{LDS How-to} Help Kids Get the Most out of Primary


1. Buffer time. Always in a hurry to get out the door? Set the mood before church by allowing extra time to get ready. When you rush it is difficult to feel the Spirit. Play church music while you get ready or hum a hymn. You’ll probably still have to play the “hurry up!” game, but it will be much more pleasant.

2. Use Primary songs. Obtain a list of the songs the children are learning from the primary chorister or other member of the Primary presidency. Incorporate these songs into your Family Home Evening. Read through the words in the songs and talk about what they mean. Practice singing the songs using instruments, the Primary Children’s CD collection, or listening to the songs on LDS.org.

3. Hold FHE. Family Home Evening is essential in helping kids learn and enjoy being a part of Primary. When you hold Family Home Evening, mimic the same style of opening exercises used in Primary to help your child become accustomed to being reverent and learn what to expect. For example, begin with a song, then prayer, scripture or article of faith, a family theme (primary theme), and then the lesson or talk. This is also a great time to teach your children about raising their hands before speaking as they will do in Primary. (For some great FHE guides, check out LDS Living's FHE lesson helps or subscribe to the weekly Monday e-mail.)

4. Review. Ask your children what they learned about today in Primary. To circumvent the famous, “I don’t know” answer which usually comes from a question like, “How was class, primary, or what did you learn from your lesson?”  Instead ask your child, “What was your favorite part?”
You can ask them, “What are three things you learned today?” Or “What were your three most favorite things you did in Primary today?” This works every time with my kids to get them really thinking about what they enjoyed and keeps their mind on a positive wavelength concerning Primary. Talk as a family and decide what you could do to implement what was learned that day in Primary. Make a reminder note of a principle learned and post it on your fridge or calendar.

5. Practice. Give kids a chance to practice talks, scriptures, or articles of faith during family scripture study time or prayer. Reciting scriptures or articles of faith at the breakfast table can be a helpful way to get some extra practice time in. Talk to your kids about stage fright; help them recognize the feelings of nervousness. Teach them that it’s okay to feel this way so they will be less likely to freeze up when it’s time to participate. Explain that everyone feels nervous sometimes and practice ways to overcome these feelings.

6. Teach reverence. Talk about reverence and what it means. How can we show reverence? Practice being reverent with a variation of the quiet game—whoever talks or moves first is out. Have an older sibling be an example or model to a younger child of what reverence means.

7. Get acquainted with your child’s teacher. Call them by name, Brother or Sister Smith, for example, when you talk to your child about Primary. This helps your children identify who their teacher is with a name instead of just ‘teacher’. Another idea to help kids feel comfortable with a new teacher is to have a short visit outside of church with them or allow your child to take a small note or treat to their teacher.

8. Talk to your kids about using the bathroom during Primary. Discuss different scenarios, such as the water fountain or what they should do if they have a runny or itchy nose. Talking about situations beforehand will help your child avoid mishaps later.

9. Discuss disabilities. If there is a child with special needs or even a child who is perhaps very shy in the class, make an extra effort to include them. Maybe you could invite them for a play date or have your child take them a treat and visit them. Talk to your child about how Jesus loves everyone and we are all special. Discuss scenarios of what your child could do if they noticed someone being unkind to another child in Primary. (Click here for a great FHE lesson on disabilties.)

10. Remind them that Primary teaches us about God and Jesus. Heavenly Father and Jesus love us so they created Primary. Remember how precious our children are—they are a gift from Heavenly Father! They can feel the Spirit. Give them confidence in the knowledge that they are sons and daughters of God. Encourage them to understand their individual worth. Encourage them to look forward to attending Primary and learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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