Weekly Thoughts and Tips

September 2016


Conference Show and Tell

September 30, 2016

Boy watching conference on a phone

What did your children like about general conference? Did the talks prompt you to set any family goals? Does your family have any conference traditions? Do you have any fun ideas for reinforcing conference messages at home during the next six months?

Please share with us by sending your child’s photo and comments to friend@ChurchofJesusChrist.org, along with a statement saying we are allowed to print it in the magazine and online. If you send it by Monday morning, we may even include your submission in the November Friend!

Happy conference weekend!

Editor’s Note: You can watch the sessions online live at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Thoughts about Women’s Session?

September 23, 2016

Girls outside a church

The women’s session of general conference is Saturday, September 24, at 6 pm MDT, and we are excited to hear from our Church leaders! For those of you who have a chance to watch the session with any Primary-aged girls, we’d love to hear what their favorite part of the session was. If you email us their thoughts this week, we may even include them in the November magazine! Just send us their comments, a photo of them, and this permission statement: “I give my permission to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to use my child’s submission and photo on the Church websites and social media platforms as well as for Church reports, print products, video, publications, and training materials.” Email it to friend@ChurchofJesusChrist.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Editor’s Note: You can watch the session online live at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Faraway Family

By Jordan Wright
September 19, 2016

Family looking at a computer

How do you help your children bond with extended family when you live far away?

Though I grew up near my grandparents and many of my cousins, I also had some aunts, uncles, and cousins who only came to visit once or twice a year. Despite living apart, we have always had strong ties. Here are some things our family has done to close the distance:

  • Photo books. Worried that her young kids wouldn’t recognize their cousins, one of my aunts filled a small album with a photo of every cousin’s face and his or her name. She often read the book with her children and told them how much each of their cousins loved them.
  • Video calls. When my grandparents were serving a mission in Hong Kong, they used a free video-calling app to spend quality time with each of their kids and grandkids. It was a great family activity, especially on Sundays.
  • Family newsletter: Every month, each of my mom’s siblings emails an update on their lives to my grandma, who compiles the emails into a newsletter and sends it out to the entire family.  When I was a kid, my mom read her favorite parts out loud to me, and I learned about the triumphs, trials, and quirks of my relatives. As an added bonus, the newsletter is an ongoing family history.

Suicide Prevention for Kids

By Marissa Widdison
September 9, 2016


Did you know that September is Suicide Prevention Month, with September 10th being World Suicide Prevention Day? Although we don’t want to traumatize children with frightening conversations about suicide,  we can help them understand the value of life, the plan of salvation, how to ask for help when they need it, and how to be a kind, comforting friend.

This month’s Friend has a story on page 34 called “A Butterfly for Courtney.” In this story, a girl finds a way to show love to her friend, who is depressed. The following page gives advice for children if they or someone they know feels sad a lot. The page has two cutout cards—one for the child to keep, and another to share with a friend.

Look for more suicide prevention material in the other Church magazines this month. Let’s encourage children at a young age to help and be helped!

Editor’s Note: Additional resources about suicide prevention can be found at PreventingSuicide.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Helping Children Choose

By Kim Reid
September 1, 2016


“Pick one,” you say.

“I pick all of them,” your young child answers.

Young children need help learning to make choices. And they learn best by watching, playing, and practicing.

Remember it’s OK to let children make choices when the consequence won’t be dangerous, like going outside on a cool fall day wearing summer sandals. Sometimes experience can be the fastest teacher.

How to help children choose:

  • When helping your little ones choose, give them just a few options so they don’t get overwhelmed. Offer a most favorite and a least favorite to make the choice easy at first.
  • While reading books together, point out the choices characters make. Take turns guessing what might happen next because of those choices. You can also do this with scripture stories.
  • Talk about choices at the grocery store: “I’m choosing between these two breakfast cereals. I think I’ll pick the one that’s better for our bodies.”
  • Use two colors of paper to make two paths on the floor. Invite your little one to follow the color she likes best. Add forks in the path so she can choose more than once.