Teaching Kids Respect for Previous Generations
A real conversation with my 7 year old in the car yesterday… Sawyer: “Two more days until Christmas at Mi-Mi’s house! I can’t wait!” Mama: “I know! And Uncle Josh and Aunt Korina and Gracie will be there, too. It’ll be so fun!” Sawyer: “I don’t care about all the people, I’m just excited for all the presents!” *Mama’s heart deflates.* Looks like I’ve got some work to do on family appreciation with my kiddos! And with all of the family get-togethers and celebrations, there are lots of opportunities during the holiday season for teaching kids respect and appreciation for previous generations, too. Here’s how the creative B-Inspired Blogger mamas do it…
15 Ways for Teaching Kids Respect & Appreciation for Previous Generations
- Model Respect – “We try to show them by being respectful of our parents’ advice and relationship.” Jaimi of The Stay-At-Home-Mom Survival Guide
- Interview a Grandparent or Elder – “I recently realized that I, as the adult, did not have a proper respect for a 100 year old woman in my life because I did not know her life story. Humbling to admit that. As I asked questions and learned her history, my understanding and respect sky-rocketed. So I would say first to learn the life stories of the older generations and then as the parent to model that respect. [Encourage kids to get to know their story with] printable interview questions to ask [their] grandparent.” Allison of House of Hendrix
- Connect Through Technology – “We don’t live near the rest of our family, so we video chat every Sunday night with my son’s grandparents. My 3 year old loves putting on shows for them and telling them all about his day. It’s a great way to stay connected even though we are far away.” Amanda of Dirt & Boogers
- Play Games Over the Phone – “We live five minutes from my mother-in-law and two hours from my parents. When my daughter was younger, she loved to call my parents at least once a day. She would play imaginary games (often kitty cat where they were all kitty cats) with them on the phone. Now that she is four, she is not into the phone as much (possibly because she is in school more), but she still loves talking to them and visiting them. Really for me it is just letting her have time with her grandparents. They do the rest.” Carrie of Crafty Moms Share
- Have Special Family Meals – “My mother tries to bring my grandmother to our house (90 mins away) once or twice a month. We try to have Liam talk on the phone during the week if possible. Usually, when they come to visit, they get special one on one time with him. Occasionally we will all meet at my husband’s parents house which is a bit closer. We often do large holiday meals there as well.” Sarah of Little Bins for Little Hands
- Make Family Recipes – “We have lots of family recipes that we use & tell our kids who they are from and use them for holidays and other events.” Karyn of Teach Beside Me
- Share Stories & Songs – “We live far away from both our families, but we rely on technology to communicate with them. My parents and parents-in-law read to the children, sing for them, and we also call a lot (also on Skype but without video), and of course, we try our best to visit them at least 2 a year.” Olga of The European Mama
- Practice Family Traditions Together – “My boys have both sets of grandparents and one great grandmother right here. We have visits often with them all and the kids have formed bonds with them from just being able to see them often. Recently I had my mom over to cook a family tradition desert with them as a fun bonding and memory making experience. We do different things like this with all of the family. They are blessed to have them so close.” Jaime of Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
- Tell Family Stories – “We visit family as often as possible. We share stories of grandparents and great-grandparents. Some of them immigrated from other countries, so we share those stories.” Karyn of Teach Beside Me
- Learn About Ancestors Through a Family Tree – “I also have done a family tree with my kids to teach them of their heritage and ancestors. I love researching family history-this is a love of mine that I am trying to instill in my kids. Knowing your heritage helps you know a little more about yourself.” Karyn of Teach Beside Me
- Visit Historic Memorials & Monuments – “We visit local memorials and monuments along with talking about those in our family that have come before us.” Deirdre of JDaniel4’s Mom
- Teach Geography – “We teach geography often by utilizing maps to show where all of our family lives, where my mom came to America from, and teaching some language (German) since my mom’s family is all from that region. It is taught in snippets right now, but I know from my parents teaching me throughout my life to not forget those that have lived before that we want to teach that to our children as well.” Jaimi of The Stay-At-Home-Mom Survival Guide
- Go on a Family Adventure – “A few years back, my parents took all of their kids on a family history trip to the British Isles. My grandfather immigrated from Wales as a boy and so we still have living relatives in Wales. My father also served an LDS mission in England. So, we all (8 kids, 2 parents, plus 6 spouses) traveled over there (thanks to Dad’s frequent flier miles!) to learn about our heritage. It was a life changing experience.” Karyn of Teach Beside Me (More about Family History for Kids from Karyn.)
- Draw a Portrait – “One day when grandma (a.k.a MaMaMa) was visiting, I asked my daughter Kolbe to draw a portrait of her. While my 6 year old drew, MaMaMa talked about what it was like back in the day when she was six years old. It was a really neat conversation to overhear and the portrait came out beautifully.” Kristen of Art History Mom
- Make a Family Book – “We make a multi-generational family book that has been key to my kids getting to know grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – it helps me keep close to my family, as well, especially since most of them live far away!” MaryAnne of Mama Smiles
What would you suggest for teaching kids respect and appreciation for previous generations? Do your kids have a close relationship with the elders in your family? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments below!
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Joyce @ It's Your Life says
My grandmother is in her 90s now, and in a home with moderate dementia. Having a love and interest in my family history, I loved listening to her stories about growing up in Chicago, and how different it became. She told me how they use to sleep out side during the summer months because it was to hot indoors. Even when I lived in Chicago there is no way I would have slept out side. I’m glad we had those times together, and miss them.
Krissy @ B-Inspired Mama says
Aw – thank you so much for sharing that, Joyce! I remember having sleepovers with my Grandma when she was still with us and listening to her stories while I drifted off to sleep next to her. Thanks for reminding me of that!
We recently had nanny to our home ed group to teach a watercolour session and we have grandma booked for flower arranging. My children were so impressed by how impressed their friends were and they learned a lot from her. I think they still are bowled over they are so little but hopefully we can build the respect now for the teenage years. What I really liked was that we asked nanny because we like her to be involved but I was impressed by how much it showed the children as even the parents were impressed with her talents. Great post, we will be utilising a lot of these ideas.
Krissy @ B-Inspired Mama says
I’m glad you found some ideas you can use! I love that idea of having those of another generation teach classes. So cool to foster respect in the kids of the skills that they have.