Weekly Thoughts and Tips

May 2016


Family Testimony Meetings

By Maryssa Dennis
May 27, 2016

Family at a table

Family testimony meetings, as suggested on page 32 of this month’s Friend, are a great way to invite the Spirit into your home and help children learn to share in a safe space. Your kids may not be sure what a testimony is. Explain that when you “bear your testimony,” you say the things you know or believe are true about the gospel. You don’t have to know something perfectly to have a testimony. Help your kids focus on the good feelings they have about gospel principles, like prayer or prophets. Invite them to use simple statements that reflect their honest feelings or experiences, such as:

  • Heavenly Father listens to my prayers.
  • Jesus Christ is my Savior.
  • The Book of Mormon teaches me what is true.
  • I am happy when I make good choices.
  • Our family will be together forever.
  • The Holy Ghost helps me choose the right.
  • President Monson is a prophet, and Heavenly Father tells him how to lead the Church.

A Delightful Day, Hour by Hour

By Jocelyn Christensen
May 20, 2016

Girl writing on a board

We've been working as a family not only to keep the Sabbath day holy, but to "make it a delight". This is challenging, especially with young children. After a long afternoon together, and in the absence of their normal playtime activities, they find it hard to keep themselves occupied. Recently a sister offered this advice: If you're having trouble making the Sabbath a delight, try taking it one hour at a time.

I applied her advice and tried to find ways to fill each hour with good things we can do together. I posted a dry-erase board in a highly visible area of our home and listed the hours of the Sabbath on it. Under each time slot, I listed things members of the family could do on their own or together as a family: writing a thank-you note, doing a special craft, making a snack, Skyping with a cousin, planning FHE, having quiet time, doing family history indexing, performing a service, etc. We’ve also now set aside time on Sundays to hold family council, which is another thing our children have really come to love.

Since I list more than one option under each time slot, there is flexibility in what we want, need, or are able to do together. It no longer feels like a struggle to help our family find fun things to do, and my children are constantly looking forward to the hour ahead. Now at the end of the day on Sunday, I hear my 10 year-old son express gratitude in our family prayer for "the fun day we just had," and I know that he means it! We all do!

Names and Places

By Marissa Widdison
May 13, 2016

Strips of paper

It’s never too late to learn from your parents. Last weekend my dad was teaching the older Primary kids, and he introduced me to a classroom tool he uses. He said that his students were having trouble remembering if an unfamiliar name from the Book of Mormon was the name of a person or the name of a place. So now Dad prints the names they will encounter on colored paper: blue for people and yellow for places. As they read the scriptures in class, they pull these cards out of an envelope and post them on the chalkboard to help keep it all straight. I love the idea itself, but I also love that it is a good example of getting to know your students and making an effort to meet their specific needs.

More Willing Workers

By Kim Reid
May 6, 2016

Young boy unloading a dishwasher

Most children are experts at avoiding chores, like Ana in “The Laundry Monster” in this month’s Friend Junior. They simply don’t want to have their fun interrupted. Even when your child protests and procrastinates, keep at it. Create a consistent routine so your child knows what’s expected. Someday you’ll both feel the satisfaction of a job well done!

Try these tips to help your child become a more willing worker:

  • Give children a little time to finish whatever fun thing they’re doing. Set a timer and say, “When the timer rings in three minutes, it’s time to pick up the toys.”
  • Draw pictures of your child’s chores and some favorite activities on a sheet of paper. Slide it into a plastic page protector. With a non-permanent marker, children can cross off chores and circle an activity to do after.
  • Instead of saying, “No painting until after you clear your dishes from the table,” try saying, “After you clear your dishes, then I will get your paints out.” This small change in wording helps young children see their choice more clearly.
  • Make tasks playful. Play a favorite song and race to get all the toys put away before the song ends. Sing and dance while sweeping the floor.
  • If your child still resists, allow natural consequences. For example, when toys are left on the floor, they can get lost or broken. It can be hard to allow consequences to upset your child. Remember that following through teaches children the eternal law of the harvest (see Galatians 6).

You can read past letters at FriendFPLO.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.