Weekly Thoughts and Tips

January 2014


A Smooth Transition to the Nursery

By Hilary Watkins Lemon
January 31, 2014

Our son will start attending nursery in a few weeks. As a parent, I’m excited for him to begin classes with other children his age, but I can’t help but think of all the things he hasn’t mastered yet, such as sitting in a chair without tipping it over, keeping his snack on the table, or sharing toys. I began to feel some anxiety for my headstrong and energetic toddler.

I haven’t served in the nursery, so I wasn’t entirely sure what our little one could expect on his first day. I turned to the introduction of Behold Your Little Ones for more information and learned a few ways to help my son transition well to nursery from the Letter to Parents. In the upcoming weeks, I plan to look at the “Sharing in the Nursery” activity page from this month’s Friend with my son. We’ll continue to practice folding our arms during prayer and singing some favorite Primary songs. Sometimes new behaviors and routines seem to sink in slowly with young children, but remembering that Jesus Christ loved little children reminds me that my son is already primed to be taught and to feel the Spirit.

Quick Clean

By Jenn Wilks
January 24, 2014

Teaching children the importance of working hard and being responsible isn't always easy. But with a little creativity, it can be fun. To help my children learn to take care of our home, I take a "before" picture of one room in the house, set a timer for five or ten minutes, and tell everyone that they only have to clean until the timer beeps as long as they work hard the whole time. The amount of time is short enough that they don't get burned out or discouraged, and with everyone working together, there is usually a vast improvement. Then I take an "after" picture of the room and we all look at the pictures together. My children love looking at what a difference they made in such a short time. Then I let them have some free time as a reward for working hard. It's been a great way to help everyone learn to take good care of our home.

Three Ways to Use the Same Pictures

By Maggie Zug
January 17, 2014

Lesson 17 of the Nursery Manual, "Behold Your Little Ones," has some great line drawings and a fun idea for making an "I Will Share" cube. I liked the drawings so much that I came up with a couple of other ways to use them. First I made a spinner. I like spinners because they are perfect for little hands to stay active and learning. Like the cubes, they are great for repetition without the order getting boring. I made my spinner from foam and held it together with buttons wired to the top and bottom. I colored and laminated the pictures from the manual and taped them to the spinner so that it can be re-used with other pictures later. I also made the pictures into a booklet. I glued pictures onto paper, laminated the pages, and used inexpensive coil binding to hold it all together. These make great quiet books!

Finding Lessons in Life

By Joy Jones, Primary general board
January 10, 2014

While raising our family, we looked for chances to relate everyday activities to gospel principles. We once visited a large maze with high walls where it was easy to get lost and separated from each other. In the center of the maze was a tower with a man standing on top. “Lost” guests could look to him for help, and he would point them in the right direction. We compared this experience to our living prophet and seer. We testified to our children that the prophet can give us spiritual guidance and direction to prevent our wandering off the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father.

We recently received a text from our oldest son telling us about a family home evening lesson he had taught to his family. We were surprised to learn that it was the same “maze and prophets” lesson he had been taught years before. He had remembered the prophet on the tower!  

Lesson 10 of Teaching, No Greater Call reminds us, “You can find lessons of life in the things you do and observe each day. As you ponder and pray about a lesson and about the people you teach, your surroundings can come alive with answers to questions and examples of gospel principles” (page 22). A simple family outing provided our family a wonderful gospel lesson. What will you find in your day?

New in the Friend for 2014

By Marissa Widdison
January 3, 2014

This year's Friend is packed full of fun and inspirational messages that you can use at home and in Primary. Here's a sampling of good things to come:

Dear Parents and Teachers—The back cover of the Friend will now include a message to you, as well as ideas for using the Friend to teach your little ones.

Family Fun Time—A new page that goes along with the first story in the magazine, this feature is especially helpful for family home evening. It will include activities, recipes, and ideas for talking with your children.

Friends around the World—In 2014 the Friend is highlighting a different country each month with a photo story, a paper figure to color, and activities and recipes. In January, we've given readers a passport that they can cut out, and each month we'll give them a stamp to add to that passport. You can find all of these stories and activities in one place (and print out extra stamps and passports) by visiting FriendsaroundtheWorld.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Conference links—You might notice more URL links in upcoming issues than ever before. Some of those links will take you to new pages on ChurchofJesusChrist.org that support messages from the most recent general conference talks. These special pages include material for all age groups. For example, this month's back cover encourages readers to take a look atChurchofJesusChrist.org/go/FRClosertoChrist.