Although many LDS children have grown up with family home evening, your family will be doing it for the very first time. You want it to be successful right away, so the children will enjoy it. What can you do to make Family Home Evening an instant hit?
Keep your first family home evening simple. The more complicated it is, the more stressful it will be. Cindy Bezas has a structure for a very basic family home evening you can follow as you get used to the program.
Begin planning as early in the week as possible. Ask each family member to help out. When members participate, they have a stake in its success. Initially, you’ll want to ask people to do things they enjoy or are comfortable with. After a few weeks, you can set up a rotation, so everyone learns to do each part.
Build up excitement for the big day. Send invitations, drop teasers to get the family curious, and reveal the part you know they will most enjoy. Talk in a positive way about the evenings, and try not to worry too much in front of others or hint that it’s a burden. While it may seem challenging at first, it will be one of your fondest memories in the future.
Your lesson should be a simple one, and on a subject that is positive. While many Instead, choose something celebratory. If you haven’t yet been baptized, consider a lesson on preparing for baptism. If you have, do one on the blessings of baptism or on how the gospel has improved your family. Let the lesson be a happy one.
Keep the first lesson fairly short, with plenty of activities, pictures, and participation. Over time, your children will become more accustomed to these lessons and you can gradually make them longer.
When the lesson ends, plan an especially fun activity, something your family all enjoys. Allow plenty of time for the activity and concentrate on keeping everyone cheerful and kind.
Have a celebration dessert, to honor your very first family home evening. You may want to mark the date on the calendar and have an annual first family home evening anniversary party next year to remind your family of how special this new family tradition is.
If you’re nervous about how to do a family home evening, schedule your first one on a day other than Monday. Ask the missionaries to do the first one, or, if they’re unable, ask them to invite another family to demonstrate for you. Once you’ve seen how they’re done, you’ll realize they aren’t difficult and are a lot of fun.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.