Children love to listen to stories about their parent’s childhood and their family origins. Not only will these types of stories give your child a sense of belonging and a legacy to respect but they also help to develop a child’s ability to visualize and create mental pictures, and much more
According to Emory University psychologist, Dr. Marshall Duke, the more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believe their family is functioning. (Fieler, B., March 15, 2013. New York Times.)
However, in a Huffington Post blog entry, Dr. Duke adds “ It is not the content of what is known that is the critical factor, but the process by which these things came to be known. This process is, in our opinion, the causational factor. In order to hear family stories, people need to sit down with one another and not be distracted. Some people have to talk and some have to listen. The stories need to be told over and over and the times of sitting together need to be multiple and occur over many years. The most convenient times traditionally have been family dinners, family trips in the car, vacations, and birthday gatherings, etc.” (Duke, M. March 23, 201. Huffington Post.)
By hearing family stories, children discover characteristics about themselves that they have in common with an earlier ancestor. For example, a musically talented child might delight in the knowledge that his great-grandfather played an instrument and sang in the church choir. Your child may be interested to hear about where you and your partner met, where your mother grew up, the source of your child’s name, or some things that happened to you while your child was at school. Remember that what interests one child may not interest another so try telling different stories at different times. Eventually your child may start asking to hear “ the one about Great Grandma and the mouse in the teacup” again.