General conference is just around the corner. And while the 10-hour, back-to-back conference sessions may seem daunting, especially if there are younger people involved, ChurchofJesusChrist.org has various tools and resources to keep children and youth engaged during the two-day semiannual conference.
Who are they?
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are blessed to hear from a living Prophet and each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles every six months. While adults may appreciate the incredible blessing this opportunity is, young people might not. They may find general conference messages more impactful if they recognize and can relate to Church leaders’ voices and faces. You may want to download or print a chart of all the general authorities and general officers of the Church for easy referral, or simply reference the online version, which includes a brief personal history, interesting facts, images and links to their past conference talks.
For an even greater impression, invite your children to watch a video of each Apostle. With fun images and clips, a child narrator, and stories about how each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles obtained their testimonies in Christ, they are sure to be intrigued. Teens man enjoy a deeper look into the present-day testimonies of our Church leaders by watching the Special Witnesses of Christ videos series or learning some fun facts in these biographies.
The ‘write’ way
The General Conference Notebook is a great option for youth to gain a greater perspective and insight before, during and after the two-day gathering. While one notebook is provided with each Liahona and New Era subscription, everyone can download the fun, interactive pages in a PDF format to use either online or as an easy printable. Not only will the notebook provide designated places for youth to write down their thoughts throughout conference, it can also be an excellent way to help teens recall the most impactful teachings they learned from Church leaders as well as inspiration they received through the Holy Ghost.
The General Conference Notebook includes a section for premeditated questions, guessing games and a large section for notes (or doodles). You can download the notebook here.
Listen and do
Sometimes the best way to get children to listen is by providing them with quiet yet spiritually uplifting activities. While listening to the various talks, they are bound to have a little less wiggle in them by doing one of the following activities:
A hands-on conference game could be exactly what is needed if a child struggles with paying attention for the entirety of general conference. Conference Squares is a Bingo-like game with spaces represented by different Church leaders, historic events and themes that one might hear in general conference talks. The game is played by listening to each talk. When children hear the topic of the square spoken, they get to cover it with a piece of candy or other marker. The goal of the game is to cover five squares in a row and then, potentially, get a blackout, when all of the squares are covered! The game is a great way to motivate younger listeners in the audience.
Conference Coloring Pages
Like Conference Squares, Conference Coloring Pages require intent listening to the speakers and their talks. The color-by-topic pages prompt children to color in the squares when a certain subject is mentioned. In the end, they will have a beautiful, colorful picture!
Conference notebook for children
A simplified and child-friendly general conference notebook is an all-inclusive resource with various images to color and areas to jot down ideas and takeaways from the talks. It also includes a picture and section for each of the Apostles, which can familiarize children with the people they see on-screen.
Personalized devices can be a distraction during general conference, but they can also be a blessing. Try encouraging teens to use different applications to uplift themselves and others while they listen along to the conference talks.
The Gospel Library app allows all users, including teens, to download the placeholder for the upcoming 2020 October general conference publications. Once the placeholder is downloaded, teens can pick a session and record any questions they have prior to the session. Then during conference, they can digitally record and save the answers they receive as they follow along throughout the meetings.
Conference is also a great time to share favorites talks, scriptures and quotes with friends and family members. If social media is approved for your teens, invite them to share their favorite moment of conference and how they were able to #HearHim during the meetings on their preferred social media platform using #GeneralConference or speakers’ recommended hashtags. They may also want to follow the Church Leaders on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.