Family Home Evening: the very thought often brings a flood of mixed emotions to parents. Faithful families want to be obedient and hold a meaningful lesson, but all too often—especially with small children—things get quickly out of control. Here are a couple of suggestions that might help make Family Home Evening a joy instead of struggle.
Family Home Evening in a Jar
This method takes some preparation, but will save families time in the long run. Pick a topic, choose a scripture, song, and story and write them on a slip of paper. Make dozens of these slips and put them into a designated FHE jar. Other things that might be added to your jar could be family outings, service, or activities, like fixing up the garden or making some treats. Google “Family Home evening in a jar” and you’ll find multiple blogs and websites teeming with ideas. Some of these blogs and websites have free downloads with the lessons already planned out that you can print off, ready to be cut and stashed away for a future FHE. Mormonshare.com has some particularly good resources.
5 Minute FHE
Short on time or patience? Take heart, parents of toddlers—you’re not alone. Register at http://fhein5.webs.com/ and get some tips for helping those “little sponges” to soak up the gospel! The five-minute modules found here can be lengthened if they continue to hold your toddler’s attention. Pro tip: make each lesson part of a series. Between four and eight short lessons provide consistency and an opportunity to expound on gospel themes more extensively. Children learn through repetition, so don’t be afraid to repeat FHE topics as needed.
Nursery Manual to the Rescue
Focus and attention span are often the culprits of disruptive Family Home Evenings. Toddlers, for example, have a very short attention span. They learn mostly by using their senses. Asking a toddler to sit still for the entire lesson is fighting a losing battle. They naturally want to be active. Visual aids, music and activities guided for their age level help keep them interested. The Nursery Manual is an excellent source for lessons geared to toddlers. Each lesson is already planned from opening to closing prayer. The topics can be adapted for the entire family.
The Family Home Evening Resource Book is available online at LDS.org. A section called Learning Fun for Infants and Toddlers provides ideas to help very young members of the family have fun learning where it is done best—in an informal, everyday setting like their homes.
With a little foresight, Family Home Evening can be rewarding for family members of all ages.