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Helping New Kids Feel Welcome

So what can we do to help our new kids feel at home as soon as they walk through our door?
Welcoming New Kids

For all of us Kidmin leaders, there’s nothing better than seeing a brand new child step into our ministry.

 

As soon as we see those new bright and shiny faces, our excitement begins to build. We just can’t wait for them to jump right in and see all the fun and exciting activities we have in store for them! We know they’ll have the time of their life learning an amazing and engaging Bible story, maybe get a little wild and messy with a fun large group game, spend small group time with adults who already love and care for them, and ultimately, to begin to lay a foundation that we hope will grow into a lifelong spiritual journey.

 

We know all these incredible things that are going to happen… but our new kids don’t.

 

While we may see a colorful and fun space for a child to have fun and learn about Jesus, our new kids may just see a room that’s far away from the people they know and love. Those new adult leaders can look like giants, a small group of kids their own age may still be intimidating and scary, and an unfamiliar schedule could lead to a lot of anxiety over the unknown. We can do everything right and still have a few new kids feel uncomfortable on their very first day in our ministry.

 

So what can we do to help our new kids feel at home as soon as they walk through our door? It really boils down to just being more aware as leaders. Aware that new things aren’t easy for everyone, that not all kids will react to things the same way, and that feeling uneasy in a new environment is a very natural first reaction.

 

On top of just being more aware of some potential big emotions and anxiety, we as leaders can also keep the following three things in mind:

 

1) Look at everything through the eyes of a child.

 

Take a minute to walk around your ministry space, being intentional to try to see everything through the eyes of a brand-new visitor. What’s the first thing you see when you walk through the door? What are some of the first sounds that you hear? Does the space look inviting, or are you walking by a long stretch of blank walls? Of course, your space doesn’t need to look like an amusement park, but it does need to look like a space that’s meant for kids. This could look like hanging a few posters on the walls, having some fun music playing in the background as they walk in, and making sure to have a greeter or buddy right at the door, ready to guide your new kid and give them a grand tour.

 

2) Choose the right volunteers.

 

How would you feel if you walked into a brand new space, and the very first person you saw had a big frown on their face? I’m pretty sure seeing that wouldn’t make you feel as though you were just about to have the best day of your life. We want the kids in our ministry to know that every adult in the room not only loves them, but likes them too! We know that learning about Jesus can be both fun AND serious, and we want volunteers who are able to balance both. This means looking for volunteers who are able to connect with kids through laughter, fun, and of course, learning. Volunteers who are able to get down on a child’s level…or as close as they can get! And remember, there’s no age limit on fun, so all volunteers young and maybe-not-as-young are invited to the kidmin party.

 

3) Don’t forget to reconnect.

 

When it comes to following up with our new kids, sometimes we as leaders can place more emphasis on connecting with parents than with their kids. After all, it will be the parents who make the decision to bring their kids back to the ministry. Of course, we want to make sure they feel just as loved and welcome in the church as their kids! But, they aren’t the ones who will be sitting in our ministry week after week. So what can we do to make our new little visitors feel special and seen? It can be as simple as writing a postcard addressed specifically to them to invite them back for another week, leaving a voicemail on for them on their parent’s phone, or even just making sure to remember their name the next time you see them. These seemingly small gestures can really help to make a new, big group of people feel a little bit more like family.

 

Now, who’s ready to welcome some new kids into their ministry?!

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