Take some time today to teach children about their family history. Or, if there are no kids around, take some time to ponder on this yourself. If you’ve already been bitten by the ancestry bug, you know what to do. If not, there’s never been an easier time to reach into the past and learn about how our ancestors lived. If you or your children are adopted, then you might not focus on a blood lineage, but simply sharing family stories. Explain to young children that family history is stories that help them find out more about the people that they love and who love them. Here are some ideas you can use for teaching or journaling.

  • Watch videos of your family or your child. If you can access very old video, I’m sure it would be very amusing to see children’s reactions at what life was like “back then”. But my kids even like to watch recent videos of themselves. Of course I have some video of when they were babies and they get a big kick out of seeing those.
  • List all the different countries, states, or towns that your family comes from. Use maps or Google Earth to look at these places now.
  • Think of your family traditions and determine if any of those were inherited from family. How many generations back does the tradition go?
  • How about family recipes? What stories do you have that are centered around a special food?
  • What objects in your home tell part of your family history? Some objects might hold a place of honor in your home, and your family knows the story already. An old clock on the mantel, or Grandma’s wedding portrait on the wall. Do you have any other things that haven’t had their story told? An old book or piece of jewelry that’s been put away out of sight, perhaps. Get it out and explain its significance to your family.
  • Any heroes or villains in your family tree? Get kids interested by sharing some melodramatic stories.
  • And of course you can always talk about Christmas! What traditions have held up for generations, and which ones are now part of history? What photos, recipes, heirlooms do you have that tell the story of Christmas past?

There are tons of ideas for getting family members excited about their history. Share your favorites in the comments.

(Image credit: Andrzejsowa)

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