Children: Get them into the world of genealogy

14 November 2019

Are you all about genealogy but your children aren’t? That’s a shame. Don’t give up hope just yet though, there might still be a way forward! In today’s blog, we look at five top tips on how you can get the younger generation involved in the world of family history!

The power of the television

Television remote

You can learn a lot from watching the TV, and as the world’s largest medium, you’d expect so! Studies show that over 27 million households in the UK own a TV, and the average adult spends up to four hours a day watching it. From Poldark to Peaky Blinders, we can certainly get a taste of what it was like to live back then, along with some enticing action-packed drama. Programmes such as Long Lost Families can encourage us to start looking into our own family history, in the hopes of finding something just as exciting, maybe even life-changing. However, such programmes may not necessarily be of interest to young people. So, a gripping storyline and beginning is key to watching something new.

For children, this proves more difficult. For teenagers, however, you could try one of these three ways…

family in front on the tv

Make an hour or two in your home life for family TV time: You may already have made time twice a week or once a week dedicated to spending time with your family. However, you could use this to your advantage. You could take turns choosing what programme you all watch as a family for an hour and discuss it afterward. Family bonding time as well as the chance to watch your favourite episodes of Who Do You Think You Are?  is a win-win situation – don’t you think?

family in front on the tv

Watching a movie where a character discovers something life-changing? Refer to your family history: If you’re okay with watching films and talking intermittently, then maybe this one is for you! If you happen to be watching something, and you’ve researched enough of your family tree to know the ins and outs of some ancestors, why not slip that in? Whether it’s a Western, World War II or fantasy film, mentioning the fact that their x2 great-uncle was involved in The Great Train Robbery of 1863, could just pique their interest to learn more (as long as it’s related to the film, of course!).

Simply ask: Or you could just ask if they’d like to watch an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? As the saying goes, there’s no harm in asking.

Take a trip down memory lane, literally!

family in a field

Family days out can be even more fun if it’s relatable! Why not head out for an afternoon and take a walk around the places your ancestors once were. If it’s not easily accessible, you could save up some money and take a mini holiday! It’s scientifically proven that travel helps our brain health by boosting your memory and helps to increase your attention span. Heritage trips, as they’re also known, are great ways to get to know more about your ancestry and can help you embrace your heritage and culture. Similar to the tip above, you could slip in little facts about your family history, which will make it just that little bit more magical.

Bedtime stories don’t need to be completely made up

man reading a genealogy story to child

Ever wondered what it would be like to realise that the hero in your bedtime story was related to you? No, me neither, but it’s a great place to start if you wish to pique the little one’s interests and enthusiasm! If you’ve begun or currently enjoy writing stories about your ancestors, why not try writing books for your children? They make great birthday and Christmas presents, are educational and best of all, enjoyable for all!

Take them with you!

"Get them involved in whatever way, however small."

family history talk

Sometimes mother and child or father and child bonding time means involving your child or children in your day-to-day life. Got a family history conference coming up? Take them with you! If the event is age-appropriate and has activities for children and young people, then that’s an added bonus. If you are involved in the conference, whether you’re a speaker or an exhibitor, have them do odd jobs, such as handing out pens or flyers to passers-by, helping you set up the stand or sitting in on your talk.

Put your ancestors up around the house

old family photographs

What good are those lovely candid family history photographs to anyone if they’re stuck up in the attic? Why not pin them up and have your absolute favourites on display. You could write some facts about them and display them underneath your photos if you wish. That way, guests can learn for themselves before (hopefully) asking for more information. If the photograph is eye-catching too, they’ll be lots of questions and queries from those in your home!

old family photo album

It’s always worth a try

Sometimes it’s worth persevering and other times it’s not. Attempting to get children and young people involved in genealogy when they seem completely disinterested can be difficult. It’s worth taking the time out to get involved in their interests too. As the saying goes, it’s always worth a try!

Written by Rhianna Selkridge-Carty

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