Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.
This was a line from the popular show Cheers in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. It extols the comfort that comes from knowing that there is somewhere in this world where everyone knows who you are. In the real world, that’s what our Children’s Ministries should be like! There’s just something a lot more personal about calling a child by his/her name rather than just “you.” Even in a large group setting, using a child’s name helps to build personal rapport.
Knowing every kid’s name is a lot easier in a small group setting where you only have 8-10 names to remember. It’s a whole lot harder when you have 20 or 30 or 50 or more kids to try to remember all their names.
I use our check in list each week to keep track of who is and isn’t there. I also make a conscious effort to study it every week to try to memorize the kids’ names. I make notes about any distinctive characteristic a child might have, who is related to who, and anything else I can think of that will help me to remember their names. I try to either great the kids every week as they get dropped off or be the one to wish them well and say goodbye as their parents pick them up. This helps to further reinforce memorizing their names. When all else fails, name tags are great! I’m getting better and better every week at seeing a 1 inch by 4 four inch name tag from twenty feet away!