The first time I held a copy of my book Singing Ain’t Enough in my hand I was super excited.  On top of that, as soon as I posted a picture I began getting text messages and phone calls of people saying they couldn’t wait to order a copy of the book. As I was wrapping up one phone call my son excitedly asked, “Mommy, can I read the book?” I smiled and gave him a big hug, beaming at the thought that he would even be interested, but I didn’t really take him seriously.

The next day, he came to me again, “Mommy, I want to read the book”. 

“Ok,” I replied pacifying him momentarily, which bought me more time to come up with a “reading” option I thought would work.  Here’s why.

Singing Ain’t Enough is the remarkable biography of my grandmother (called GG by my son). Though it is an inspiring story of a women who overcame barriers and became successful in a male-dominated field while raising five children as a single mother; the book does delve into some “adult” topics that I wasn’t quite ready for my six-year-old to encounter on his own.

Being the king of persistence however; my son continued to ask about reading the book every single day for about two weeks until I finally told him “we’re going to read the book tonight”.

Later that evening, we sat down in the playroom with a copy of the book in my lap. I could see in his face he was super excited to finally find out why there was even a book about GG, and what made her so special.

I, on the other hand, had already planned to use the book as a tool for an activity that would share why GG was special; and why my mom, aunt, and uncles were special too. The idea was a big hit. Not only were he and his sister engaged, but I could see them filling up with pride as I shared with them the amazingness that was in their family.

Even though my family is pretty close, it never dawned on me that my kids didn’t know details about family members that I took for granted as common knowledge.  There were these amazing stories of people doing and accomplishing amazing things, and they didn’t know. And if it wasn’t for my son being a little pushy, there’s a possibility that they would have never known.

Passing down family history doesn’t have to be boring.  Here are 3 kid-friendly activities you can do:

  • Grab a notebook and draw faces of different members of your family on each page, then have your kids play “reporter” going from one person to another asking them two or three questions about themselves. They’ll have even more fun if you let them dress up and hold a microphone.
  • Make your own matching game out of index cards. Put a family members name or face on one card and an interesting fact about them on another. Have your kids try and match the correct person to the correct fact.
  • Make a traditional family tree out of construction paper, then talk about each person as you paste them to the branches.

Explaining to your children the history in your family is important. Not only do they have a stronger sense of self, but they also take pride in being part of their special family.