Thursday, February 11, 2016

# church # Primary

Singing Time: When Things Get Out of Control

It's not very often that Singing Time gets out of control but when it gets to loud or crazy, how do you bring the children back to a reverent mode? Here are a few ideas that might help get their attention and get them back on track:

1) Prepare yourself. Plan your activities so that they run smoothly. Pray and know your songs. Think like a primary child. Is the activity engaging? Is the activity too complicated? It the activity simple to follow? Is there a lot of talking and not much singing?

2) Prepare the children. Get some wiggles out if necessary. Sing a couple of wiggle songs BEFORE you begin explaining the Singing Time activity. Then you can explain the activity and remind them to be reverent. For example, "We can still have fun but we must remember that we are at church, in Heavenly Father's house. We need to be respectful. Remember that there are also others around us who are also trying to learn and focus. If it gets out of control and too noisy, we will have to stop the activity." Follow through!

Once you're in the activity, you can use these suggestions:

1) Quietly say, "if you can hear me, touch your __________ (nose, head, elbow, knees, ear, etc.)" When you say this, touch something that is NOT what you said. For example, say, "if you can hear me, touch your nose." You touch your shoulders. This way those who are actually listening will be touching their noses while those you are just watching are touching their shoulders. 

2) Go quiet and start a rhythm the children can follow. Pat, clap, pat, clap. See how many follow. Change it up after most of the children are listening. Pat, clap, snap. Pat, clap, snap. Children should quiet down quickly because now they are concentrating on keeping up with the rhythm. (You can make it more difficult for Senior Primary.) Once you have their attention, fold your arms and say what you need to say to continue Singing Time with reverence.

3) Use a noisemaker. Children quickly tune out familiar sounds. Do you ever catch yourself calling your own child's name 5 or 6 times before they acknowledge you? Or maybe it works the reverse with your child calling you? ;) Use a noise that is less used. Bring a bell or a triangle or an egg shaker or something that will get their attention rather than just "Shhhh!" Make sure the item isn't too loud. You want it kind of soft so they stop to hear where the sound is coming from. 

5) Call-and-Response. Use catchy sayings as a cue to be quiet. For example, you can say, "1, 2, 3, eyes on me," and they respond, "1, 2, eyes on you." You will need to introduce this concept and practice a couple of times. This is a fun way to get the children's attention.

Here are some other examples:

Teacher: Ready set...
Children: You bet!

Teacher: Zip it, lock it... (use action as if you are zipping your lips)
Children: Put it in your pocket (use action as if they are putting it in their pocket)

Here are some church song ideas:

Teacher: I'm reverent...
Children: For reverence is love.

Teacher: Jesus wants me for a...
Children: Sunbeam! (children hop up and then sit down with arms folded)

Teacher: I looked out the window and what did I see?
Children: Reverent children in Pri-ma-ry! (whisper)

Teacher: The chapel doors seem to say to me...
Children: SHHHH!

I hope these help. If you have other ideas to share, please comment below. If you use one of these ideas, please share and let us know how it went. 


  1. These are perfect! Thank you! Do you have any ideas on how to close singing time? The last chorister would do a cheer with them but I would like to try something different.

    1. Great question! I'll explore some ideas and let you know! Thanks!


    Here are some ideas for you!


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