As part of Sunday Serve, youth are helping lead children’s groups. Here is the overview of the safeguarding training we did with the young leaders aged 12-18:
If you need to be trained in safeguarding it means you have a very special opportunity. The opportunity to influence and impact a child’s life. This is an exciting opportunity but quite a big responsibility.
Church life is about relationship – Jesus summed up living well as ‘Love God’ and ‘Love people’. This is the lens which we should do everything through especially leading, helping and working with children.
Your mission with the work you do with children is to be someone who creates a safe, fun, loving, joy filled atmosphere that children come into, are loved and believed in.
Protecting children – As a young leader you should NEVER have sole responsibility for any children. There should always be an adult with you.
Protecting ourselves as leaders – we do everything professionally and responsibly
Complying fully with good practice – we have an extensive policy written out for how young leaders should conduct themselves. young-leaders-sunday-good-practice
To encourage and support – children will be coming in from completely different places. Some may be coming from really encouraging families and may be in a really good mood when they get to church on a Sunday, others might have been shouted at, put down and been made to feel awful that morning, some may see church as the only safe place they come to all week, and some won’t want to be there so with every child that walks through the door we all need to be super welcoming and positive.
To generate an atmosphere of trust and openness – As you grow in relationship with the children you work with, they will (hopefully) learn that you are trustworthy and may start to share things with you. This is a huge honour and one of the best things about working with children.
Never to lose your temper or put a child down – KYLO Keep your love on. PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT IS TOTALLY FOBIDDEN. Sometimes children will push you to the end of your patience, if you feel like you are getting angry or you might lose your temper, get an adult involved. Don’t shout or scream, it’s all about controlling yourself.
To be a role model – Every child will be looking up to you, you are really cool in their eyes, mainly because you are older. The way you act and re-act is going to be noticed and probably copied.
Always work in public view – never be alone in a room with a child where you can’t be seen or heard.
Always be aware of your language – Absolutely no swearing or blasphemy (using ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ as swear words)
Always be inclusive and affirming – Never reject a child, leave a child out or make fun of a child or leader
Think carefully about play and humour – Never engage in rough and tumble play. With humour, keep everything above board. If children don’t understand your humour it will make them feel stupid and left out.
Think carefully about touch – Physical touch is a brilliant way of building openness and relationship but you need to be careful. High fives are great, hugs are ok when initiated by children (go for a side hug!). Don’t let children sit on your lap as this may seem like favouritism and may leave some out.
Taking a child to the toilet – Tell an adult and try and take a child to a single cubicle toilet so that no other adults will be in there too. Wait outside.
Never invading a child’s privacy or pushing them to tell you things they don’t want to – Never ask leading questions. Make sure they know they can tell you anything they want to but don’t force them to tell you anything.
Responding to things a child tells you which give cause for concern – children may come and tell you things that they don’t tell anyone else. You can never promise that you won’t tell anyone else. If something is concerning, tell the leader in charge of your group and then they will deal with it. If a child does tell you something concerning, write down as much as you remember as soon as you can after the conversation.
Never make suggestive or sarcastic comments – even in fun – Again, when joking, don’t make fun of anyone. Always be careful that what you say may be misinterpreted.
Dealing with bullying – bullying is never ok and is not tolerated within TBC.If you suspect bullying to be happening, inform an adult.
WHAT DOES A GOOD YOUNG LEADER LOOK LIKE:
Prepared – mentally and spiritually – You arrive on time and you let your leader know if you aren’t going to be there, or going to be late. You always turn up willing to help any leader
Good listener and active encourager – children and leaders should feel encouraged by having spent time around you
Treats all children equally – make a special effort with those who are difficult or disruptive – Never show favouritism but KYLO
Tries to find a way of getting through to all children – keep your eyes open for anyone who may not feel included or who aren’t participating.
Demonstrated godly love – God is love and we are made in his image
Checking in with an adult – If there’s anything you are struggling with or you have any questions, go to a leader. Also – if you’re feeling brave, ask how they think you’re doing!