Kids today are more into technology, videos games and other stuff more than they could be about family time. It’s unfortunate that they seem to know more about the celebrities on TV and their favorite video game characters than they do about their own families.
With a little help, you as a parent or grandparent can enlighten them on the world going on around them and their history of where they came from with these few tips.
Here are some tips to get children interested and involved in their family history and genealogy.
1. Tell Them Stories of the Family and Make Them Exciting
Do your children know why your family does specific things on holidays? As you’re celebrating the holidays, make sure you take the time to answer questions children have about traditions and if they don’t ask, offer the information anyway. Make sure they know that there are reasons and purposes instead of a “just because”.
Do they know of that one time grandpa caught a giant log after 20 minutes thinking it was going to be a record-breaking catfish? Do they know how their parents, grandparents, etc. met and came to even become a family?
These types of stories are the ones to tell and make them fun! Get grandpa on the phone and ask the questions and just let him talk about that catfish log.
2. Visit the Places Mentioned in Family Stories
Kids love to travel and enjoy seeing new and interesting things that are different.
Make their travel meaningful and educational by taking them to the places mentioned in your stories. Where did grandpa catch his famous catfish log? Is it where he grew up or where his family vacationed every summer? Take them back to where it all started and make those odd little roadsides stops along the way about things that you didn’t think important at the time but would be fun little side stories now.
3. Show and Tell with Family Heirlooms
If there are any family heirlooms in your home or anything associated with the stories you tell that you can easily access, show these to your children. Tell them the stories about the items and the people they belonged to. Let them handle the item (safely). Do you remember this blog from readers on where they provided us with stories about their family heirloom? Any old item can have a story.
4. Make the Family Tree Something You Can Do With Your Children
A family tree project might be something a child is required to do at some point in school but take it beyond the instructions and requirements handed out by the teacher.
Start with the children as the beginning people for the start of the family tree. Then, go backward in time as far as you can by using what you know and other online resources such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Fill in ancestors for both sides of the family.
Once your children are familiar with the idea of a family genealogy and a family tree and when they know their own family history and the various stories they will be ready to seriously work on uncovering more of their family legacy. They will learn to connect with their ancestors in all kinds of personal ways.
You may want to revisit this blog that covers a few great books that you can share and read with your children. Maybe they can spark some conversations that you weren’t sure of how to start.