Saturday, May 28, 2011

What Would You Do?

I am hoping you will help me with a question. I received an e-mail describing the following situation. Would you consider leaving a comment and help this sister with your ideas? Thanks so much!

After Primary ends, all of the Sr. Primary children have to wait in the primary room for up to 15 minutes until their parents come to pick them up. We have a large primary, so there are typically 50 children waiting. For the past 6 months or so, we have been reading the Book of Mormon aloud. This was working well for a while, but it has gotten old, and the Primary presidency wants to go back to singing while we wait for parents.

In the past, the singing-after-primary did not work at all. Usually right after the prayer the children would start talking with their friends and walking around the room, and a few would sing. It was basically a free-for-all. I don't want this round of after-primary singing to be a repeat of what used to happen. So I'm trying to think about what I could do differently to make it work. I know there needs to be a discussion of what behavior is appropriate. I'm wondering what can be done to help the kids sit through another 10 minutes of singing when they have already been through 3 hours of church.

25 comments:

Kristin said...

If it were me, I would have some kind of coloring, or very simple craft activity they could reverently complete with a primary song CD playing in the background.

The Pratts said...

That's interesting. I've never heard of Sr Primary having to wait for parents to come get them. Hmmm, if I'm being totally honest, I think by the time church is done, kids are DONE! (I mean, who isn't? haha.) I feel like the kids probably don't WANT to do anything (including singing) that requires their full attention, and they shouldn't have to. Church is over, they've put in their 3 hours, which feels like forever when you're a child. I agree with the last comment. A primary CD with a coloring page or word search/crossword puzzle would be good. Yikes, that's a lot of pressure. Good luck!

Paula said...

What I think is:
1) it's kind of an unrealistic rule.
2) Maybe if this MUST be the rule, we should be talking to the parents before trying to wrangle kids. It shouldn't take 10-15 minutes to walk across the building to get your kid.
3) have someone different in charge of the activity every week. Craft, reading, singing, change it up every week.

Debi said...

Why in the world are the kids having to be picked up by parents? We're talking 8-11 year olds, let them go! If that's not a possibility, I agree with Paula, have the Primary Presidency 'call' someone else to do those 15 minutes! Good luck, let us know the outcome!

Winn said...
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Winn said...
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Winn said...

What is wrong with letting them visit? If they are not running around or yelling, there is nothing wrong with letting them chat and enjoy a few moments together until their parents come. Have a CD playing quietly if you want, but after 3 hours, it is time to be finished!

May 28, 2011 9:55 AM

Polly said...

It's my opinion that Primary teachers and Primary Presidency aren't entertainment committee. I agree with the other posters saying that 8-11 year olds should be out. They should be directed to be reverent because they are still in church with other classes possibly still in, but when church is over, it's not the Primary's job to keep kids for 10-15 minutes longer. If those parents aren't getting out of class on time, they need to be. It sounds like
1) adult classes need to be let out on time.
2) parents need to not linger talking, rather, they should pick up their jr primary children as close to the end of church as possible.
3)sr primary needs to be let out when church is over. They should wait by their younger siblings' classrooms so that parents can pick up all children in the same place.

If there are some sort of extenuating circumstances mandating that 8-11 year olds be kept in the primary room, I still feel it should not be babysitting service. You could do a sort of "speed-date", but "speed-chat" so that each child can visit with someone else, rather than cliques and bestfriends leaving people out.

After church, the children need that socializing time as well to fully form the close bonds that they should have with their fellow church brothers and sisters.

I vote, no babysitting. Either release them or let them talk.

Lindsay said...

First of all, I totally agree with the previous comments that they should not be stuck in the Primary room in the first place. That said, I recognize this is probably not your decision. You are looking for help with what you've been asked to do. I would suggest letting them move around at least. Play Four Corners. Have them stand and sing in a circle. Sing songs with movement. Even the older kids like to sing Sunbeam. Sing a song like Give Said the Little Stream and have them stand up/sit down every time you say "give" or move left and right. Make up rhythms for songs with strong beats like Follow the Prophet, i.e. clap, stomp, lap, snap.

I don't envy you the position you have been put in. Try and make it fun and I think you'll be fine. Good luck!

Marquette Mower said...

Is Primary getting out early or is R.S/Priesthood getting out late? If Primary is early...that can be remedied through slightly longer sharing time/singing time. If it's the adults, perhaps the Presidents of each organization need to talk together to find a solution.

I think that as soon as Primary is signaled as being over, the kids are "lost". Even if the Presidents can work out a timing, there will be times that the adults go longer than the kids, so perhaps have singing time last and then it won't seem like the kids are just being kept there extra, it'll be singing time. I teach the 9-12 year olds and I know they get tired of coloring all the time and they respond better to singing.

Stamp With Linz said...

We have the same rule in our Primary- its for the safety of the children. Frankly, we just don't know what our members are struggling with- so let's make sure the kids are safe from potential harm.

To this sweet sister- this is what we d:. We sing our closing song *after* we've said the prayer. While they sing the closing song, the parents are to pick them up (we just call their names to come to the door). If there are stragglers, then we take them to their parents and encourage the parents to be more prompt next time (usually doesn't happen). I should mention that once the closing song is over, they are able to chat until their parent comes. Our EQ, HP, RS, YW/YM presidencies have been encouraged by the Bishopric to let out on time so the kids can be picked up.

It works for us, but it sounds like our primary might be smaller. Best wishes, it can be difficult! :)

Chrissy, said...
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Morgan said...

Others have discussed whether this is an appropriate request for you, so I'll just give some suggestions. If the kids are tired of reading the Book of Mormon every week, rotate the weeks you do that and the weeks you sing. Possibly add another activity or two in there, so that each week the after prayer time is different. (Going over their Faith in God booklets with their teachers, memorizing scriptures or articles of faith, playing scripture chase.) Have the children help you prepare visuals for a song you'll be learning. Play scripture chase with the Books in the Book of Mormon, Old Testament, whatever (sing the song and when the piano stops, the kids have to find the book you stopped on). Assign a class to sing a song to everyone after the closing prayer as postlude music. Ask children who play instruments to perform after the closing prayer. Play name that tune. Give the kids paper and pencils and have the pianist play part of several primary songs, then let the kids write down as many of the titles as possible. Sing all the wiggle songs you don't have time for during singing time (make a jar with fun songs that the kids can pull sticks out of or something, so you don't have to prepare a second sharing time!) Sing the articles of faith songs and let kids go individually to a presidency member to recite an article of faith when they feel ready. Most of all, I think that it's important to tell the children and teachers before the prayer what they'll be doing after the prayer. Good luck!!

Gene and Sheri Family said...

Our ward used to have the adult classes end 5 mins early...and whoever was conducting that "adult meeting" would request that all parents with primary age children go straight to pick up their children....even if they had to wait by the doors etc. :) Not all parents were great with this...so as Primary president I kept a list of those that came 15 to 20 mins after for pick up...then handed the list to the Bishop and he made calls to them regarding the issue!!
GOOD LUCK!

Creating Sarah said...

I also agree that the Sr. Primary shouldn't be stuck in the primary room waiting.

This is something that I would ask the president to bring to the ward council and ask for helping coming up with a resolution. We don't know what is taking the parents so long, but that is something the ward council has the authority to figure out and address.

Megan said...

I echo Creating Sarah. This is definitely a matter for the Ward Council! Love the list of ideas Morgan shared. Best wishes as you and your ward figure this out together!

Charlotte said...

The two ideas I like best are 1)To lengthen out sharing/singing time so they each take an extra 5 minutes, and Primary "ends" at 10 after the hour instead of on the hour or 2)To change things up every week so that one week they read scriptures, another week they color, another week they sing, and another week they have an activity/game. That way they won't get bored doing the same things all the time. Good luck!

SAH in Suburbia said...

I suppose this sounds harsh but I wouldn't do a whole lot of anything. Primary is over and if there are safety concerns (there must be something specific or else it's a little much to keep 8-11 year olds waiting for their parents) then it's a parental responsibility not a Primary responsibility. Parents should be let out early to get their kids not the other way around.

Blogful said...

My advice sounds like what everyone else had said: 1) have someone in the primary presidency visit RS and announce/remind them to come get their children as timely as possible. 2) ask everyone else to take 5 more minutes; classes, sharing time, closing exercises, singing time, so that Primary actually goes OVER time. 3) do only one song several different ways like Do As I'm Doing (jump as I'm jumping, clap as I'm clapping) 4) when things start to break down after that, put the kids to work: I have them stack chairs, clean up chair backers, clean the chalkboard, pick up papers, etc. Turn on a CD of postlude music during all this buzz.
Good Luck!

hunnybunnyjsc said...

In my opinion the reason this is not working is because it is not supposed to!!.. What I mean is Sunday meeting time is a three hour block - not 3 hours and 15 minutes! If we were supposed to have 15 minutes more we would receive direction from the General Primary as to what to do to fill that time. We get ourselves into trouble when we do not follow the guidelines of the Church. No matter what the reason for this extra 15 minutes the Primary President needs to go to the Ward Council, remind them of this fact, and find a more "timely" solution. It is unfair for the Presidency to make this request of the Music Leader.

Chrissy, said...

I echo hunnybunny. Well said.

: ) Paula said...

I was going to suggest playing a song game like battleship or jenga or get out the wiggle worm can, but after reading the other comments, I can't help but agree wholeheartedly. If the 15 minutes of babysitting MUST happen (did your ward lose a kid one week and this was the solution?) have each of the late parents sign up to take turns babysitting.

Anonymous said...

If you as a Primary are letting out on time, then you need to encourage the adults to also let out on time. You must not be in a ward building that has another ward after you?. We have to be out of our primary room by 5-10 after so the other ward can come in. . . It sounds to me like your ward has other issues rather than you as a primary 'babysitting' for longer. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

What are the parents doing for those 15 minutes.....talking and visiting, right? Then that is ok for Primary children too. Right? Otherwise, you are setting up a double standard and the children will start to resent it once they catch on to the reason. There is an assumption that you will take care of them, but if you make it clear that when church is over then the responsibility goes to the parents. It is a chronic problem but your ward is specifically enabling it to continue. Would't we all love 15 minutes uninterrupted visiting time as well? We, as primary leaders, are "on" as soon as sacrament ends, most other members don't have duty as long as we do. You don't need to add any more time to your duty as Primary leaders. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for your very helpful comments and suggestions. After considering my concerns, the Primary Presidency decided to let the children visit after Primary--as long as their behavior doesn't get out of hand. I appreciated the way many of you validated my concerns--because I was worried that maybe I was just being a complainer! And now I have lots of new ideas that I'll be able to use in other situations. I'm very greatful for your ideas and support.
Jenny in NC

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