Do you love LDS General Conference weekends? Do you admit though that sometimes it's hard to sit through at least 8 hours of talks? Do your children really struggle? The key to improved peace during a session is making good use of the time before, in between, and after General Conference sessions.
Before Conference Starts
It drives me crazy when my kids get mad when I say no to TV before General Conference. They make the argument that it's a different kind of TV but my stance is the same. No- go to do something active before it starts. I want them outside or at least playing with toys. Are you with me on this one? Here are some ideas beyond Saturday morning cartoons:
- Morning walks get the blood pumping, the eyes awake, and the lungs full of fresh air. Use this time to talk about questions you are seeking answers for this weekend and share your testimony of living prophets.
- Music- Play the piano, sing songs, strum the guitar. Play your favorite fun songs then slowly change the mood to reverent so you can get into the spirit of Conference. Don't play an instrument? Have fun with Pandora or Amazon Prime Music. I love listening to the LDS Hymns of Worship station on Pandora.
- Set up- Assign seats and tell everyone to gather all the supplies they will need to help them pay attention. Have them put their things in their spots and you'll know who needs extra help paying attention and who is actually ready. Use this checklist to help you stay organized.
- Cook! Put dinner in the crockpot and cut up any food you'll be using for lunch. Prep all the snacks you be using for the day so you don't need to get up during a session to prepare. Need a new slow cooker recipe? I'm always turning to Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook to get ideas and recipes.
- Remember to eat- A great breakfast will help you and your family pay attention. Remember nothing too heavy or you'll all be dozing in a hour. Find more ideas for breakfast in my Everything You Could Possibly Need for LDS General Conference post.
- Get dressed and go to the bathroom. Getting dressed helps everyone feel more awake and ready to hear the words of the prophet. Going to the bathroom before means when the first speaker starts, not everyone is getting up to go and missing the first part.
In Between Conference Sessions
This is the time to get all those wiggles and noises out of everyone's system. Go outside if you can! Make lunch super easy so you have time to go out and do other things in the meantime. Avoid running around doing errands if you can. Errands often leave people more stressed as they try to fit everything into a short time slot and usually end up being late to the next session.
- Go on a bike ride- or scooter, skateboard, roller skates or basically anything that has wheels. You can go a little further with bike rides without exhausting yourselves. The trick is to use up energy but not get so tired you just want to sleep through the next session.
- Have some fun with Paper Airplanes! Usually after the session that President Uchtdorf speaks or conducts, we'll go outside and have paper airplane fun since he's a pilot. I love using Usborne's 100 Paper Airplanes to Fold and Fly- it's full of colorful and cool designs that are super easy to fold and it comes with instructions. Klutz also has a Book of Paper Airplanes that looks pretty neat. Everyone pick 2 designs and do all kinds of races. Who can fly the farthest or shortest? Whose is the fastest? Whose is the sneakiest? Can you fly your airplane through a hoop? There are all kinds of fun things you can do outside with airplanes and even indoors if the weather is bad.
- Gather up some cones, hoops, ropes, whatever you can think of that can be used in an obstacle course. Then give them to your kids and let them take turns setting up obstacle courses and running through them. Go out and try a couple of courses yourself too.
- Pack a picnic- Head up to your favorite place in the mountains or go a new park (as long as it's not too far) After you eat, go explore!
- Head to the park- Bring a baseball, basketball, or whatever is your favorite and go play at the park as a family. If you coordinate beforehand you can even get some other families in your ward to join you. The smaller kids can play on the swings and playground equipment while the older ones enjoy a game.
- Get the sidewalk chalk out- Go out front and draw beautiful quotes from the last session on your driveway. Check out Carrie's Instagram for some chalk inspiration. Play ultimate hopscotch with the neighbors or draw a checkers board and play with rocks or try a life size version of the game.
- Get some gardening done- Pull weeds, harvest, whatever your garden needs. I bet you even come up with a parallel to something you learned during General Conference that morning.
After Conference is Over
Without fail my kids always want to watch a movie right after General Conference finishes for day. They are already in TV watching mode which means it's up to us to get them out of it.
- Get out of the house for dinner- Whether it's another picnic, fast food, or a real restaurant get out of the house. You've been inside for 4 hours already if not more. A change of scenery is just what you need.
- Make a brain cloud- Get a big piece of paper or a chalkboard and talk about all things you learned from General Conference. Now how are you going to apply it to your life? You don't have to give a ton of answers right away but do start everyone thinking about it. Then for Family Home Evening on Monday you can talk about application and start making changes.
- Journal it- Maybe not immediately after General Conference as you need to move around and get the blood pumping again but at least before you go to bed. Remember to write down your feelings, answers you received, and other insights that are specific to you. If you don't write it down, chances are you won't remember it either.
- Family walk- End the day by enjoying the sunset together or discussing the sessions as you walk. It's a great way to wrap your mind around all that was said and move a little.
- Write Thank You cards. If you watched via a local channel that doesn't normally broadcast church related programming, make sure you write a Thank You card to the station. When they feel appreciated and know people are watching, they'll be more likely to do it again. Anyone else you need to send a card to while you are at it?
- Play some board games- If people aren't up for more physical activities or the weather has turned bad, spend some quality time together playing games. Some of our favorite family games are Enchanted Forest, Gemblo, and the Farming Game. Need a 2 person game? We love Balloon Cup and Lost Cities. Discover even more family games in our favorite games post.
Your Turn- What's your favorite in between General Conference activity? What will you be doing this weekend?