Tuesday, February 3, 2015

4 Small and Simple Ways to Make a Big Difference With Your Children

Morning Messages
Are your mornings as chaotic as mine?  Everyone running around trying to get ready in time to go here or there?  Seems like that is much of today's society in general.  However, there is one time that can be an eye of the storm to your mornings...breakfast!  It's more than just the most important meal of the day.  It can be one of the most important moments as well!  Add a little Morning Message and it's become a chance to set a positive tone for everyone's day before they enter the chaos of the world!

I used to read while I ate my breakfast.  As a kid it was the comics from the newspaper or of course the riveting text on the back of the cereal boxes.  When I grew older I used the time to study the scriptures since it was one of the few solitary, peaceful times of my day where I could really concentrate and contemplate.  Then, I had children...At first it was easy to keep that routine since I only had one baby and she was usually nursing or sleeping while I ate breakfast.  Then, she grew older and I felt kind of guilty for ignoring her while I read and ate.  She wasn't old enough to converse with either, so I was no longer sure what to fill the breakfast conversation/study void with.

Then, one day I realized that just because she wasn't old enough to converse, didn't mean she wasn't old enough to listen.  So, I ordered my first copy of the inspirational children's magazine, The Friend, and began reading an article a day with her.  Little did I realize that she was ACTUALLY listening and learning from these articles at a very young age!  It was amazing to me, and continues to be as we've added more children to my home.

Thus the birth of our Morning Messages.  Each morning we read a message from The Friend Magazine, sing a song to align with it (which I usually choose on the spot--no prep here! and the songs can be listened to and downloaded for free HERE!), and have a mini-discussion about the topic of the day (which is based on whatever the next article is--again no prep!).  It's become our morning ritual and daily devotional.  Something I plan to continue as my children get older, just with messages then from The New Era youth magazine.  Even my little toddler who can't fully utter the words, begs for Morning Messages, pointing to the magazine when I forget!

Scripture Stories
Anyone with toddlers and pre-schoolers at home understands the struggle to get a few moments of peace while you take a shower and get ready for the day.  At the same time, I'm always looking for ways to instill values while my children are still young and largely influenced by home life and teachings.  At our house we kill two birds with one stone because of the awesome radio program I found called Scripture Stories!  It is basically an audio-recording of a book-club done by children where they read and discuss scripture stories from the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Old Testament (yet to come).

You can find them on the Mormon Channel links HERE!
The pictures on this page that do not say Mormon Channel are the links for the picture stories that they are studying in their "book club."

As a mother, I love this program for the spiritual development it helps to produce in my children.  As a former elementary school & college teacher I love it because of the comprehension skills it develops as well!  It's exactly the kind of discussion I used to do with my students and has innumerable lessons in communication skills and reading comprehension development!  

Most of the programs are anywhere from 20-30 minutes long, and afterwards my children watch the video of the scripture story that goes along with the discussion they just listened to.  If your children struggle with the auditory, you can have them follow along in their own copy of the scripture stories books (for visual learners), or play something like blocks while they listen (for your kinesthetic learners).

Family History Friday

Since there are only so many articles in the Friend Magazine, and we didn't have enough for every weekday of the month, I decided to supplement with stories from our ancestors on Fridays, or show my kids some things from familysearch.org.  It has already become a favorite as they love looking at pictures and hearing stories from their ancestors!  When it is the week of a grandparent or great-grandparent’s birthday then I make sure we study them that week and incorporate their favorite foods and activities throughout that Friday!  It’s a work in progress but I love it already!  This last week we studied my grandma since it was her birthday and we played dolls, board games, and sewed just like she loved to do.  I forgot to get her favorite foods, but it was a fun day for all of us and brought back some great memories for me!

Family Home Evenings
If you don't already, set aside one night a week (we do Mondays) to have a little spiritual thought or lesson followed by a family activity and of course a tasty treat (my children's favorite part...okay maybe mine too! :)) This Website has some incredible resources for teaching your children just about any topic you can imagine.  You can search by topic to find lessons, activities (both on and off the computer), videos, images, you name it!

These four things are so simple and basic, but they can make a world of difference in the spirit and feeling that permeates your home!  Try them out and let me know how it goes for you!

© 2015 Leaflet Radiance All Rights Reserved


  1. Great ideas! I read to my kids each day during breakfast and lunch. They love it! ~ Your cousin, Carri :)

  2. Thanks Carri! Your kids are lucky to have an amazing mom like you!