Stories have been told since the dawn of time. Under a starry sky. Beside a crackling fire. Snuggled in blankets, heads on pillows. Around a dinner table, silverware softly clinking on plates.

Stories are the glue that fastens the past to the present with meaningful purpose. Sometimes we don’t even know how powerful a story is until we hear it released from our own lips or those of a family member. Whispered in a secret hush, hollered aloud like a gust of wind, excitement, and energy bestowed on every word, stories are magic. Telling a story is like opening up a plain old tin can without a label. No one knows what’s inside, but everyone is dying to find out.

I have always loved hearing the stories of my grandparents. One of my favorites is about my Grandpa as a teenager. He worked in a bakery and, to woo my grandma, he made a giant heart out of bread dough. He delivered it to her hot from the oven early one morning and left it on her doorstep.bread baked into heart shape

I imagine younger versions of them – my jolly grandpa nervously delivering his heart-bread to my bold and sassy grandma. I picture her smiling and laughing when she opened her door that day.

Storytelling not only remembers the consequential history of our grandparents, and their grandparents, but it also connects us to each other in the present. Stories weave us into a place of sharing in ways that we otherwise might never experience together – laughter, joy, fear, sorrow, excitement, silliness, love, hope.

We are all storytellers. Anyone who has taken a walk, gone to school, kissed a girl, gotten a job, taken a trip, lost a tooth, lost a friend, or played a sport, has a story to tell. Children want to hear it all. They want to know deeply the people they love the most.

mother telling daughter bedtime storyDocument and pass down your family stories

There are many ways to document or record your family stories. Spend a long winter or spare evening sifting through devices and albums and create a photo book that incorporates family lore and history. For even more nostalgia, record stories and preserve the sounds of family across multiple generations. The Voiceshare App by Wavhello is a great way to record songs, stories, and messages from loved ones. The audio clips can be stored, organized, and played remotely for your child using the cuddly Soundbub Bluetooth speaker. Tell stories together at your next family gathering to create long-lasting audio mementos.

Audio Memento prompt

Ask everyone the same question about another member of the family: What is the funniest thing grandma has ever done? What do all the cousins claim as their favorite memory with Auntie Jane? What are your hopes and dreams for new little Baby? 

 

Wavhello Soundbub and Voiceshare app voice recording

Parent Co. partnered with WavHello because they believe in the bonding power of storytelling.

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Story Prompts

Stories about family history
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Where have members of your family lived?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Who is the oldest family member you’ve met, or remember knowing?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Where did you grow up?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Where did your parents grow up?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
What holidays did you celebrate?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
What kind of music did you listen to?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
What were your favorite songs and bands growing up?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
What is your religion?
What were your parents’ religions?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
What advice would you give to kids today?
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Stories about Experiences
father telling daughter story on a park bench
A time you felt scared
A time you got lost
A time you thought you were in trouble but weren’t
A time you worried about something big
The first time you went to the ocean
The first time you went to a school dance
A time when you had to apologize to someone
A time when you felt inspired
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Stories about people
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Who were your best friends growing up?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Who did you go to when you had a question or needed help?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Who got in trouble the most in your family?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Who did you look up to the most?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Who was your favorite teacher?
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Stories about “how?” and “why?”
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Why did you get married?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Why did you choose the job you had? Were there others?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
Why did you pick the college you went to, or why didn’t you go to college?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
How did you feel about school?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
How did you feel about friends?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
How were you perceived? As social, an outcast, a bully, a peacemaker, a comedian?
father telling daughter story on a park bench
How did you ask your wife or husband to marry you?
father telling daughter story on a park bench

How did you learn to fish, hunt, ride a bike, sew, cook, paint, or play piano, etc.?
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family and pets celebrating stories and lore

How to tell a story

Start with a question and answer it.
Feed all the senses
Explain sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste with details. 
Make it funny.
Kids love silliness! Anything gross will get their attention.
Tell kids stories about them.
Remember your childhood.
Your kids only know you and your parents as adults. A two-minute description of the time you went down a giant waterslide and lost your bathing suit is just as good as a long love story.
Triumphs and failures make for great stories.
Tell about when you were the same age as your kids. How did you see the world? What kinds of things did you do (e.g. set traps for the tooth fairy, bury treasure in your backyard)?

Memories are stories. The more you start sharing them, the more you remember, and the more stories you’ll want to share!

Everyone has a story

We might not think our own stories are exciting or interesting. But the truth is that they are each uniquely and meticulously created over time and with fascinating detail. Each experience and emotion, each interaction we have ever known, is important.

Our families – made up of generations of stories – are like a treasure trove of golden moments just waiting to be heard. Loves and losses, triumphs and falls, trips of adventure and times of sticking around and holding on tight. Relationships close and far, deep and distant, short and long lasting. How amazing to hear them all!

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Parent Co. partnered with WavHello because they believe in the bonding power of storytelling.