Weekly Thoughts and Tips

March 2016


Children and Grief

By Lori Fuller
March 25, 2016

Family mourning at a funeral

There are many myths about grief, especially when it comes to children. Some might even feel that children are too young to understand death. But children are not too young to grieve, and they are not too young to know that their lives will be altered by the death of someone they love.

Excellent resources are available to help understand possible grief reactions in children at different ages. Some important things to know are that there’s no one right way to feel and that children will most likely re-grieve as they grow older.

The plan of salvation assures us that we can see our loved ones again. But that doesn’t keep us from missing them now. You can use the story “Fishing Buddies” and the sidebar “When Someone We Love Dies” in the March 2016 Friend to help children understand that grief is OK. You could also read the story of Lazarus to see how Jesus Christ is with us in our grieving. If you haven’t had someone close to you die, you can use the tips in the sidebar to help you and your children help those who have.

Editor’s note: Click here for additional resources about talking with children about death.

The Power of Looking Back

By Marissa Widdison
March 18, 2016

Girls looking at a photo album

Some of my favorite family moments have been the times when we are relaxing in the front room, watching old family videos and flipping through albums of photos. There is a sweet feeling that comes from remembering past adventures we shared as a family. There’s also a feeling of strength that comes from realizing all of the trials we’ve survived together. There are humorous moments, too—yes, Grandma and Grandpa really did wear matching Hawaiian shirts sometimes—and excellent opportunities for sharing other family history stories. I have a testimony of the power of looking back!

Along those lines, have you seen the “Happy Sabbath” activity in this month’s Friend? It provides a bingo card that your kids could use while watching family videos or looking through albums. And on the Friend website, you can download a printable version of the original card, as well as three other versions of the card with the pictures in different orders. I’m looking forward to laminating these and pulling them out from time to time—along with our VHS cassette tapes!

Apostle Activity FHE

By Jeanine Crane
March 11, 2016

Hand holding a paper airplane

Every year before general conference, our family reviews and learns a little about the First Presidency and Apostles. It helps my children focus on conference messages when they recognize the faces, know the names, and know a fun fact about those they are listening to.

One year I decided that I wanted to make our family home evenings leading up to conference a little more interactive and memorable. So each week we learned about one leader. Then we did an activity that correlates with their life story. For example:

  • Fishing because President Monson loves to fish.
  • Baking banana bread because President Eyring enjoys baking bread with his family.
  • Making and flying paper airplanes because President Uchtdorf was a pilot.
  • Playing backyard football because Elder Holland, Elder Cook, and Elder Bednar played football. (Elder Bednar even met his wife while playing flag football!)

I've found that as my children really get to know the Church leaders they are much more engaged and likely to listen during general conference.

Family Proclamation “Go Fish!”

By Jocelyn Christensen
March 4, 2016

Girl coloring flash cards

I loved an idea I once saw in a magazine about encouraging kids to create their own original mini-works of art to use as trading cards. I adapted that idea by directing my children to use their own depictions of familiar things in our family to be used as our own personalized game of “Go Fish!”

Since they are so young I wrote the names of the items on each card. I gave them four pre-trimmed index cards at a time and asked them to draw items on each card. I first focused on words from "The Family: A Proclamation to the World”—home, temple, Mom & Dad, baby, FHE, family dinner, love, etc. Then I added a few items that were specific to our family and that kids would easily recognize, like Daddy’s car, doggie, blankie, and so on.

You could choose to make cards representing any words from the proclamation or from your family’s life. The great thing is that you don’t have to draw well, you just try to make all four cards look alike as best you can! My four-year-old daughter did a pretty decent job, and I’ll have my older son draw a few when he gets home from school. Then we’ll plan on playing it during family home evening. I think the kids are going to enjoy playing with a game that they created, and it will make learning about the proclamation that much more personal and memorable.