Many young people today have a serious disconnect with their family history. They rarely know their heritage, let alone family traditions. One major problem that comes out of not knowing history is that you will be destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. Putting together a family tree for kids is very important to get that interest going early on.
By embarking on this journey with your child, you will share a number of wonderful conversations. When you catch your child at the right age, say early elementary school, it can make a long lasting impression, and many of the details will stick with him or her. Conversely, an older child might not take the same interest and will be more difficult to engage.
The traditional scroll that many people use to keep track of their family tree is not going to get much enthusiasm out of a small child. This is something that you can be really creative with, however. Consider making the family tree a part of their bedroom and create a mural on one of the walls. This could even turn into an ongoing piece of artwork that grows the further into the project that you get.
Begin with the most relevant thing in your child’s life, their own birth. Move onto the rest of the immediate family from there. Once you get their attention and interest in the project solidified, then start moving backwards through time, one person at a time. Be sure to try to add specific details, like something that person did or where they lived. Make the whole thing very personal for your child so that each new family member added has a special element to make him or her memorable.
As you delve deeper into the family history, you may need to do some additional research. As you do this research, keep your little one involved. Have him or her help you with this. It can turn into an amazing adventure that the two of you take together. You can also learn some amazing things along the way. This can make the experience even more memorable and lasting.
Expand your scope a little bit and include other tidbits about history as you go. By tying in the family connection to historical events, it will make those events all that more interesting. It can make all the difference in the world to know how a large scale event affected your family. The impression that it makes could be a permanent one.
Honestly this is a really perfect idea for a home schooled child, or a learning project to do over the summer. The number of directions that you could go with this are only limited by your imagination. Should you find an ancestor that was involved in bootlegging, you can use this information to find out about the entire Prohibition era, from the culture to the music, literature, and politics of the time.
An early foundation in family knowledge is essential. People tend to be so much more grounded when they know where they came from, and about all of the family members that came before them. There is a great richness that comes from knowing your own history, and to pass that wealth along to children as early as possible is a great service.