The principles for holding a great family home evening are even older than the tradition itself.
Mormon leaders have been asking members to hold regular family home evenings for more than a century.
President Joseph F. Smith promised the saints in 1915 that family home evening would increase “love at home and obedience to parents” and “that great blessings will result.”
President David O. McKay renewed the emphasis on family home evening in 1965. In 1970, the Church designated Monday nights as family home evening night, closing all temples and meetinghouses and instructing wards and stakes to avoid planning Church activities and meetings on Monday nights.
Whether you’re a college student gathering with other singles or a busy parent wrangling five kids, here are three ways to make your family home evening a success:
1. Make it Fun
One of the elements that makes family home evening successful is fun. “Keep the atmosphere light and loving,” the Family Home Evening gospel topics page reads.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “There is no greater legacy that parents can leave to their children than the memory and blessings of a happy, unified and loving home.”
So be silly, laugh a lot, and grow closer together.
2. Keep a Gospel Focus
Still, fun isn’t the main objective of family home evening.
“Regarding our home evenings, an evening home with the family or an evening out to some place of interest with your family only partly solves the need of the home evening,” President Spencer W. Kimball said. “Merely going to a show or a party together, or fishing, only half satisfies the real need, but to stay home and teach the children the gospel, the scriptures, and love for each other and love for their parents is most important.”
Start and end with a prayer, sing a hymn, and teach a gospel lesson somewhere along the way.
3. Customize to Your Family’s Needs
If everyone’s busy on Monday nights, pick another night (this is Church-approved, FYI — as long as you’re consistent).
Let your kids sing their favorite Primary song every week (Can you even sing “Once There Was a Snowman” too many times?).
Spend three weeks on the honesty lesson instead of one.
The Church isn’t big on micromanaging its members. As long as you’re following the basic guidelines of family home evenings, just do what works for your family!
If you’re looking for new ideas for singles ward FHEs, try these: