I love the LDS General Conference! It’s right up there with Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July. We get to listen to 10 hours (including the General Women’s Broadcast) of revelation and spiritual nourishment from our church leaders. When I was a kid, I definitely didn’t understand the importance of General Conference and thought it was extremely boring. It wasn’t until I got to college and really began listening, did I start to see what I had previously been ignoring. And now I can’t get enough!
My favorite tips for adults to have a successful experience with General Conference are:
- Write down 3 questions you want answered at Conference and pray about them
- Take notes
But watching LDS General Conference with kids is a whole new story. With 4 kids under the age of 6, it’s almost impossible to pay attention…UNLESS you are prepared. Set them up for success! We’ve been working on getting our kids to try to listen to General Conference and even enjoy General Conference and every 6 months gets better and better. Of course every 6 months they get a little older too, but we’re starting to help them see the importance of General Conference at a young age so they will look to it as a source of inspiration and revelation rather than a weekend to miss church and take naps.
Here are some of my favorite tips to have a successful LDS General Conference with little kids.
Family Home Evening about General Conference
The Monday before General Conference, make sure you express to your children the importance of General Conference and that it’s a time to listen to the prophet and leaders of our church. Show them a picture of the prophet and first presidency to help them recognize them when they speak and conduct the sessions. Get them excited about!
My husband did a fun object lesson with the kids to help them understand what a prophet does. Have one child stand behind a wall or curtain so you cannot see them. They represent God. Have another child stand by the wall or curtain so only they can see the hidden child and the rest of the family. They represent the prophet. Then you and any other children represent the church. Have the hidden child whisper something to “the prophet” that only “the prophet” can hear. Then “the prophet” tells the rest of the family what was said. This helps your kids see how the prophet speaks to God and then he tells us what God has told him. He is God’s representative for the whole church.
There are lots of fun family traditions you can do during General Conference. Here are some of ours:
- I always make cinnamon rolls Saturday night so they’re ready to pop in the oven on Sunday morning.
- My husband’s family does a dinner on Sunday night with homemade chicken noodle soup and rolls, homemade ice cream, and a testimony meeting where each person shares their favorite talk or thing they learned during General Conference. This was so fun and delicious! It makes me so sad that we live too far away to participate each year, but it’s definitely something we can continue with our own family for now.
- With my own family, my mom and sisters and I would have a craft night on Saturday night during Priesthood session.
- My husband’s family also wears church clothes or at least business casual attire on Sunday to help you stay awake a little more. It’s so much harder to stay awake when you’re in snuggly sweats and pajamas.
There can be so many things to look forward to during General Conference!
I don’t know about your kids, but mine get easily bored. But the church and lots of LDS bloggers have created awesome activity pages and ideas to help your kids pay attention during conference. I’m in the Primary Presidency in our ward and I made small General Conference packets for our kids. I know lots of other ward primaries do this as well.
Some of my other favorite ideas are:
- Place a few treat buckets with different words for each bowl. When the kids hear that word, they get a piece of candy from that bowl.
- Put together a paper bag for each apostle so your kids can do an activity about that apostle when they speak.
- General Conference Bingo App
- Popsicle Stick Puzzles (our primary provided this last year and my daughter loved it!)
Strategically Plan Naps
For the really small kids, try to plan their naps during one of the sessions so you can have a little more time for yourself to listen. My two-year old still takes a nap usually around 12:30, but here in the midwest, our sessions are at 11AM-1PM and 3PM-5PM. So we can either put him to bed a little earlier or push it a little later so he can sleep through half a session. He’s a little too young to really listen anyway, so why not make a little more time where you can listen!
Watch a Session with Friends
Last General Conference some friends from our ward invited us to watch a session with them. This was great for our kids and their kids because they had friends to play with during the session and were able to entertain themselves for most of the time.
Listen to the Talks Again
When General Conference is over, I’m sure there will be some talks that you missed. With little kids, that’s just what’s going to happen even if you’re super prepared. Make sure you take time to listen or read each of the talks again (even the ones you heard!) so you can remember and do the things talked about. I like to listen to a Conference talk in the morning when I’m getting ready. You can listen to any of the talks from General Conference on the Gospel Library app, read them on the app, or read them in the Conference edition of the Ensign.
I hope some of these tips help you this weekend with General Conference and that you and your family are able to have a good experience. For at least most of it. 😉