Weekly Thoughts and Tips

August 2013


Family History, We Are Doing It

By Hilary Watkins Lemon
August 30, 2013

When it comes to family history, adults and youth in the Church can research their families, submit names for proxy ordinances, attend the temple, and assist with indexing projects.

What can children do?

It’s not too early to help kids understand how they can seek out their ancestors. As a young girl, my parents and grandparents told me countless stories from our family history. They showed me pictures and took to me to places that were significant to our family’s legacy. By the time I reached adulthood, I was already familiar with my ancestral lines and felt prepared to continue the work these older generations passed on to me.

Family history work may be daunting, so start simply. Here are some ideas. Soon your children will feel their hearts turning to their fathers, and so will you!

  • Have your kids call their grandparents or other living relatives and conduct basic interviews. 
  • Gather family pictures and organize them in a way that will be useful to future generations. 
  • Help your kids record in journals a few significant moments from their own lives in journals.
  • Ask your ward clerk to provide you with the information you need to log on to familysearch.org and explore the site as a family.

Editor's note: There are some great family history resources for young people on this "Youth and Family History" site. 

Making Grown-up Content Child-friendly

By Marissa Widdison
August 23, 2013

Although the Friend is the Church's magazine specifically for children, all of the Church magazines have great material that can be adapted to teach children with a little creativity and planning.

For example, a monthly feature in the Ensign called “What We Believe” explains gospel doctrines in a simple way. In September, the topic is the priesthood. To convert these Ensign pages into a family home evening lesson for children, you could use slips of paper to cover the descriptions under each illustration. As a family, talk about what the priesthood holder is doing in each picture. Then remove the slips of paper and read the description together, making sure to explain any words that are unfamiliar. If you have teens at home, the short article on the first page might be a perfect dose of age-appropriate doctrine.


Transition Helps for Primary Teachers

By Bryce and Laurie Fifield
August 16, 2013

Transitions can be challenging for children with disabilities. For example, children with some kinds of learning challenges have difficulty changing from a hands-on activity, such as coloring, to a quiet listening activity. Even transitions between rooms or locations can trigger anxiety, acting out, crying, or other behaviors. Teachers can use some simple strategies to help children make transitions:

  • Be Prepared. Having your classroom set up, having materials ready, and being in the room before children arrive can minimize confusion and noise as class starts. This can be hard to do if you are coming from sacrament meeting or sharing time. You might want to talk to your bishop about having a helper assigned to your class.
  • Prepare the Child. You can prepare a child for transitions during Primary by letting him or her know what is going to happen. For example, you can use a series of pictures illustrating the activities of the lesson (story, song, craft, closing prayer, leave for sharing time) to show what is going to happen.
  • Get Help. Work with the child’s parents, your disability specialist, and your Primary leaders to coordinate the best solutions to help children make smooth transitions.

You can find many other good ideas at disability.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Manners Matter

By Jessica Larsen
August 9, 2013

I’m always impressed when the children of my friends know how to behave. As President Wilford Woodruff once said, “Kind words and good manners will cost you nothing and will add greatly to the happiness of those around you.” Manners matter, and you can make learning them fun! Plan a special family dinner to teach manners or have a manners tip of the week. Here are a few articles to get you started.

  • How Are Your E-Manners?” from the June 2010 Friend is especially appropriate for older children. This article includes a quiz to test how polite they are when using technology and offers tips for improvement.
  • Primary Manners” from the December 2009 Friend tells how we should act in Primary. If your Primary class has a bad case of the wiggles, this story is for you!
  • Good Manners Still Make Sense” from the August 2011 New Era includes helpful tips about dinner table etiquette, meeting people, and thank-you notes.

Using the Scriptures to Teach Children

By Larraine Rowberry, Primary general board
August 2, 2013

Reading from the scriptures in our homes and classes is powerful. I have found that by slowly reading and discussing each scripture, we are taught lessons that might have been overlooked when quickly retelling the story in our own words. 

Lesson 12 of Teaching, No Greater Call reminds us that we “can bless the lives of children by helping them become comfortable with the language of the scriptures.” Here are some ideas from the lesson for helping children become more familiar with the scriptures:

  • Use the songs "The Books in the Old Testament" (114), "The Books in the New Testament" (116), and "The Books in the Book of Mormon" (119) from the Children's Songbook to help children become familiar with the names and order of the books in the scriptures.
  • When you read scriptures together, explain the meaning of important words. Help children pronounce difficult words and names when they read aloud.
  • Have children listen for certain words, phrases, or ideas as you read.
  • Practice finding specific scripture passages using page numbers as well as references.

The gift of feeling “at home” in the scriptures is a wonderful gift to pass on to any child!