A tradition that our family has is to have “Conference Candy”. Twice a year, the worldwide leaders of our Church hold a 2-day televised conference called General Conference. It is 8 hours of instruction (four 2-hour segments) for all of the members, and then an extra 2 hours for the men. We have tried to find ways to keep our kids “tuned in” to what is being said – and eight hours is a long time, awesome as the lessons are.
Our biggest success has been using candy, or other treats (pretzels, nuts, popcorn) to help keep their interest level up. This is a good alternative to “Conference Bingo” – our kids are too young to keep interest in that for very long, and tend to just eat the candy. We just had four of the hours today, and my seven- and five-year old were both paying attention for most of the time. My two-year old even got into it for some of the time.
How does it work?
Step 1. Choose your “key words” and label your bags/cups/whatever. Six words seems to be a good number – it is enough that there is at least one of them being said on a fairly frequent basis, but not too many to keep track of and to lose interest.
The kids helped to pick some of these too (like “therefore”). For example, our first six words were: therefore, baptism, prophet, church, family and temple. Our second round words were: faith, prayer, prophet, therefore, gospel and quote (again, “quote” was chosen by my seven-year old).
Step 2: Fill ‘em up with candy/nuts/pretzels/etc. Pretty self-explanatory.
Step 3: Listen for the words, and enjoy! We kept the bags on the fireplace, and I would go get the candy whenever someone called a word out that was said. If you were in the room, you got the candy. My older two were engaged for probably 95% of the time, which was huge. And, actually, Elder Quentin L. Cook had a talk FULL of key words, which prompted my oldest to say, “Apostles are AWESOME! They want us to eat candy!” As long as we are getting a positive memory and learning something, works for me.
Words we might try next time: sacrifice, hope, love, testimony, blessings, service, covenants, commandments. I decided intentionally not to do Savior, Jesus or God just because I don’t feel comfortable with my kids screaming their names at the top of their lungs to get candy. That is my personal feeling. Also, the words in the songs count for us, but not the ones in the prayers. Again, I don’t want my kids shouting out words in the middle of a prayer.