“Family Home Evening Helps: Family Home Evening with Baby,” Ensign, Jan. 2005, 73
After our daughter, Ella, was born, my husband and I started holding family home evening when she was asleep so we could discuss an adult lesson. But without our baby there, our family felt incomplete. We’ve since learned how to plan activities suited especially for babies and toddlers so we can all share the fun and learning.
1. Use music. Even infants respond to music, particularly when it’s sung by familiar voices. Sing favorite hymns and Primary songs, or play instrumental versions. Older toddlers can learn simple hand motions to songs like “Popcorn Popping” (Children’s Songbook, 242–43).
2. Display gospel-themed pictures. For a simple, toddler-friendly lesson, show a painting of the Savior and say, “This is Jesus. He loves you.” Talking about pictures of the Prophet Joseph Smith, President Gordon B. Hinckley, or a temple can help toddlers learn gospel truths.
3. Visit the temple. If you live near a temple, explore the grounds with your children as you speak reverently of the temple. Doing so will help them associate the temple with peaceful feelings. A visit to other Church sites might serve a similar purpose.
4. Teach stories creatively. Our two-year-old enjoyed making simple paper-bag puppets of Jonah and the whale, which my husband and I used to act out the story. Dolls or flannel-board figures can also help teach scripture stories.
5. Share Heavenly Father’s creations. Rub a feather or a blade of grass across your baby’s cheek, or help him or her taste snow for the first time. Explain that the Lord made the world and everything in it because He loves us.
It may be a few years before our toddler can sit still for a more traditional lesson and activity. For now, these simple teaching ideas help us share with her our love of the gospel as we establish a pattern of holding regular family home evenings together.
Melody Warnick, Cotton Manor Ward, St. George Utah Pine View Stake