Sharing Family Stories with Our Children


Dallas summer reading programsAs moms, we’re the keeper of family stories. Finding ways to share family history builds a family culture for a strong family unit. Traditions, rhythms, routines, inside jokes, and family stories are important connecting points between family members.

Bedtime Family Stories

Bedtime routine is the perfect time to incorporate family stories. This was a natural and easy way to help my children feel a connection with my dad, whom they never knew. Bedtime family stories allowed “Grandpa Dave” to become real and known to my kids.

I not only told about actual memories with him, but also began to incorporate imaginary hero stories of “Lt. Colonel Murray” with “Colonel Collin” and “Corporal Cooper.” Oral history as we tuck our children to bed allows us to tell about past generations, memories of lost family members, and adoption or foster care stories.

>> RELATED READ :: How to Nail Your Child’s Bedtime Routine <<

Photo Books

Photo books make abstract memories of family stories tangible to our children. Putting old photos into photo albums makes them accessible. Using digital scrapbooking to create bound photo books is another way to pass along stories through photos. Options include Shutterfly’s service for children’s board books, Pinhole Press for spiral bound board books, or Chatbooks which gives easy options to convert social media posts to photo books. Since children love to look at photos, using old photos or current ones allows family stories to easily be preserved and passed along.

Passing on Faith 

No matter the faith background, oral history has always been a vital component of passing on faith traditions. This is done through faith holidays where ancient stories are told, as well as regular rhythms of corporate worship or daily faith practices. When our kids were smaller, we took a small box and wrote out “God moments” as they happened on slips of paper to celebrate the moments when we saw prayers answered or learned new things in our faith journey as Christians.

>> RELATED READ :: Fun Family Fall Traditions <<

Searching Family History

Stories of past generations inform the identity of the next generation. Expanding knowledge of our heritage has never been easier with DNA testing through companies like 23andMe or Ancestry, even restoring stories lost through adoption or foster care. Free genealogy apps such as the FamilySearch Tree or WikiTree allow digging into family history on the go. Other resources include websites like Family Search or Ancestry.

In an effort to resolve some questions in my family history, I’ve been spending hours online. I was shocked to discover that my East Texas roots go all the way back to a family on the Mayflower, making me a direct descendent. I’ve uncovered fascinating stories of scandal, as well as a rich history of determined people overcoming hardship. I can’t wait to find a way to consolidate these stories into a photo book for my children, my future grandchildren, and beyond.

As a mom of grown kids, memories and family culture continue to serve as a binding agent within our family unit, and shared family stories play an important role. Even in the busy days of raising small children, we can find ways to tell these past stories, celebrate the stories we’re creating, and uncover the stories of our ancestors. This is the gift of legacy, to understand our heritage and make sure we share this with our children.

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Heather has called the Fort Worth area home since 1995, after growing up as an Army brat and preacher's kid. She's married to her college sweetheart, Chris (Sic' Em Bears!). Their kids include Collin (1999) and his wife Elizabeth (1999), Cooper (2001), and Caris (2004). Heather is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, The Adoptee Collective, which offers lifetime adoptee support and post adoption resources, as well as pre-adoption education. Heather is also a TBRI® Practitioner. Heather has authored and published multiple books and she finds joy in using her gifts, time, and energy toward her life goal to finish empty.


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