Did you know there are two main roles a Buddy can fill? There is an experience Buddy and a one-on-one Buddy. Their training is the same, but their roles are slightly different. Let’s explore the differences and answer some common questions about these roles.
What’s an experience Buddy?
Experience Buddies work together with the coach for their experience. They do not have a specific child they’ve been paired with. They will push into any room that needs extra support.
- A coach might ask the experience Buddy to push into Under the Sea to help a child who is melting down because they don’t want to transition from free play to clean-up time.
- An experience Buddy is on-hand and ready to serve if a new family attends your campus with their child who has special needs. We won’t have to scramble to find support—the experience Buddy will step in and serve as a one-on-one Buddy with the child until the child is assigned their own one-on-one Buddy, if needed.
- An experience Buddy will work with the coach to figure out which rooms might need extra support. A child who is having a bad week for the third week in a row probably needs some extra support from a Buddy.
- An experience Buddy will get to know when rooms are transitioning and can help the room keep order. (Push into rooms with bounce houses or climbers during clean-up time to help kids transition away from them to small groups easily.)
- Check Konnect during small group activity time. You can offer to support a child who is having trouble staying with their group by creating your own one-on-one group.
- An experience Buddy is available to offer calming techniques, sensory support, breaks, etc. to a child who becomes dysregulated for any reason.
How many experience Buddies do we need?
You’ll need at least one experience Buddy at each experience. If you have more, even better!
What is a one-on-one Buddy?
A one-on-one Buddy will work with just one child. They may work together with another Buddy to support a child, in other words, a Buddy might actually serve as two-on-one if a child has complex needs.
- They will work with the Fun Facts and Helpful Hints from the parent to use interventions and strategies for calming the child that the parents suggest.
- They can get to know the family of the child they serve.
- They may exchange phone numbers, if desired, so the family can text them directly if their child won’t be able to attend church for any reason.
- See more ideas here on what you’ll do with your special LifeKid on the weekend.
What if I’m a one-on-one Buddy and my special LifeKid doesn’t show up?
It can be difficult for a special LifeKid to attend regularly. The child may be sick more often than their peers or have anxiety issues that hinder their ability to make it to LifeKids every week. Don’t worry. You’re still needed!
- Reach out to the family. Let your special LifeKid know you missed them. Send their parent a text or a short video of you at LifeKids to say you’d love to see them again next week. Tell them something you’re proud of them for, like, “I heard you made it all the way to the parking lot this week, but you were feeling too anxious to come in. Next week, I can meet you out there and we can walk in together!” or, “I heard you’re sick. I pray Jesus helps you feel better fast!”
- Write a note. Send the child you work with a LifeKids note. Your child will feel your support when they receive it later in the week.
- Serve anyway. Reach out to your LifeKids staff and let them know. Having an extra on-call Buddy for any experience is a win for LifeKids. Let your experience coach know you’re available for any child who needs extra assistance.