Weekly Thoughts and Tips

November 2016


Keep Talking

By Jordan Wright
November 25, 2016

Family counseling

During this busy holiday season, we need to remember to keep talking as a family! In general conference last April, Elder M. Russell Ballard encouraged us to hold family councils. Here are a few tips to help your family have a great experience:

  • Put away electronics. Elder Ballard suggests putting phones and other devices in a basket until family-council time is over.
  • Be consistent. If you only hold family councils to discuss serious problems, you might send the message that family councils are uncomfortable and negative. If you meet regularly, your kids will feel comfortable working together through both the ups and downs of life. (It could be a great activity for Sunday!)
  • Give everyone a job. If you’re finding it hard to involve your children, give them specific responsibilities. You might have a secretary take notes, a treasurer give updates on the family finances, etc. Just make sure each family member feels involved and everyone gets a chance to speak and be heard.
  • Pray together. You can pray specifically for the needs of each family member, and express gratitude that each one is part of your family.

Good luck!

Editor’s note: Click here for a Friend story about a family who counseled together to clear some of the extra busy-ness from their Christmas calendar.

Checking In

By MaryEllen Van Engelenhoven
November 18, 2016

Child drawing

I recently read about a school teacher who had a great idea. She put two cups on her counter. One features a smiling, winking face with big “thumbs up!” The other has a sad face with eyes on the cusp of tears. Each day, students place a stick labeled with their name in one of the two cups. The teacher can see at a glance if there are kids she needs to check in with privately because they are distressed.

What a great idea for a teacher to do this. Maybe it could even work in Primary or at home?

Happy Siblings

By Kim Reid
November 11, 2016

Children and mother

Looking forward to becoming an older brother or sister can be exciting. And then baby arrives and isn’t all that playful. Envy kicks in, and before you know it, big sister asks how long baby sister is staying!

The gift and challenge of siblings is one way Heavenly Father helps young children grow. You might expect some meltdowns as your oldest deals with mixed feelings. But a few nudges from you can help them rise to their new role.

Four ways to build happy sibling relationships:

  • Quell jealousy. Sometimes the older child has to wait while you feed or change the baby. Remember to turn it around sometimes too: “Baby, you’re going to have to wait on your blanket for a minute while I help your brother.” Baby won’t understand, but brother will.
  • Recruit an ally. Give your older child jobs, like policing the family’s noise level during naptime or fetching bath-time supplies. If sister has responsibilities, she’ll feel important instead of stifled by all the changes.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Ask brother to practice teaching his teddy bears to eat with a spoon, give gentle hugs, smell flowers, or read board books. Then he’ll be ready to teach when baby is ready to learn. Help him now to see his valued place as a mentor.
  • Provide an example. Display a picture of Jesus in your home and explain that He is our Elder Brother. He can teach us everything we need to know about loving our family.