Weekly Thoughts and Tips

September 2013


A Piece of Conference Cake

By Jocelyn Christensen
September 27, 2013

As a family, we've made a goal to memorize the names and faces of the prophet and apostles before general conference. We also want our children to be able to recite one principle that each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve taught in the last conference. To do this, we will be posting their pictures in our home and reviewing their teachings during family home evening. The section of ChurchofJesusChrist.org that containsbrief video clips of each talk will really help with that. As an added incentive, my husband told the kids that if they can reach this goal, he will bake them a special cake. Yum!

Editor's note: Click here for an online matching game to help children learn the names and pictures of the prophet and apostles.

Monthly Talk Time

By Tiffany Lewis
September 20, 2013

Carrying on a tradition from our own parents, my husband and I conduct monthly interviews with our children, usually on fast Sunday. We both grew up in families where our fathers conducted regular interviews. We like that tradition, but decided to include both mom and dad in these monthly exchanges. Going off the scripture in Luke 2:52 that states, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man,” we focus on four areas with our children:

Physical well-being: sports, exercise, and nutritional goals

Academic pursuits: areas to work on and books to read

Spiritual well-being: personal prayer, scripture study, and fasting

Social well-being: issues with friends, possible playdates to schedule, etc.

We review each of these areas, taking notes so we can refer back to them each month and chart areas of change, progress, or concern. This is also a good time to review achievements in Cub Scouts and the Faith in God program. Most importantly, it's a chance for us to spend time together in a safe, loving environment and listen to the concerns of our kids.

Conference Is Coming!

By Marissa Widdison
September 13, 2013

With October approaching, now's the time to start thinking of ways to help little ones have the best possible general conference experience. The general conference topic on this site includes several stories that could be used in upcoming family nights, and the activities section has lots of good ideas that can be adapted to meet any family's situation. For example, the March 2013 Friend featured a family who set up a “Conference Concession Stand” between Saturday sessions of conference. The children paid for their snacks with paper coins that they earned through good behavior before and during the first session. What helpful traditions does your family have?

Changing Up Scripture Study

By Jessica Larsen
September 6, 2013

We know family scripture study is important, but sometimes it can get lost in the general busy-ness of our lives. If you’re looking for a little more consistency in your homes, try these ideas and find one that sticks.

  • Set a goal to consistently read for a certain number of days. Cross off each day you read on a sign that the whole family can see, or fill a jar with pennies or beans. Reward your family for reaching their goal with a game night or a special treat.
  • Track your reading visually. The Friend has published several reading charts, including “Book of Mormon Feast” in January 2012.
  • Redefine what “counts.” If we think family scripture study has to be 15 minutes of gospel insights and household harmony, we might be quickly disappointed by reality. Adapt scripture reading to meet your family’s needs. Some of my friends let their children’s ages determine how many verses they read—their children are five and three, so they read eight verses every night.
  • Make family scripture study an extension of personal study. The children in my family are older, so we put one person in charge each night. That person finds a meaningful scripture and then leads a short discussion about it. It makes scripture study interactive, and it also encourages us to have more meaningful personal study.