Weekly Thoughts and Tips

November 2017


Involving Nonverbal Children in Primary

By Julie Lopez
November 17, 2017

Boy in a wheelchair

An important part of leading Primary is finding ways for everyone to participate. It can be challenging to include nonverbal children, like my daughter, and it can be tempting and easier to just let them sit on the sidelines. As Primary chorister, even I struggle to think of ways to involve them—especially when everyone else is raising their hand and begging for a turn—but we can bless the whole Primary when we do. These little ones can help us learn to understand and love despite differences, and to see these beautiful children for who they are. People often ask me how much my daughter can understand. I tell them that we don’t know, but we should act like she can understand everything because her spirit is there, just like yours and mine. If you serve in a Primary that includes a disabled child, it can be helpful to ask the parents for specific ways their child can participate. For example, my daughter can do these things, with some assistance:

  1. Hold a picture
  2. Choose a picture
  3. Draw on a tablet
  4. Do simple sign language with the songs
  5. Shake a noisemaker
  6. Choose between two objects
  7. Bang a rhythm stick
  8. Put a sticky picture on the board
  9. Answer to a simple question
  10. Give a modified talk, scripture, or prayer

Abilities in special-needs kids vary widely, but never assume that “they just can’t.” A lot of times they will surprise you! One quick disclaimer, though: Medically fragile children can be exhausted by the end of the church. If they are falling asleep, they may need to be allowed to sleep.

Sticky-Note Conference Review

By Myra Johnson
November 10, 2017

Fireplace with sticky notes

Editor’s note: Here’s an idea you could try during family night or any other time you review conference messages. Don’t forget to check out the conference section in the first part of the November Friend!

We write down interesting thoughts, ideas, and impressions from general conference on sticky notes. Sometimes it was a whole sentence, and other times it was only one or two words. Then, we stick the note to the fireplace. The entire family has loved watching our quote wall grow and grow. It’s a great conference activity for everyone in the family, from four years old to 40!

Helping Children Appreciate Good Music

By Kim Webb Reid
November 3, 2017

Little boy with a guitar

Because the song of the righteous is a prayer (see D&C 25:12), music has power to invite the Holy Ghost and bless your family. Whether your musical skill includes playing the piano or pressing a play button, use that gift to help your little ones.

Here are some ideas:

  • When your little ones are getting grouchy, you can soften their hearts with a song. Singing a reverent Primary song together or playing sacred music in the background can turn frowns upside down.
  • On a rainy day when you’re stuck inside, boost your child’s mood and heart rate by dancing to fast-moving action songs. You’ll be building their motor skills too.
  • Singing silly rhyming songs is a great way to have fun together and teach your child new words.
  • To encourage creativity, find some classical pieces. Play the music and give your child some art supplies. Ask them to paint something that matches the music. They’ll love the chance for self-expression, and you’ll love that they’re learning to enjoy good music.