The family tree is a great tool to show your child about who are all the members of your family. It is a pictorial representation about your ancestral roots. Studies have shown the following benefits of teaching children about their family roots:
Better bonding: It is difficult for children to grasp family relationships when you suddenly introduce them to new people. The family tree is a great way to prepare children to meet your extended family. This is especially great if you are heading to a big wedding in the family and the children are going to meet a lot of people. It can be quite overwhelming for them to be introduced to all of them at the same time.
However, if you do a family tree activity with them before heading out to the event, they would already be anticipating meeting these people and would be clear about relationships. When your kids meet them, and address them by their right name and relationship, not only will you gain huge brownie points for doing a good job on raising such well-mannered kids, but also, it will help your children bond with those relatives better.
Self Esteem: Research shows that the more children know about their family history, the greater their self-esteem. It provides them with a clear sense of identity and belonging and makes them feel good about themselves. Children are also inspired by their relatives’ achievements and are sometimes motivated to emulate them. Therefore, using the family tree to map out your family ties is a lovely thing to teach your children.
The Simplest family tree creation for 6 -8 year olds
Materials Required: Brown and Green Chart paper, scissors, glue, pencil, colour pencils, pictures of family members
Procedure: Have your child lay his or her arm on the brown chart paper from elbow to finger tips. Trace the outline of the arm to fingertip including, “between the fingers” to form the shape of a tree. Each finger will be a branch. Draw leaf outlines on the green chart paper and cut them out (you would need as many leaves as the number of relatives you have in the family that you want to portray). Write the names of the relatives with the relationship on the leaves. Stick them on the tree and then explain to your child, each relationship. You can make this even more fun if you have the pictures of the family members to stick on the tree.
If your kids are older, you can use simple flow charting techniques with circles for women and squares for men, etc.
Steps in Drawing the Family tree
Pick a good medium. Since you will be investing a lot of time in this, pick a nice chart paper to draw it out. When you enhance it with pictures, it will be something you can display in your child’s room to remind her of family ties in these days of nuclear families where you don’t meet your extended family often.
- Decide on a format. Decide if you want to draw an actual tree or a simple flowchart.
- Make a rough draft in a smaller paper to get your facts right and ensure that you have not missed out anyone.
- Start drawing with a pencil on your final medium. If you want a really nice picture, and your kids are older, you can also make the effort to draw a nice tree with tracing paper etc.
- Ink and colour – Have the kids draw over the tree with colour pens and make it pretty.
- Embellish – Embellish with photos. After adding names, you can also add more details like date of birth, nick names, anniversary dates, year of death, etc. You can use dotted lines to indicate a divorced relationship too. The more details you add, the richer the family tree becomes.
Today, we have apps like Ancestry, Roots magic etc. that have made this even more high-tech and help you trace your roots. In the west, this has developed into an advanced tool called a Genogram by which people, especially those who have immigrated in their childhood from other countries, attempt to trace their roots.