6 Ways to Keep Your Kids’ Attention on Genealogy

By Sunny Jane Morton with Cheryl Felix McClellan Premium

Many of us want to share our love of genealogy with our children, but kids have notoriously short attention spans. By involving the next generation in our research, we can help make sure our descendants preserve the stories of our shared ancestry—and family history research itself can help create new family memories worth cherishing. Here are six quick tips to keep your little ones interested in genealogy:

  • Choose activities that align with the children’s interests (even if these aren’t necessarily yours).
  • Keep instructions simple and activities short or flexible. Generally, the younger the child, the shorter, simpler and more hands-on the directions should be.
  • Whatever activity you choose, don’t take over. Let the child’s ideas and efforts lead, even if the results aren’t polished or what you had in mind.
  • When choosing family stories and facts, consider relatives’ privacy and think about the age-appropriateness of the topic for the child. Is it G-rated? PG-13?
  • Boost the genealogy value of history-themed activities by applying them to your own family. Share a memory or anecdote, or say something like, “This is probably how Grandpa Charles would’ve done this.”
  • Don’t force your child’s involvement if his or her response to a family history activity isn’t what you’d hoped. Just enjoy the time together.

For more on getting your kids involved in genealogy, check out our article on genealogy activities to do with children.

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A version of this article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Family Tree Magazine.