1) Recall Oral History: Toddlers and Preschoolers love a great story. This Thanksgiving, forget about the The Three Little Bears and recall a small part of your family's oral history instead. Did your great great grandfather immigrate to the States and conquer the American dream? Did your family once own a farm that raised chickens and hosted the town's Thanksgiving feast? Tell your child the story of their ancestors and watch as they grasp the values and morals that your family has long since passed down.
2) Cherish and showcase your ancestors: Pictures really do say a thousand words-and when those pictures are a century old, the words they tell can really impact your daily life. Bring those photos out of the closets and live with them. Create a family photo wall or special photo book to keep on your coffee table. Show your little one that you are grateful for the legacy that their ancestors have started.
3) Create a family tree: Kids love crafts! Get creative with this fun project while remembering the goal of celebrating your ancestors. Knowledge is fundamental to celebrating your ancestors, so teach your child who came before you in your family tree with a fun visual craft.
4) Take note of commonalities: A child loves to know that they are connected to a bigger purpose and team, so to speak. Especially for relatives that you knew in person, celebrate specific qualities that you see manifested in your own child. Does your little boy wiggle his feet in anticipation of a good meal, just like your grand-daddy used to? Tell him! It will create a connection and help celebrate a loved one.
5) Celebrate your ancestors by living in their memory: In a season of gratitude, live with the knowledge that you could not be who you are without the ones that came before you. Each week or day of November, talk about an ancestor that has impacted your present life, directly or indirectly.
Building a legacy is something we do, as parents, by celebrating the values, morals and experiences of our ancestors before us. Create a season of remembrance with your young children during Thanksgiving in order to give them a foundation of where they came from and where they're going.- By Vanessa Bell