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Family Home Evening for Babies

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Family home evening can sometimes be a challenge because we don't know what to do. This is especially true for those of us with only a baby. There are plenty of ideas for single members, couples, and families, but I have yet to find good suggestions for planning a family home evening lesson for a baby (not yet in Nursery). So I compiled my own list:
  • Read gospel-related board books. They are short and introduce common scripture stories in a very simple manner.
  • Read the scriptures. Elder Bednar said, "Youth of all ages, even infants, can and do respond to the distinctive spirit of the Book of Mormon. Children may not understand all of the words and stories, but they certainly can feel the 'familiar spirit' described by Isaiah (Isaiah 29:4; see also 2 Nephi 26:16)."
  • Sing Primary songs together. There is no better way to invite the Spirit, teach basic gospel principles, and prepare your baby for Nursery and Primary. Sing interactive songs to get wiggles out and then move to reverent ones. Sing the same ones week after week so your baby will learn them through the repetition.
  • Hold a picture of Jesus and talk about Him. Hang the picture in the baby's room. You can also do this with a picture of the prophet, temple, or your family, including relatives who live far away.
  • Tell simple stories using a flannel board or finger puppets.
  • Take the baby on a nature walk and sing "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" or "All Things Bright and Beautiful."
  • Color pictures, make hand prints, or take photos to send to grandparents, sick ward members, and missionaries.
  • Skype/Facetime with friends or family, or send them video messages.
  • Play or go to the park, zoo, or other fun place. Family home evening is about family time. It doesn't always have to have a gospel lesson (though it is best to include a spiritual thought).
Not every lesson has to revolve around the baby, although it is much easier to have these kinds of lessons as the baby gets older. However, the important thing is just to have family home evening and include the baby. Don't underestimate the influence of the gospel in your baby's life. A former visiting teacher told me that every Monday for FHE she and her husband would read church board books with their baby daughter. One Monday they forgot, and the girl came to them with the books. Somehow she knew it was Monday and time for FHE.

Elder Bednar shared from his own parenting experiences:
"Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as “He’s touching me!” “Make him stop looking at me!” “Mom, he’s breathing my air!” Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.

"Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening, I believe I know how they would answer. They likely would not identify a particular prayer or a specific instance of scripture study or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson as the defining moment in their spiritual development. What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.

"Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time."

Sharing Time: What are some other good FHE lessons for babies?

Comments

Becky said…
Thanks for sharing this! I'm actually talking on Family Home Evening this Sunday and was looking for this quote from Elder Bednar! And thanks for all the ideas. Even though Levi is a toddler and not a baby it's still hard. He does appreciate the primary songs though and loves when we sing them over and over again.
We used to sing a lot in Family Home Evening. We let everyone who could choose, choose both an opening and closing song. They weren't strictly limited to gospel oriented songs, "The Wheels on the Bus" being a perennial favorite with many made up verses. We did try to sing a quiet prayer song before the prayer. We sang to our babies a lot, even before we had older chlidren to sing along. We touched them and held them, and associated that wonderful feeling with the music and the wonderful sound of the King James Bible. When my son was 14 months old, he could sing the melodies, even if the worlds were ee-de-dai-de.
Whatever is worth the parents time is important, especially Dad. If they spend their time on me, I'm important, if we spend it on the gospel, it's important. The best time to give a child that message is as their brain is still forming. Forget about the words, The Spirit and feelings make all the differenct.
Christy Monson said…
As a grandparent it is so rewarding to see our children teach their tiny ones about the Savior. Babies come with so much light, and it is wonderful to see them continue to bask in the light in their surroundings.
Anonymous said…
i wish I could have FHE with Caden- I would have so much fun with him-DAD
JKclark said…
You're right, there isn't much out there for Babies. Thanks for the ideas. I was looking into the nursery manual ideas, but my daughter just isn't quite old enough for them yet. I need to remember Bednar's quote and create patterns of consistency!

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