Family Activities to Involve Children in Family History

Hey Family History Fanatic Fans!
we have a special opportunity to talk to you about how to get your children and those
teenagers engaged in family history can’t wait to share it with you Howdy, I’m Devon Noel Lee with Family History Fanatics and I’m here with Mike Sandberg
with FamilySearch and you know I’m a FamilySearch fangirl but he’s going to talk to us about
something near and dear to my heart how do we get youth and our
children involved in family history and if you’re a grandparent this is perfect
for you as well so Mike, tell me what you’ve got going. well for the past couple years
we’ve been really focused on this idea how do we get families to do family
history together? right because for a lot of in a lot of instances usually there’s
one or two members of the family that are super enthusiastic about it but it’s
hard to get the rest of the family involved so we’ve gone out and talked to
lots of families across the US we’ve even been to South America to
the Caribbean trying to understand what will work with families of all shapes sizes
configurations so I’m excited to talk about that awesome so Mike tell us what
we’ve got going on okay so one of the things that we found is there’s a set of principles if you’re going to engage with kids that make it better in the
family and I want to talk about some of those So the first is don’t immediately
rush to tech don’t rush to the technology start with some conversations
in the family and and and we have a set of activities that help you have those
conversations so you start with talk and then you move to tech Well, I want to add to that.
I totally agree with talk because and as some of you know I made a
video about my journey to belonging and the reason why I got engaged in family
history is because my mommy told me My mommy, isn’t that cute? My mom told me so many stories
about my grandpa who had died when I was two so I totally agree
start with talk Start with talk
and then you can move to tech the other thing is you got to keep it short right because sometimes these family
history fanatics they like to talk for long periods of time you don’t know me that well or does he Our family history
so what we say is if you can keep it to 15 minutes that’s good if you can do 10 minutes that’s better Five minutes best right so keep those things short Also be spontaneous it’s good to have like planned out things
that things like reunions maybe weddings those kinds of events but you can do
family history on your way to school driving the kids to school right
it’s a snowy day you talk to the kids what you remember about a kid when it was snow
when it was snowing right except when we live in Houston and
we don’t really have that much snow but I get your idea you could talk about the worst flood that
came through when you oh yeah. Anybody remember my friend Harvey? Right, exactly.
So sharing those kinds of stories help kids connect and to you what it was like for
you to be as a child then they kind of understand you in a different light
right the other thing is we say listen for those kinds of feelings sometimes
you’ll get a feeling like I need to share something and and and I want to
take that moment to share now so listen to those feelings as they come about
what to share and so those are some of the basic ideas So I like the sharing, sharing, sharing
but I hope you’re going to get into something where we record.
Because my parents died at 55 and 60 so my children don’t really remember their
grandparents and I forgotten so many stories. And then my grandparents are
deceased as well so what do we do to record? Right so three of the words
that we’ve been talking here RootsTech a lot about this week are:
Discover, Gather, and Connect and we what find with children is that first experiences
those first experiences are all about discovery right
but that leads to a natural desire to record, to gather, to preserve
right because if those stories leave and they’re gone now
we’ve lost those things forever and those things become really precious memories someday, right And usually within a generation
or two, if we haven’t captured them gone, right.
One of the families that we met with down the Caribbean had pictures that were
literally falling apart because of the weather conditions down there and so
what we encourage people to do is you know if you have something that’s worth saving
save it now – digitally, right and get that put into place that’s going to
be saved forever and FamilySearch is a free site where you can save your stuff
forever So let me tell you about some of the activities we’re doing to get you
into the stories and also into these opportunities to save things
Is that okay? That is perfect
Great, so we’ve gone out for the last year and tested a set of
activities and I’ll give you a link because we have a paper-based version
but we also just barely put them online I noticed that was like a week before
Rootech yeah just in the last few weeks we put them out there right and
started to socialize them so there’s three sets of activities here
the first set of activities is called about me and it helps kids discover who they are
because what we found with kids is that they want to learn about themselves
first right if you go into one of our discovery centers we have these
interactive fan charts we say you can click on any person and learn about them
and guess who the kids click on first themselves themselves right well it’s like when you’re looking at pictures you always look at yourself first so it’s
not just kids so like one of these activities it’s super simple it’s called
my name right What’s the story behind my name? How did I get my name? Is there a
story? Am I named after someone in the family? Also if you go into FamilySearch
there’s a new discovery experience again we point you to that in the online
version that lets you see how many and how many of the people in our family
tree have your name yeah right first name last name where they live the
numbers so that’s fun for the kids tells you the meaning of your name
literally if there’s a meaning behind it so that’s all about my name this is one
of our most popular activities out there right now I looked at that and I’m gonna
blog about my experiences because I had some parts of the name you said first
and I have two middle names and a last name and it was fun to see some of the
popularities and then not so popular stay tuned I’ll make sure I put a link
to in the description for when I finally do that blog post We also have some kind
of more serious things to talk about with family so like one of the examples
that I like here is this this thing called weakness to strength where you
sit where you talk as a family about maybe people in your past that might
have had weaknesses and how they learn from them and how they grew because of
them and what we found and I think you’ve probably seen these studies as
families that know both the positive stories and the negative stories are
more resilient yeah right and so we have activities like that in here that help
kids explore those things as well yeah i reaiiy optin say don’t whitewash the
path now you don’t have to give all the graphic details but don’t whitewash the
past there’s alcoholism in my family history
I didn’t understand that struggles my dad came to shop being an alcoholic and
that they’re still monsters associated with alcoholism even when you stop and
it wasn’t until I learned the generational alcoholism that I went oh
my gosh my dad’s my favorite hero we had a story like that in our family so if my
aunt told us about this woman the family had that she said had suffered with
depression and had what she called the Sandburg blues so I when I heard that I
was like what there’s someone in the family that had kind of some chronic
issues with depression and it turns out yeah at times she was even
institutionalized and back home and stuff the thing that was really powerful
about that to me is I have several family members that have struggled with
depression in the past and knowing that that’s kind of a family trait helps you
cope better with those things right yeah so bring these things out of the closet
and we’re not going to judge people because they had weaknesses because you
can’t understand the triumphs or the the fact that you know somebody might have
been abused all her life and then became model citizen and giving giving giving
well it’s because of the path exactly and those so those things actually help
kids say you know what I’m not so different I’m not so alone other people
have had problems right and that lets them go forward and I did let me tell
you about our second group of activities you mean there’s more there’s more the
second of group of activities is dedicated to learn for the kids it helps
kids learn about their families right so these are activities to help you
discover your family both the living and those that have passed on okay good okay
so we start with the living because again we’ve just started with the child
right and now we’re moving to the living people in the house right so we have a
game in here called family trivia okay did you see this one no I haven’t but I
had used ancestor guru in the past it’s no longer so it’s so sad I can’t
recommend it but I’m hoping it’s similar to something like that here’s some facts
and did you know yes so there’s some simple questions on the list here things
like you know everyone writes down what your favorite food is or what your
favorite movie is things like that and then you go around and you have people
say you say okay let’s guess what everyone’s favorite food is and so it
goes what’s mom’s favorite food what do you think Billy what do you think Suzy
what do you think dad and as you go everyone reveals what they think mom’s
food is and then mom says here is is and then you keep score it’s like your own
personal game show yes it is a game show and then the person at the end who wins
the most gets a treat or a prize or something like that who do you think
usually wins that game in the house I’m hoping mom mom usually wins right and
who do you think often doesn’t win these are the youngest or dad dad usually yeah
we played in our family it was kind of humbling to me to realize I had things
to learn about my own kids so and you working families and I do so and it’s
surprising sometimes you’re like well what’s your favorite candy and you think
you know but it changes right so that those kinds of things are good to know
right because if you want to give your kid a treat hey I know what your
favorite thing is I could do that so yeah I need to learn about the living
people in your house I like it and then you know sometimes you could just save
those answers especially since some choke kids chains like my third child
oh it’s been that way for years mom and I know it wouldn’t be great to pull out
a book and say um no it’s funny you say that because we actually have an
activity called time capsules where you do that you answer some of these
questions you take a picture or record it put in FamilySearch and then you
could do that every year on your birthday right so again that just gives
you a snapshot of how you’ve changed over time
I like it okay so some of members of our audience happen to be members of the
Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints and they’re always trying to get
their kids involved in doing temple work and many of people in our audience
recognize that so what do we do for those families sure so a lot of times um
kids don’t understand the connection between families during the temple and
part of why we’re doing family history is to learn about these ancestors that
we can serve in the temple and they’re a little nervous the first time they go
they don’t know what the temple is like so we do have an activity we have set of
activities for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints that
help prepare kids for their first experience at the temple one of those
activities is called planet where they plan out that first trip with their
parents about what they’re going to do where they want to go when they want to
go who they want to bring with them maybe there’s going to be some fun
celebration afterwards that just gives the child more control over that first
experience I like it I like it well thank you Mike so much where can we find
all of these activities sure if you go to slash discovery
slash activities that takes you right to our page one of the things about that
page is as you do activities if you’re logged in you can track which one’s
you’ve done so that you know next time you come in these are ones we haven’t
done I did see that and I’ve seen that it had a count of how many other girls
done it you can once you say you’ve done it and you register that then it counts
that and it also lets you give a star rating so you can see which activities
are trending in terms of popular so maybe you could do a family challenge or
maybe you can do a church wide challenge right yeah go with your your brothers
and sisters and just and again all these these little activities are
conversational prompts for these conversations that really can make a
difference so I invite you to go out there look at those activities review
them let your kids pick some what interest them and start having those
conversations be sure to check the link the description section for the links to
the discovery page and if you have any further questions drop
them in the comment section and we’ll make sure that he checks in on occasion
and on occasion and answer them for you thanks so much you’re welcome good to be


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