5 Ideas for Embracing Your Family’s Heritage
Why You Should Be Sharing Your Family’s History with Your Kids
Whether it’s the one we were born into or the one we built ourselves, family is a big part of our lives. I know I’m not the only person who would say that my family is the most important part of my life. Family is there to hold you up when you’re down, support you, love you, comfort you and protect you. Most of all, your family is a key part of your identity—and that’s why it’s essential for you to enrich your kids’ lives with a sense of your family’s unique culture, traditions and history.
Here are five ways you can emphasize your family heritage to your kids:
1. Talk about it with your kids
Take the time to share your family’s history with your children. Trust me, it will be a rewarding experience for both you and your kids. Understanding their family’s place in the world can also help raise your kids’ self-esteem and sense of control.
I’ve found that a fantastic way to do this is by keeping photo albums out around the house. Kids are so naturally curious that finding old photos will ignite all kinds of questions and the need to explore. Once they start asking, you can start answering. And, as you flip through each album, your own memories will come flooding back. It’s an incredibly nostalgic experience to bring you and your kids closer together.
2. Ask your older relatives to share their stories
Your other relatives—parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and more—can also be great reminders of the past. Their stories and the way they tell them can help ground your kids in your family’s unique culture. Plus, you may learn something you never knew about your own family!
At a family dinner or other gathering, bring up a burning question you have for someone else at the table. This way, you can organically invite your kids to discover stories of your relatives’ lives. Sharing these tales can help instill a sense of cohesiveness and community in your kids.
3. Attend community events
Speaking of community, it’s so important to get out into your own. I always encourage everyone I know, especially parents, to actively build and lean on their village. A great way to do that is by participating in local activities.
Building your village doesn’t have to be the only reason to explore your neighborhood. It can also help your children understand the larger culture and history that they live in and interact with daily. Keep yourself in the know by following city calendars so that you can join in on all the fun events!
4. Create a family time capsule
Cherishing your family unit is as important as appreciating your family history and culture, and it will help your kids understand how they fit into the bigger picture. A great way to nurture your family’s memories while also creating new ones is to make a time capsule.
Have each family member choose an item of some emotional value and put it into a sturdy container, such as a safe or large mason jar. Then, bury it in your backyard or a family member’s backyard, and dig it up in 10 to 15 years. The mementos that you put inside should be able to open the floodgates of memory when you return—so make sure that you choose carefully!
5. Start new traditions
Along with preserving your old memories, work to make long-lasting new ones! Start traditions with your kids that represent you as a family—whether that’s singing to get your Christmas present, participating in the family softball game, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows every time it snows, or whatever else feels right for you and your family.
This week on Windy City Nanny, I sit down with Steve and Ryan and their beautiful family. I had such a great time getting to know them and reminding them that there’s no true definition of “perfect” when it comes to families. To hear more about their touching story, watch the episode on my channel!