Many times I am asked about children and getting them interested in genealogy. "How do you get them interested?" is a common question I hear. It's not that difficult if you pay attention to the child.
1. Know the age of the child and what they are capable of doing. A four-year-old grandchild may be happy helping you putting flowers on the grave of your grandparents but at the age of eight may find it not interesting at all.
2. Know their likes and dislikes. A bookworm child may find the cemetery boring and the athletic child would be stifled in a library.
3. Take time to listen to them. You may be surprised that they are interested and may not express it.
4. Their interests change. One child may not be interested at first but may change their minds once they see/hear a sibling or cousin talking enthusiastically about the great adventures you have had.
5. Don't push. Not every child is ready to take a walk through an old town or cemetery.
6. Make it fun. Allow them to help you read microfilm or browse through a book at the library. Make up plays about the ancestors and have them act the play for the family using puppets, dolls, or other items.
7. Let them own their research. If you are lucky enough to have a child who is willing to help you, make two copies of what you both find. Chances are they'll remember the research if they are active and involved in the research.
8. Let them teach you. Ask them to show you slowly how to create a blog, scan a picture, or the newest technology trick. You'll be surprised how effective it is get their interest.
9. Let them use and have fun with the genealogy. Sometimes it is the little ones who can cut to the chase and make the ancestors come alive. Plays, posters, teas, and dress-ups are just a few ways that you can get them involved. Scan copies of your ancestors and let the children play with the scanned copies. The more familiar gr-aunt Blanche is to them the more interested the children may be in having fun with genealogy.
So what are you doing still reading this blog? Go out and have some fun with your children. And who knows, they may have some fun too!