During this time of self-isolation, we are always wondering how to keep ourselves occupied while staying inside the house. We are accustomed to our busy lives where we hardly have time to do the things we want to, and now our schedules have suddenly opened wide up. We should take this time to cross some things off of our to-do list—like spending more time with our family. Now is a better time than ever to reconnect with our loved ones and discover more about them. We could even use this time to document the life stories of our parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles. Here are some simple ways to build a stronger bond with your family and discover their stories:
1. Go Through Old Family Albums
Break out those old family albums that have been collecting dust in the basement. Looking at old photos from your parent’s life is a great way to learn more about their experiences, both before you were around and while you were young. Often, our parents or grandparents won’t know what to tell us when we ask about their life, probably because they forgot all the little details. That’s why pictures are great—they spark feelings of nostalgia and bring memories rushing back when we look at them. It will be much easier for your parents or grandparents to remember certain times in their lives when looking back on pictures. We have a fantastic ability to remember images. Studies have shown that people can recognize over 2,000 with 90% accuracy over multiple days. So, if you want to discover all the details—bring out the photos!
2. Utilize FaceTime and Skype to Talk to Extended Family
During this quarantine, we can’t be around our grandparents or aunts, uncles, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk to them. It’s crucial to build a bond with our extended family, and we can use video chat applications to do so. I would suggest preparing a list of questions to ask them before the video chat. Maybe you want to know more about your grandma’s early childhood, or her teenage years and young adulthood. You can also ask your grandparents, aunts, and uncles about your parents’ life, as it will give you a different perspective to add to their story. Now is the perfect time to ask these questions, and I’m sure your extended family would love the company. But make sure you have a notepad ready before you call!
3. Go Searching Through Old Belongings
I’m sure your parents have some of their old belongings somewhere in the house, whether it be in a storage chest or the attic. When you rummage through your parents’ old stuff, you’ll find pieces that hold great sentimental value to them since they kept it with them through all this time. If you can’t find enough old belongings at your place, call up grandma or grandpa and ask them to search through old stuff at their house for you!
4. Spend Quality Time Together
Sometimes learning about our family can be as simple as just spending time together. If you’re not sure what to do, you could break out the board games, cook meals together, or have a paint night. Everyone loves a good board game from Monopoly to trivia games, and the more intense, strategy games, like Risk. Board games are a great way to have fun with your family, learn more about their competitive side, and they are a great conversation starter. Additionally, we all have to eat, and cooking meals shouldn’t be a one-person job. When you cook meals together as a family, you all learn a little bit about how to cooperate, and you can share stories while doing so. It can also be a fun way to try out new recipes or more elaborate meals that require a little extra work! And lastly, painting can be a lot of fun, and you can even ask your parents to paint something that brought them joy in their childhood. This can help you learn more about what is truly important to them, and you can make a mental note for later when you document their story.
I hope these experiences can bring you happiness and help you to build a stronger connection with your loved ones, while also providing you with an excellent opportunity to document their story. Once you’ve collected all the information you can from your parents, you can turn their story into a printed book, e-book, or audiobook with TaleTeller!