand what procedure will be taken if they are not kept.

g. Talk to a child away from the 'group', not publicly. (Explain what they have done wrong, encourage remorse and leave them on a positive note).

h. Never reject a child, just the behaviour. (Encourage the child that you want them, but you are not willing to accept the behaviour).

i. Each child is unique, special and individual, and each child needs a different method of being dealt with. We therefore need to ask ourselves:-

(i) Why is the child behaving like that?

(ii) Ask God for wisdom, discernment and understanding.

(iii) What is the best method for disciplining and encouraging that child?

(iv) What encourages and builds children up?

(v) Work on each individual child's positives, do not compare them to each other.

(vi) Work on relationships.

(vii) Be a good role model and set a good example. (Don't expect children to do what you don't do and vice-versa).

(viii) Take care to give quieter and well behaved children attention and don't allow some children to take all your time and energy.

(ix) Don't say something you don't mean, and do stick to what you say, (otherwise we are implying negative teaching to the children). (Think before you speak).

(x) Pray for the children and with the children.

5. Some practical ideas for the classroom and bad-behaviour discipline:-

a. Change voice tone.

b. Separate children who have a tendency to be disruptive when together. (These children are often friends, don't separate them straight away, give them a chance, perhaps warn them and only separate if they are disruptive).

c. Have the child sit right in front of you.

d. Get a helper to sit next to the child.

e. Pay no attention to them.

f. Be pro-active and encourage helpers to be pro-active and not wait to be told to deal with a situation.

g. Take the child aside and talk to them, challenging them to change, whilst encouraging them on their strengths.

h. Warn a child that you will speak to their parents and do so if necessary. (With some non-churched children we need to be wise in this, as speaking to parents may incur parent's wrath on the child and a ban from attending).

i. If a child's behaviour is constantly disruptive, seek advice and guidance from your line manager.

j. Don't be afraid of discipline.

k. Warn them, send them outside the room (care regarding supervision), back into the service or ban them for a week. (Never a total ban without reference to your line manager and ensure parents are advised in case of banning).

l. Encourage good behaviour.

m. Remember each child is individual and unique. We need God's wisdom and love to encourage each one to reach their potential and to recognise their needs.

n. Pray before you meet.

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