The average human attention span has now dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds.
With this in mind, let’s try and make a Come Follow Me lesson plan for your little.
In all honesty, if the toddler is engaged, they should be able to focus their attention on an activity for 3 to 5 minutes for every year of their life. Therefore, my two year old can focus on a home-centered gospel study for 6-10 minutes. Keep this in mind while you’re trying to teach a more formal Come Follow Me lesson.
Because I only have a couple of minutes and because their memory isn’t quite up to speed, my entire goal for this lesson plan is to provide an opportunity for her to feel the Spirit. What does that mean? Well, not only does it mean that I’m going to keep this short, it means that I’m not going to get frustrated if she can’t sit still. That’s a sure fire way to kill the Spirit so remember to have flexible expectations.
So the moment you’ve all been waiting for…here is my grand lesson plan for my toddler.
Opening Song (She really digs Popcorn Popping or Sunbeams)
I read aloud a scripture to her from that week’s study material and have her repeat the words.
Sometimes I bear a two-sentence testimony.
We watch a church video that is less than five minutes. If I can’t find a relevant video for the study material, I just let her choose the video. She really likes to do that, and it keeps her really engaged.
Closing Song (Sometimes it’s the exact same song.)
Closing prayer (Depending on the day, she says both prayers. Sometimes, she won’t say either of them.)
A couple extra tips…
- If you can’t get anything else in, just sing songs as a family. Songs bring the Spirit very easily, and they will remember the words for the rest of their lives.
- Try different times of the day if your little one is particularly rambunctious.
- The gospel art library can be fun to look at. Find a picture and tell a very summarized story that includes a sentence of testimony.
- There are cute little gospel books or even just books that teach really good messages. Remember, the point is to feel the Spirit, and the Spirit can testify of any good principles (even if they’re not directly taught from The Book of Mormon).
- Sign language. Teach your toddler how to say “Jesus,” “love,” etc., etc. in sign language. Physical actions will help them stay engaged and help them remember.
This is more important than you think.
It will change your home if you take the time to teach the gospel to your toddler, and a majority of that change will happen to you. Even if Evelyn never remembers a thing, some of my most precious memories have been sitting in our bed on a Sunday morning with my husband and babies.
“Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown stroke of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. ‘Wherefore be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great’ (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.” -David A. Bednar