1: Teach your child (from scripture) that they have two families – the one they were born into and God’s big family (our church family). And teach them that every member of our church family is important and special.
2: Talk about what it might be like to come into a new church and not know anyone. How might a new child feel? Who won’t they know? What won’t they know?
3: Role-play with your child about how to welcome a new child.
Step 1: Look them in the eye.
Step 2: Smile.
Step 3: Say, “Hi my name is…What’s your name? Would you like to come and play?”
4: Regularly ask your child. “Was there anyone new at Children’s Church today?” If they can’t identify new children…continue to point #5.
5: Think of ways to help your child identify children who may not feel like they belong at church… stop and look around…who is sitting by themselves? …who looks sad?…who is sitting alone?
6: Invite a new family to join your family on a picnic… for an ice-cream at a nearby McDonalds… to come and play in a local park…
7: Praise your child when you see them making an effort with a new child, or making an effort with a child that’s sitting by themselves during morning tea.
8: Your child may not be new, but they may still feel like they don’t belong. Talk to your child’s leaders about children in your child’s group whom they may connect with. Get to know the parents of those children. Go back to #6 and think of ways you can connect with these families outside of Children’s Church. Sometimes one picnic is all it takes for your child to feel connected to other children at Church.
9: Every time your child sees you welcome someone, you teach them to have God’s heart for those new to our Church.
10: Be real about your own fears and struggles in this area.
Written by Sandy Galea © 2015 Kidswise. Sandy is the Children’s Minister at MBM Rooty Hill Anglican Church.