Family Home Evening can be a challenge. And I’ll admit, that my oldest child is ten, so I don’t have tons of experience. However, in our home, our kids love family home evening. I’m not telling this to you to brag, but maybe to share an insight that has worked really well in our home.
We let the kids teach.
My opinion is – if kids can give a talk in church, then they can probably teach Family Home Evening. So, even our three year old gets a chance to pick out a subject and then teach the lesson.
Letting young children teach
With young kids, you obviously will find yourself helping them teach the lesson. If you have a three or four year old, then the lessons they give may be more or less a primary talk. But that’s okay! Help them write a talk. Find pictures for them to display as they give their lesson. And then, help them give it (whisper in their ear!). And that’s it. The lesson will be short, but you will have a lesson where your three-year-old actually enjoys himself/herself and participates.
Letting the young children helps to set a pattern for Family Home Evening. They will also love the special attention you pay to them.
Letting Elementary age children teach
As the kids get a little older, they still require a lot of coaching, but you can help teach them to give lessons rather than talks. Again, this will be a little bit of work for you, but don’t dictate what should be taught. Think of offering ideas – like games, crafts, or stories to help emphasize the lesson. Then the kids can figure out what they want to do.
When planning, let your child be “in charge”. Help them out by giving good advice. If you are patient and smart about it, then you will be able to work on the lesson together and have a really good time.
Another great thing about letting children this age teach is that you can have the chance to teach them these principles of the gospel – one-on-one. Typically a child can’t teach a lesson right off the bat. You may have to teach the principle to them before they are then able to teach the rest of the family. Taking time to help my children learn the gospel principles before teaching FHE has been some of the best time I’ve spent with my kids. It can be a lot of fun, and it is sometimes even more rewarding than Family Home Evening, itself!
Letting older elementary age children teach
My kids are starting to get older, and as they do, I let them do more and more on their own. There are times when my daughters teach the entire lesson themselves. Often, I will need to remind them that they have the lesson, and I will ask them if they understand what it means.
As they’ve gotten older, I have hesitated planning so much of the lesson for them. If they don’t understand a concept, I encourage them to look it up in the topical guide, or online at lds.org. I may help them find a story from the Friend, but then I have them read it (on their own), and then tell me what it was about. Instead of giving them ideas for the lesson, I try to ask questions that will help them to think of their own ideas.
And this totally works! As my children are getting older, they are getting better at planning the entire lesson and activity on their own. If not completely on their own, then I only need to say one thing or idea, and they will be able to use that as a springboard for an entire lesson.
Letting youth/teenagers teach
I don’t have any advice on this because I haven’t yet experienced teenagers. I suppose that I will continue on the path I’m on – allowing them to present the lesson as they choose.
Letting Adults teach
My husband and I also take turns teaching Family Home Evening. We take turns with the rest of the family, and we don’t teach any more or less than any of the other family members do.
One of my favorite things about letting everyone have a chance to teach is seeing how much the children have grown because of their own lessons.
When I teach a lesson, I always learn so much more than I’m able to teach. I figure, why not let my kids have this experience. They may not teach everyone else, but they will learn themselves. I’m hoping if they remember anything about Family Home Evening, then they remember the lessons that they taught. If they only pay attention to the lessons they teach, then I can rest assured that they are paying attention at least once every 5 weeks.
Little by little, over time, they will have taught hundreds of lessons. I think that these will stick with them more than anything I say.
Another advantage of having every family member teach is that we are exposed to many styles. Each of our lessons are very different – in style and presentation. I love this! We never get bored. The kids aren’t having too many 3-year-old talks, or craft activities. They aren’t playing cards every week. They aren’t listening to dad’s speeches. And I’m not planning some insane-over-the-top lesson every week. We get something different each week. I’ve noticed that, in this variety, all of the needs of our family are met.
So…give it a try – let other people teach. It can be scary, giving up power, but I know that it can be super-rewarding.