Tips to Get Your Kids to Pay Attention to Conference
Paying attention to General Conference can be challenging under the best of circumstances, let alone when you have kids. But getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference can be even harder. Even now that my kids are grown I struggle. I wouldn't trade the ability to be comfortable and watching from home for anything. And now that it's streaming online, that option is pretty available for a lot of us, but it must makes it hard to keep my eyes open sometimes.
It isn't that I find it boring, because that definitely isn't the problem. Maybe it's the soothing, calm voices of the speakers. Combine that with the comfort of my couch and the fact that I may or may not have chosen to get dressed before it started, and I think I'm doomed from the start.
I remember being a kid during General Conference
Those days were a long time ago. Back in the days before remote controls and DVRs, when you either watched when it was on or you didn't get to see it. And if you didn't live in Utah, you went to a church to watch. I also remember dreading it because it felt boring to me. Now I love it, and it's hard to imagine that there was a time when I didn't.
So, how do you get your kids to pay attention to General Conference?
These days I feel like it's more important than ever to foster a love of listening to the prophet when he speaks in children when they are young. It sounds cliche to say it, but the world is a rougher place than it was when I was growing up, and they need the testimony and strength than comes from our modern day prophets now more than ever.
I also think it's possible to get them to pay attention and even enjoy it. With the right approach, you can turn General Conference into something that the kids will look forward to every six months.
Help your kids enjoy Conference!
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Tip #1: Make it an event
Start talking about General Conference weeks before it happens. Make sure it's on the family calendar and everyone knows about it. Have a family council to discuss it and get everyone's input on what they'd like to do to make it a special occasion. When the kids have their say in how to prepare and make it awesome, they will be more invested in participating.
Related Post: Helping Kids Learn the Come Follow Me Lessons
Tip #2: Schedule around it
Sometimes it can be hard to commit to all sessions of Conference, especially the Saturday meetings. Your kids will pay attention to General Conference when they understand that it is important enough to forego other activities in order to give it priority. â€‹
That can be hard, especially when many times kids have sports events that are scheduled for that day. Consider asking the kids how they feel about missing a game that week. Or, if that isn't an option, have a family meeting to discuss how you'll deal with the session of Conference that you're missing. It's important for them to know that it's a big deal that you're missing it. Taking the time to talk about it will send that message.
Tip #3: Start a fun family tradition
At our house, we have Conference Crepes on Sunday morning before the meeting starts. While I may make crepes other times of the year, Conference Sunday is the only time I do a Crepes Bar. I make two kinds of crepes, and put out a spread of fillings, fruit, and toppings for everyone to create their own. I am hoping to continue this tradition when my kids are married with children and inviting the whole family if they want to come.
Get your kids to pay attention to General Conference by making it a part of something bigger. It will make it feel important when it gets wrapped in a fun family tradition.
I know there are a lot of people that do cinnamon rolls for Conference, too. But your family tradition doesn't have to be about food. Maybe you could start having a special Family Home Evening the night before Conference begins. Or plan to visit the local temple and walk the grounds together. It can be simple but it should be something everyone can look forward to every six months when it's time for Conference again.
Tip #4: Pay attention to General Conference yourself
One of the simplest and best ways to get your kids to pay attention to General Conference is to make sure you are also paying attention. Even though you may be good at multi-tasking, all the kids will see is that you're doing something other than watching.
I know one of the hardest times for me is on Sunday afternoon when it is starting to be time to cook dinner. I tend to want to cook a big dinner, and that means getting up and starting rolls, etc. I am listening, because the family room and the kitchen are combined in my house, but it's important to remember that kids don't see you listening, they see you doing something else.
I have abandoned this particular need to have the dinner ready right when Conference is over so that I can continue to watch without interruption.
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Tip #5: Make sure guests coming over are on the same page
Getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference is going to be exponentially harder the more people you add to the mix. I know for many families, Conference weekend is a great time to get together. When there are no church meetings to attend, it becomes a weekend that many extended families choose to travel and visit each other. Having family come to stay is great, but before they come, discuss your expectations so everyone is working together.
Tip #6: Introduce them to the General Authorities
As you study the scriptures, your kids are learning all about the prophets and their scripture heroes. But how much do they know about the living Prophet and Apostles? Taking the time to teach them who these men are can help the kids see them as real people that live real lives, and that can go a long way to help them relate to them and want to learn what they are teaching. There is so much more to know than just their names.
Telling stories of where they were born, what kind of job they had, or stories from their youth can go a long way in getting kids to pay attention to General Conference because they will see those that are speaking in a different way.
Another great idea is to teach them about the callings of other leaders that may be speaking. What does the Presiding Bishopric do? What are the roles of the Seventy? Helping the kids to understand those roles will bring new meaning to the talks given by those leaders.
Related post: Why You Need to Participate in a General Conference Challenge
Tip #7 Take a trip to see General Conference live at the Conference Center, if possible
This may not be possible for your family depending on where you are located, but if you ever get the chance, being there in person turns General Conference into an entirely new experience. There is something about being there and being a part of the crowd that brings life to it. Getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference when you're watching it on TV the next time will be different after they've been there.
Tip #8 Make it FUN
There are a plethora of fun games and activities all over the internet that you can do to make General Conference fun for kids. Find the activity that works for your family, and if one thing doesn't work, try something else next time. And be sure to check out my General Conference Workbooks for kids over in my shop! There are two different workbooks available, with two designs for each, so be sure to take a look!
I think the important part about getting your kids to pay attention to General Conference is making sure they understand the purpose of it: that it is a sacred and important event when we get to hear our Prophet because he is speaking to us on behalf of the Savior and our Heavenly Father. So despite the activity that you choose, it should be treated in a reverent manner.
I hope these tips help you have the best General Conference experience ever! Have a tip that I didn't mention? Feel free to drop it in the comments and share!