I am so thankful for other voices in my kid’s lives – the small group leaders, the staff members, teachers, parents. These people show up in my children’s lives and echo much of what my husband and I prioritize as parents.
During the preschool years, each age is asking a question (even if they can’t verbalize it yet) to know if they can belong in your small group. It’s our job as small group leaders or preschool directors to help answer those questions alongside parents.
Am I safe? (0-1 years old)
This stage is so important for establishing trust. Our infants, crawlers, and walkers in our small groups want to know they can trust their small group leaders…and maybe even more important their parents are wanting to know, “Can I trust you?”
Remembering details go a long way with both kids and parents at this age.
Small group leaders need to be champions and asking questions.
- “How does you baby like to be soothed?”
- “If your baby is upset at any point, how long should I let her cry before I call you?”
- “When your child is sleepy, how does he like to be rocked or laid down in a crib?”
When we ask questions, we let mom and dad know we care. When we follow up with a parent on a child’s morning, we are letting parents know we can be trusted to do what we said we would do.
Am I able? (1-2 years old)
During this phase, parents and small group leaders are working to develop confidence in these toddlers. Have you ever noticed how a two-year-old will look to you as they’re doing something as if to say, “Is this right or wrong?” or “Can I do it?”
This is the phase where encouragement goes a long way to building confidence. Comment on how well they listened during Bible time and how well they sang. Tell them how awesome of a job they are doing at coloring or building that tower. Small group leaders acknowledging small feats in the life of a child, goes a long way at this age. And remember, it goes a long way when you let mom and dad know, too!
Am I okay? (3-4 years old)
At this age, preschoolers are beginning to cultivate self-control, and we’re partnering with parents to do that. Small group leaders are another voice in a preschooler’s life guiding them to make the right choices. Small group leaders play an important part in affirming a child’s worth.
When we open a three-year-old’s eyes to the wonder of a big God who can do anything, they begin to believe God can help them make wise choices. And then when we open the Bible and tell them about all the people who didn’t always get it right, they begin to see a glimpse of grace (even if they don’t know what that word means). They see a God of second chances!
How are you equipping small group leaders to answer these questions during their time with their preschoolers?
* Content adapted from It’s Just a Phase – a must read for anyone who works with kids!