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Grandmas have many important jobs, as we are the prime spoilers (a position we take very seriously), confidants, and playmates for our beloved grandkids! Another role we have is sharing family history, as genealogy – knowing where you come from – is very important for future generations.
No matter how young your grandchild(ren), you can begin sharing where they come from and who came before them. Since history can be drab to younger kids, I have compiled a list of 12 exciting ways to share family history with them in more compelling ways:
1. Storytelling sessions
Grandmas read many books and share many stories, so why not incorporate the story of your grandchild into the next session? A great way to share family history is through oral storytelling, recounting anecdotes, and sharing memories during regular visits or bedtime stories.
2. Photo albums
Create a family photo album with pictures from different generations, and use it as a visual aid to share stories and connections with the grands. Be sure to add photos of your grandchild and their immediate family – their parents, siblings, and grandparents – too, as it makes connecting them to the story even easier!
3. Family tree
It’s craft time! Grab some poster board, markers, and pictures, and create a family tree, discussing each relative’s role in the family history and any interesting facts about them.
4. Cooking traditional recipes
Grandmas are known for our cooking skills, so why not teach our grandchildren family recipes, sharing stories about the origins of the dishes and how they have been passed down through generations? Who knew that genealogy could be so tasty?!
5. Family heirlooms
Sharing family heirlooms and the stories behind them is a tangible way to help your grandchild connect with their ancestors and understand your family’s heritage.
6. Letter writing
Whether you live down the street or on the other side of the world, you can write letters to your grandchild and share personal stories, memories, and family history, creating a special keepsake for the future.
7. Video recordings
Record yourself telling family stories and memories, creating a visual and audio archive for your grandchild to watch and listen to as they age. (I don’t know about you, but I wish I had something like this from my grandma!)
Another hands-on crafting idea is to create a family scrapbook with photos, documents, and mementos detailing the history and stories behind each item.
9. Celebrating family traditions
Teach your grandchild about family customs, holidays, and traditions by making old family recipes, playing games, or introducing them to something unique from their country of origin. After doing one or all of these things, discuss the cultural significance and heritage.
10. Visiting family landmarks
Take your grands on trips to visit significant family landmarks, such as the hometowns of their ancestors, cemeteries, or important historical sites. If it isn’t possible to travel now, you can watch documentaries about the places on Youtube or check out books from the library.
11. Connecting with living relatives
As the grandma, you can help facilitate conversations between your grandchild and other family members, encouraging them to share their own stories and memories.
12. Genealogy research
You may want to save this one for the older grandkids, as you can involve them in genealogy research, using online resources and local archives to learn more about your family history together.
By engaging in these activities, grandmas can pass on valuable family history and help their grandchildren develop a strong sense of connection to their heritage. Yes, genealogy CAN be engaging, so have fun with it! Not only will you be teaching your descendants about family history, but you, too, may learn something new along the way. Enjoy – and let’s talk again soon!