I don’t know what it is, but every once in a while, the Primary kids get a little ….WILD! 

All the possible reasons run through my head, “Is it a full moon?  Is it the last week of school? A holiday coming up???  Murphy’s Law???!??!?”

No matter the reason (or no reason at all!), it can be intimidating to stand in front of ALLLLLL the children and gain order!!!!

So we thought it would be helpful to share some of the secrets we use to help get the sweet kiddos to calm down, focus, and bring the energy down to a level that can invite the Spirit.  If the Spirit is felt, the love of Jesus Christ can be felt through the Primary Song words, and their faith can increase.  And that, my friends, is a win!

HERE THEY ARE!!!!! (shhhhh)

1 - Go up the microphone and start WHISSSSPERING.  The microphone is my best friend when I need to regain order.  But whispering into it, makes it hard for the children to hear – so they quiet down to be able to listen.  That’s what we want people!

2 - Just going up to the microphone and folding your arms, and say “SHHHHHHH”, “SHHHHHHHHH” (pointer finger to mouth), and then walking around the room by the noisy side of children and flapping your folded arms (hinting for them to fold their arms) and “eyeing” to individual children (in a kindly stern way).  Always give them a thumbs up, wink or nod and thank the Primary Children for being reverent.

3 - Start naming/pointing out the children who are being reverent.  “Oh!  I see ______ is being reverent, and _______ is sitting nicely in their sit, and yep,  ___________ is listening etc.  Walk around the room with your arms folded and dramatically “squint look” (SEE who's being reverent).

4 - If the children need a good focus back to me as the chorister, I go up to the microphone and say, “If you can hear me, touch your nose.  If you can hear me, touch your head.  If you can hear me, pull your ears.  If you can hear me, fold your arms.”  I start with “touch your nose” in a loud (er) voice and end with, “fold your arms” in a quieter voice (like a whisper). 

I like to switch it up and say, "If you can hear me, show me your:
Book of Mormon hands (put hands together like a book)
Prayer hands (put hands palm to palm)
Steeple hands (touch tips of fingers together to make a steeple)
Lamanite hands (like BOM Stories put feathers on back of head with one hand in front of you)
Reverence arms (fold arms)
You can make up as many as you'd like.

The children not paying attention will wonder why others are doing these actions and will follow.

5 - Use Repeating Clapping Patterns.  Tell them to repeat your clapping patterns.  Mix different amounts of time you clap, rhythms and timing and then have them repeat.  You could end with, “Now, get your listening ears on and please fold your arms”.

6 - “I want to you pretend like you’re going to blow a REEEEEALLY big balloon with me.  So you’re going to need a big breath.  (Breath in deep together – fill your lungs all the way and blow out), do it again.  And one more time to make the balloon HUUUUUGE!  Good, now fold your arms.  Zip your lips."

7 - Keep the piano playing the WHOLE Singing Time! (so there's no time for chatting in between songs).  Introduce the next song to sing and softly explain the words/meaning (show song visual on poster or flip chart or even just displaying a picture of Christ).  In between singing songs, have the pianist play some music softly.  Ask the children what they learn from each song after it is sung. 

8 - Hold up a Reverence O Meter.  It’s like a Singing Meter – but measures their volume the opposite way!  The quieter, the better!

9 - This one I personally don’t use but I saw another chorister use and thought it was cute:
“Everyone make a bubble in your mouth (hold breath and puff cheeks out) and don’t pop it until the start of our next song”.  As song starts, use pointer finger to “pop” balloon so they can sing. This prevents chatting in between songs.

10 - Play Simon says or Sister/Brother __________ (your last name) says.
I like to play the sky says when they are really wiggly or at the beginning of singing time:
The sky says:
Twirl like a tornado
Clap like Thunder
Fingers fall like rain
Float up on toes like a cloud
Sway like the wind

11 - Have a Rainstorm!
Turn off lights. 

Rub palms together
Snap fingers
Pat legs
Tap toes
Stomp feet and pat legs
and then do this in reverse order.

12 - When I pick a choosing stick (popsicle sticks with each having a Primary kids names on it) I say, "Let me see if this person is being reverent..."  And I look all around the room and wait until everyone is quiet.  If the child is not being reverent I go stand right in front of them and shuffle the sticks in the choosing-stick-can loudly. 

13 - Start singing an Action/Wiggle Song where they mimic your actions.  For example, Do as I’m Doing, Book of Mormon Stories, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, If You’re Happy and You’re Know it, etc.  At the end of the song, fold your arms so they mimic you and start speaking softly to give directions.

14 - In the microphone, start counting down slowly, “5…4…3…2...1 aaand reverence”.  Fold your arms to show the example.

15 - Bring some hand bells, a rain stick, fun leading wand (tap it on the music stand), anything that makes a noise or grabs their attention.  Not too big of a noise, but noise.  

I once said, “I have a challenge for you.  Let’s see if we can hear this push pin drop on the floor.  Shhhhhhhh. Listen for it.  Are you ready???? Here is goes!”  It was probably to most quiet they've EVER been!

16 - Before our closing song, I usually end with something like this, “Now everyone stand UP! Jump three times, turn around in a circle.  Now reach way up high and take a deep deep breath in.  Bring your arms down as you breathe out.  And do it one more time.”  Do the actions with the kids.  Then fold your arms so they are ready for the closing prayer.

17 – Recite a quick reverence poem.

Here is an example: (author unknown)
I wiggle my fingers.
I wiggle my nose.
I wiggle my shoulders.
I wiggle my nose.
No more wiggles are left in me.  So I will be still, as still as can be.

Or the Butterfly poem CLICK HERE.

You can recite this poem in the microphone before the closing prayer, at the very beginning of Singing Time or at any time you’d like them to settle down.

18 – Show a picture of Christ.  

Say, “Stand up if you know who this is.  Clap twice because He is the Christ.  Jump three times because He is your Brother.  Sit down, He is your Redeemer. Take a deep breath for He is The Life.  Fold your arms in reverence, He is your Savior and the way back to our Father in Heaven”.

"Now, let's sing a song from our hearts for Heavenly Father and Jesus so they can feel our love for Them".

Now, trust me, I’ve had some train wreck Sunday’s.  Some Sunday’s just don’t come together for some reason or another.  But hopefully you can feel prepared and armed (ha!) and not feel helpless when you can feel the energy in the room going crazy and out the roof!  Hopefully one or two of these ideas can help you with restoring and keeping REVERENCE during your Primary Singing Time.  Have confidence in yourself!  If YOU have confidence in YOU, the children will have confidence in YOU.  You can do this!!!!!

(*Last side note: If you feel your children are extra irreverent every week, speak with your Primary President and make sure to enlist the Presidency’s help, the teachers, the Bishopric, or even the Stake Primary’s.  Make sure ALL are on board with the reverence expectancies and that they model and are examples themselves.  Communication is key so that you don’t feel alone.  All leaders and teachers in the Primary room should be your advocate for respect and reverence!)


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