What percentage would you say your family manages to pay attention to General Conference? Actually, what percentage do they allow YOU to pay attention to General Conference? If you feel a desire to answer that question in single digits, even if it’s not REALLY that bad, then I can relate. We have a passel of adorable and awesome kids in our house. They range in ages from less than a year to 16. That’s only if you don’t count the “adult kids”. Creating an environment where EVERYONE will pay attention to General Conference is a real challenge, twice a year. We’ve tried lots of methods, and will continue to try more!
A new idea to help our family pay attention to General Conference
One I am excited about is “Conference Coupons”. The idea of coupons as a prize is not a new one. It’s being blogged and shared all over the place. What I really love about these conference coupons is that they aren’t just the prize, they’re also the challenge. Getting people to pay attention to a great big notebook can be difficult, depending on your kids. These conference coupons work on a different principle. You fill out the topic, and the reward, before conference starts. Have a family home evening on it, and ask them what they think will be taught about. Use those as your topics for receiving rewards. You could even let them have some input on the rewards, which can be especially enticing to savvier, older, children. You leave the “because” section blank, and when they hear a talk on that topic, they fill in the blank with the name of the speaker.
If you like the idea, keep scrolling down, there’s a PDF attachment available at the bottom of the page!
What Other Ideas Have you Tried?
There are so many great ideas out there. Lots of people are talking about them. It’s a hot topic for Mormons. Here is a brief roundup of some that we’ve tried:
General Conference Packets
Rita, over at Pink Polka Dot Creations has an excellent roundup of conference packets if you’re searching for one of these. We have used many different packets in the last few years. We really appreciate them for us as adults, because they give us something to focus on and a concrete way to organize our thoughts.
Fantasy General Conference Sheets
We haven’t actually used these yet. They’d be perfect for use with our conference coupons! It seems like a great idea, to try and get people thinking about who will speak beforehand and to help them pay attention to General Conference to make sure they have their points, without unnecessarily distracting them with a lot of activities and games. Sometimes I feel like those actually distract from the atmosphere of conference. The example above is a free printable from Erin at Someone In Mind.
Tents Like King Benjamin’s People
This is a tradition in our home now. We set up the tent in the living room and while we’ll often come out of the tent to sit more comfortably and watch the conference, the kids sleep out in the living room, awaiting the next day’s festivities. They love it, and it’s fairly low-key as far as distractions go.
I think if we STOPPED having conference bingo, there would be a revolt. We use candy, nuts, or dried fruit as the “markers” and any whole line gets eaten in a snap. We actually adapted this game and instead of bothering with bingo boards, we just have bowls with labels on them. Hear the word? Eat the treat. The bowls can be emptied fast, sometimes. Especially by Hungry. She didn’t get her name by turning down meals. LDS.org has a great printable here for an easy to use bingo-chart if you prefer the original game over our adaptation.
Hopefully some of these tools can help your family pay attention to General Conference. They’ve helped ours. We are constantly refining and trying new tricks, and I’d LOVE to hear yours!