Weekly Thoughts and Tips

July 2016


Book Reviews from YOU

July 29, 2016

Illustration of children looking at a book

Every year the Friend prints a Book Review page that highlights wholesome picture and chapter books for kids. (Click here to see this year’s list in the June magazine.) Now we’d like to hear what your family’s favorite books are! Maybe we’ll be able to share some of your list with our readers. Email us at friend@ChurchofJesusChrist.org with the name of the book, author, whether it’s a picture or chapter book, and short description. Thanks in advance for your great reviews!

Ideas for Pioneer Day

By Marissa Widdison
July 22, 2016

Family looking at pictures

Even if none of your ancestors crossed the plains in covered wagons, your family can have a fun and meaningful Pioneer Day holiday! Here are some ideas that don’t include bonnets or suspenders.

  • Talk about who the gospel pioneer is in your family tree. Who was the first person to join the Church? If you are the pioneers, make sure to write down your conversion stories and testimonies so future generations will have them.
  • What stories do you know about your ancestors? (Now may be a time to poke around FamilySearch.org and look at your family tree!) What things did they pioneer? For example, who was the first person to move to the country where you are living? Who was the first person to finish school? Who was the first person to drive an automobile? If you don’t know these answers now, set some family goals to find out!
  • Read Elder Eyring’s message on pages 2–3 of this month’s Friend and print copies of the bookmark for everyone in your family. Talk about what things you can do to be an example to others and to create a beautiful family heritage for future generations.

Summer Bookworms

By Maryssa Dennis
July 15, 2016

boy looking at books

For many kids, summer break is in full swing. That means outdoor adventures, video games, and best of all—no school! But how can you help prevent their brains from turning to mush while they’re away from the classroom? Here’s a tried-and-true method: weave reading into their summer adventures. 

Reading might be the last thing your kids want to do with their extra time. Maybe they have trouble with it, like “Ryan the Unstoppable Reader” on page 16 of this month’s Friend. If that’s the case, you may need to add a little motivation. Your local library might have a fun summer reading program that’ll do the trick. Or you can start your own! Make up a rewards system. For every book they read, let them pick a small treat or toy. For every five, buy them a new toy. For every ten, take them on an excursion. Help them pick out books they’ll enjoy and track their progress on a chart.

Hopefully with time, your kids won’t need motivation to read—they’ll do it because they like it. Show them that learning is fun! It might make the transition back into school a little easier.

Topical Treasure Hunt

By Jenna Koford
July 8, 2016

Boy and girl reading the scriptures

Looking for a way to spice up your family scripture study? Try a topical scripture hunt! Ask your child what his or her favorite topic is, then search a block of text together for times the scriptures mention it. This is also a good way to help kids learn and immediately recognize gospel-related sight words.

Practice Sharing

By Kim Reid
July 1, 2016

Kids fighting

Even before your child yanks a toy out of their sibling’s hands for the first time, you can begin teaching the concept of sharing. It’s normal for children to feel attached to things. Also, very young children don’t understand that others have feelings like their own. Empathy develops gradually in the preschool years.

You can help your child practice fairness by taking turns. Setting a timer can help. Here are some tips:

  • Let your children start by sharing things they don’t care about too much. Then they can see how good sharing feels when they’re not too anxious about their toys.
  • Make a treat and invite your children to serve it to each other.
  • Allow your child to put away favorite toys before friends come to play. Anything left out for playtime is fair game. (And playtime is no fun for anyone if nothing is left out.)
  • Teach by sharing! Lend books to your friends. Share your snacks with your kids. Show how happy it makes you to care about people more than things. When your children are old enough to begin feeling generous too, they’ll know how to show it from the ways you’ve shared.