Helping Children Appreciate Conference
September 22, 2017
With general conference just around the corner, you may be looking for some activities, printables, and ideas for helping your young ones pay attention to the important messages that will be swirling all around them. Well, never fear—we’re here to help!
- Print a new “Conference Quest” from the October 2017 Friend.
- Visit the LHTC topic “General Conference” to find other stories, activities, and media related to general conference.
- Look around the “Activities for Children” section of the general conference site, which has lots of printable options.
- Add the new women leader cards from the September and October 2017 Friend to your collection. You can find cards of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles here.
- Read what other “teaching tips” parents have shared in the past.
We’d love to hear what fresh ideas you have for helping your children participate in general conference! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Weekly Thoughts and Tips” in the subject line.
A Friend During an Emergency
September 15, 2017
Recent natural disasters around the world might prompt some families to think about their emergency preparedness plans right about now. If your family is refreshing your supplies, here’s an idea—try including a few past copies of the Friend in your emergency kit! The Auston family in Florida found that reading the Friend and doing the activities helped their children pass the time during hurricane Irma. The uplifting words and cheerful artwork may bring a much-needed dose of comfort to your kids during an otherwise unsettling situation. Let’s do all we can to help our children weather whatever storms come their way!
Nurturing Friendship Skills
By Kim Webb Reid
September 8, 2017
“It is fun to have a friend who will play with you. … But to have a friend, you must be a friend, too” (Children’s Songbook, 262). Children develop different friendship skills at different ages. At three, they often like to play in pairs but have trouble sharing. By four, they can cooperate more easily and like playing either in groups or with a special friend. But five-year-olds often prefer being with a parent to playing with friends.
Here are some ways to nurture good friendship skills at any age:
- Encourage sharing. When your child shares a snack with a friend, point out the friend’s happy reaction. “Look, sharing your snack made your friend Eva smile!”
- Teach empathy. If a child is being left out, you could ask, “I wonder why Joel looks sad? What could you do to help him feel happy?”
- Encourage problem solving. When friends disagree, you can explain, “Friends don’t always agree, but friends don’t hurt each other. Use kind words to solve the problem.”
- Tell stories. When reading stories, point out how the characters are good friends to each other and how we can be like them.
- Use the scriptures. The stories of Jesus and other teachings from the scriptures can help young children learn about loving, forgiving, and helping others—laying the foundation for a lifetime of being a good friend.
Helping Children Cope with Natural Disasters
By Marissa Widdison
September 1, 2017
The recent flooding in Texas, USA, has made me think about how to help children cope with the anxiety of hearing about natural disasters, experiencing them first-hand, or seeing scary images on the news. As a child growing up in earthquake country, I remember some of the things that helped me. I also dug through past issues of the Friend and found some great stories that may help—including one from the new September magazine! Here are a few ideas that may work for your family, or at least may prompt some ideas of your own.
- Explain what’s happening in simple terms. Don’t include too many scary details, but say enough so that it’s not a mysterious thing (which can seem even scarier to a kid). Some kids may want to know more about what’s going on, and some may be fine with a very basic answer. Let their question guide how much detail you provide.
- Be aware of what news your child is watching. Watch news coverage together and be available to answer questions.
- When your family is safe, help your child feel that safety deeply. Help them be “in the moment” and breathe deeply, feel your hug, relax, and know that things are OK.
- Practice how to act during an emergency. For example, my family periodically had an earthquake drill as part of a family home evening. I felt comforted knowing that even if something scary happened, I knew what to do. You could also involve your children in preparedness activities such as creating a 72-hour kit.
- Teach your kids to look for the helpers. Focus on the way people are helping each other even during scary times.
- Empower children to help alleviate suffering in whatever way they can. As a family, you could donate toys to a relief organization, help clean up a damaged neighborhood, write encouraging letters to those in affected areas, or donate money to the Church’s humanitarian aid fund. There’s always some way to help!
- Pray for peace. Establish a pattern of family prayer that includes praying for your own peace and safety, as well praying for specific groups who are in crisis.
Here are stories from the Friend about natural disasters:
- “Earrings for Jasmine” (September 2017 Friend). Abby welcomes a girl who moved into her neighborhood after losing her home in a flood.
- “Buckets of Mud” (June 2016 Friend). Tayson and his dad help shovel mud out of a neighbor’s basement.
- “Connor to the Rescue” (January 2015 Friend). After learning about an earthquake, Connor decides to donate money to humanitarian aid.
- “Tornado!” (September 2014 Friend). Owen suggests a prayer and some games to help calm his family in a tornado shelter.
- “Worldwide Helpers” (June 2012 Friend). Follow Hunter as he visits the Church’s Humanitarian Center and learns about how the Church helps those in need.