As a kid, I was always getting into trouble in church choir. I would fool around, talk to my friends, make fun of the director and sing loud and goofy at times, but I loved to sing and perform, so apparently the director must have had the patience of Job to tolerate me. By doing that, he did not squelch my passion for singing. Years later, I found Chuck, who admits he behaved much the same as I had. This explains how sometimes it is either Chuck or I who is misbehaving the most during children’s choir — moments the children totally love to watch as we “chastise” each other to behave!
So clearly patience and tolerance on the part of the director is important. Adults need to set a good example by having fun with limits –and getting back to the business of learning songs.
Siblings generally do best when separated. In the younger choirs, we have been known to lift/slide the child in the chair, without missing a singing beat, and move them away from each other, repositioning them with a smile and a wink!
The older kids need leadership roles; such as solos during practice, group leaders for rounds, or passing out music. Have them hang around after the other’s leave so you can tell them how much you appreciate them being there to show the youngest children how to behave. That is such a better way to handle it than to embarrass them by singling them out for any of the “kid” misbehaviors.
In rare cases, we have asked a parent to stay with us and “help” in choir. One visit generally resolves any issues!
Kids behave better in places they want to be, where they feel welcome, and where they sense that they can contribute to the church and be appreciated.
Because the children know that we respect them for trying hard and tackling new songs and new experiences outside their comfort zone, they respect us as leaders.
As long as they respect you, you will be able to control them.
And don’t forget — prayer really helps!!!