Looking for tips to love General Conference with kids? You’re in the right place!
**This post was originally published in 2017 but has been updated in 2023 to share new ideas!
General Conference has become something our whole family looks forward to, showing that the Lord can take our flawed but diligent efforts and make something great!
When my husband and I got married, we made a goal to watch or at least listen to each session of General Conference with our family on the weekend of Conference.
And barring technical glitches and a few missed talks here and there, we’ve done it for almost 17 years!
I don’t share this to brag at all. I want you to know I’ve been in the trenches with you, with six kids, and the faraway memory of when watching Conference with just my husband was so. much. easier.
I’ve cried on Conference weekend when my printer broke while I was preparing activities again, and my kids were fighting again, and my house was a disaster again.
But making General Conference a priority has also been one of the BEST things we’ve done for our family.
Tips for General Conference With Kids
Make Conference Sweet
Our family has tried to make General Conference a special family holiday from the beginning. I’ve always loved the theme “Conference is Sweet” and have tried to apply that to our family Conference traditions.
- We have sweet treats, but they change each year based on my children’s preferences. When Conference is near Easter, we love to hide eggs that match different parts of the meeting or speakers. In the fall, my kids love marking their bingo boards with candy corn.
- Our longest-standing sweet tradition is Apostle Bags. We tape a picture of each Apostle to a brown paper bag, and when that speaker is finished, my children can eat the treat inside the bag. Then we tape the picture near our tv to see who has spoken so far. The current Prophet bag always has the best treats!
- We eat our other refreshments in small, inexpensive muffin tins that we fill before each session to avoid getting up and down during the songs. It’s not a perfect system, but this has helped it feel less like a buffet or zoo.
You don’t have to eat treats to make Conference sweet! Just a general air of celebration can go a long way in helping children look forward to Conference.
Prepare Your Heart and Home
Like many families, we make a list of questions we would like to receive answers to during Conference. These make great discussion topics after the meetings are over. We’ve been touched by the questions and impressions our children have shared with us.
Pray. A lot.
We also try to have our home neat and clean to invite the Spirit. This has been much easier said than done for me, but I try to remember that a grouchy mother does not invite the Spirit. Any work I can get done ahead of time is a gift.
My children love to make flower arrangements or pretty displays like the Conference Center to help our home feel extra special.
Our family also keeps Conference weekend free from other commitments that would keep us from attending or listening to all of the sessions. Sometimes that can require significant planning and even sacrifice of favorite activities in today’s busy world! It has been worth it for our family.
Planning physical activity before and in between the sessions has helped our children be more attentive and reverent during Conference. We’ve had a trampoline pizza party, family hikes, dance parties, carwash, yard projects, and a family soccer game on Saturdays.
When our children were tiny, we loved watching Conference outside on a laptop. Now our kids can’t resist the call of the yard or toys. We try to get outside before and after sessions instead.
Picnics make Conference extra special and give us that break outside–plus they keep our house from getting messy from the meal! If the weather is too crazy we bring the picnics inside, but we’ve almost always been blessed with beautiful Conference weekends.
Tailor Activities to YOUR children
It’s exciting to live in a time with so many resources to make General Conference special for kids! It’s also easy to get overwhelmed by the options or to feel pressure to have picture-perfect plans.
You know your kids and what activities will likely work best for your family!
Don’t be afraid to keep it simple!
Building a fort or tent like the people of King Benjamin to listen to Conference = Awesome!
In my house, this has equaled Disaster. Like Hulk-Smashing Disaster.
Finding the right balance between an activity that is engaging without being distracting is a process of trial and error. We’ve built block temples, made play-doh, used gospel art, sewing cards, etc. in the past with varying levels of success.
My children consistently love Conference Bingo, and they all love to draw or use other visual aids that match the topics. They also love little rewards and treats when they are trying to be attentive. My sisters designed these free activities that have been a hit for my active bunch (currently ages 3-14).
We used Conference Bucks and similar setups in the past, but they ended up being too much for my family to manage, and I felt more like the Monopoly Banker than a good listener. But these systems might work great for your family.
The Lord will bless you for your efforts, even in the flops and fails.
Keep Trying, Keep Trying
Sometimes my children have been crazy contentious in spite of good sleep, fun plans, and prayerful prep. It has been tempting at times to get angry at their ingratitude and throw out our plans, turn on a movie in another room, and enjoy General Conference with my husband in semi-peace. (And if this is your plan, I totally understand. You know what your family needs! Sometimes parents need quiet time to soak in the messages too.)
But my husband Joey and I have made a commitment to help our children listen to all of the sessions with us. I hope our efforts to include our children help them see how much we value the words of our Prophet and other leaders.
Even during our worst Conference meltdowns, I always try to point our children to listening to the Prophet. I know we have a living Prophet who will help us follow God.
Parenting is no picnic, and General Conference with kids isn’t always either. I have faith that both of these hard things are worth it. You’ve got this, parents–because Heavenly Father will help you and will help me.
**It’s been six years since I wrote the original version of this post, and my children are growing up so fast! I love seeing their love for the Savior and His teachings grow each year. Our children genuinely look forward to General Conference–it’s a highlight of the year! Even when things don’t go perfectly, they still savor the special peace that accompanies Conference.
Every family is different, and your family’s approach to Conference might be far different from ours–and that’s OK!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes General Conference a special time for your family!
Looking for more posts about General Conference? You’ll love these simple ways to study the Conference messages!