Monday, September 26, 2016

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Feel the Spirit on the Sabbath

Sunday mornings with kids. Kids on Sunday mornings. Mornings with kids.....on Sundays. How many different ways can I say that before you develop a twitch? Sunday mornings with kids is probably rated a zero on a scale of 1 to 10. Why? Because Satan don't want no church goers!

I'm kidding (I'm not, but you know what I mean). Sunday mornings just have a way of getting a little out of hand most weeks. Are you grouchy by the time you all finally get loaded into the car? Maybe a little stressed out or frazzled? Chances are, if that's how you're feeling, your kids are feeling it, too. At the very least, they aren't feeling excited or wanting to go.

So, how can we fix that? Kids typically see church as a to-do. If we're being honest, we all feel that way a lot of the time, too. We show up, sit through it or teach it and get out of there. Our kids, much like school, show up and sit through it so they can get out of there.

Teaching them to find how to enjoy church or feel the spirit can be tricky. However, kids deserve more credit. They are often very sensitive to the spirit and very capable of seeing the importance of a lesson. We just need to provide and encourage those moments for them as often as we can. If we are willing to find just a few things to tweak for our Sundays, we are acknowledging that our children deserve and have the capacity to feel and grow just as we do.

Here are 5 ways that you can help your kids feel the spirit on the sabbath.

1. The Friend
You know the song! Saturday is a special day.....Keeping the space around you tidy does help you feel the spirit, and with kids it's no different! Making sure their room is clean with their church clothes out each Saturday is so helpful! 

In addition, I send my kids to bed with the Friend magazine on Saturday nights. I pick out a couple of stories for them to read or activity to do and I try to base it on what their primary class or sharing time lesson will be about the next day. They are able to start shifting their focus to Christ in their cozy clean rooms with their church clothes in view.

This small change has had a huge effect on how my kids feel the next morning. It helps set their mood before they even wake up Sunday morning. They are able to fall asleep the night before feeling peaceful and "in the zone" ;).

 2. Gospel Centered Music
With how many electronic devices we have these days, there are so many ways to access this kind of music. I set my Ipad out in the living room with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir channel on Pandora. It's the first thing my kids hear when they get out of bed each Sunday morning. Singing along, humming along and simply having the music fill our home gives an immediate and lasting feeling throughout the day.

As we know, music has such power to lift us up and feel the spirit. Doctrine and Covenants shares with us:
"For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me and it shall be answered by a blessings upon their heads." (D&C 25:12)

 Wholesome and uplifting music can have a great impact on how we feel on and about our Sundays. Joseph F. Smith gave a wonderful thought as he addressed the choir; 

"When we listen to this choir . . . we listen to music, and music is truth. Good music is gracious praise of God. It is delightsome to the ear, and it is one of our most acceptable methods of worshipping God.. ...My soul is always lifted up and my spirit cheered and comforted when I hear good music. I rejoice in it very much indeed." (Joseph F. Smith CR1899Oct:69)

3. Church Activities Jar
You've probably seen this idea floating around on Pinterest at one time or another. But actually taking the time to put one together takes some effort. Each Saturday night I pull out the activities jar and set it on the kitchen table. It's one of the first things they see on Sunday morning! It's just a good reminder that they won't be doing their regular day activities, but that they have other options that are fun to choose from so they don't get discouraged.

I looked at a few lists of ideas and picked the ones I thought were realistic for our family and threw in a few ideas of my own. Then it's just a matter of printing them off, cutting them out and sticking them in a jar! It doesn't have to be fancy and you can even just scribble them down on slips of paper instead of printing them all out.

Our rules are that whatever they choose, they have to do it for at least 15 minutes (and they can't put it back to re-pick). This keeps them from going for the jar simply because they know "bake a treat" is in there. They have to be willing to pick even knowing that some kind of service or their dreaded "go for a drive" is in there, too :). 

This change has really been a fun one for our family. I've seen my kids end up doing things they should but usually don't do on Sundays (like call Grandma and Grandpa!). 

4. Media
This is somewhat of a debate for church goers. Do we watch TV on Sundays? Do we not? What if it's a Disney show? That's not what I'm here to talk about. Every family is different and what is right for you is right for you!

But, if you're looking for a change, or simply something to add in to your Sundays media-wise that can help your kids feel the spirit, youtube is the best!

For us, we decided we didn't really want the TV on Sundays. Not for the regular day to day shows, anyway. So, I created my own playlist on youtube with video's I felt were appropriate and I chromecast it to the TV in our bedroom. It has a mixture of Mormon Messages that I think the kids will like, some gospel songs that have interesting videos with them, or even talks from General Conference that have video's with them I've found to be really awesome! You can check out my own playlist right here or you can make your own!

I've really loved having that on and playing in the bedroom. With the church music out in the living room and kitchen area, the sound from the videos in my room will flow out into the hallway and suck the kids in :). I'll find my kids in there watching for a while and they'll come and go. Even my almost 2 year old sits on my bed and watches intently.  As many great gospel centered videos that there are, I did sneak in Let it Go by Alex Boye  ;).

5. FHE
Family Home Evening can be hard to be consistent with! Coming up with a lesson, rounding up the kids and getting them to sit quietly, all of that can be a bit much to look forward to in the day when you've already reached your limits at 10am :). 

What I've done to keep things simple and also help them feel the spirit each Sunday, is plan my FHE lessons along with the Sharing time lessons. Whatever sharing time lesson is coming up the next Sunday, that's the lesson we will have for FHE. This is a bit easy for me since I teach sharing time once a month and I have access to the lesson outlines. The sharing time outline book is available online to download if you're interested.

This gets them thinking about the particular topic at the beginning of the week in order for them to apply it in their daily lives. It also helps them on Sundays when sharing time begins because they can contribute with thoughts and experiences from their week. Seeing how learning that lesson and spending time thinking about it fits into their lives opens the door for them to feel the spirit as they share those things on Sunday. 

Plus, we all know how kids loooove to know the answers to questions ;). 

So there you have it! There are clearly many many more ways and ideas and I would love for you to share any ideas you have as well! I am definitely not perfect at doing all of these things all the time, but I cannot deny the changes that they have made with the over all impact. 

I encourage you to give one or two of these a try that you haven't done before and let me know how it goes!

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