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Family and friends

Your family are all the people who are related to you – you’re all connected by the same brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles. Your friends are people who have the same likes or dislikes that you do, and who you like spending time with.

Your family all share the same DNA, which are tiny molecules in your body that have information about your genes. Your genes make up who you are – from the colour of your hair to the length of your toes. Your friends might not always share your DNA (you can be friends with your family too!), but you do share interests. For example, you might like the same games, television shows or hobbies.

Adoptive families are people who have decided to be mums and dads to children who don’t have their DNA, but who they want to raise as their own.

Top 10 facts

  1. There’s no limit on the number of friends and family you can have!
  2. Family members can be your friends too – friends are people who like spending time together, and that can include your brothers, sisters, cousins, mum and dad.
  3. There are different terms we use to tell how we’re related to people, like aunt, uncle, gran and granddad.
  4. Your mum and dad are called your parents, and brothers and sisters are your siblings.
  5. Families sometimes look like each other – they’ll have the same hair, or the same colour eyes.
  6. There are lots of different kinds of families, and they all have different relationships in them.
  7. Adoptive families are people who don’t have the same relatives, but who have decided to live together and care for each other.
  8. You can learn about people in your family who have died by asking gran and granddad, or looking up old records of when people were born, when they got married and when they died.
  9. If you’ve got one or two friends who you like spending time with more than anyone else, they’re your best friends.
  10. You can meet people who might become your friend just by saying hello, and asking them about the sorts of things they like to do.

Did you know?

  • Your family is more than the people you live with – you might have cousins, aunts, uncles and grans who live somewhere else but are still part of your family.
  • When a large group of family members get together who haven’t seen each other in a while, it’s called a family reunion.
  • Children whose mum or dad might not be alive, or able to care for them anymore might be adopted or fostered into another family. That means they might not look like their new mum or dad, but they live together and care for each other.
  • A step-family means that one parent has children who aren’t related to the other parent. Everyone might still call each other mum, dad, brother and sister.
  • If your mum or dad has sisters and brothers, they are your aunts and uncles.
  • Your aunts’ and uncles’ children are your cousins.
  • Your grandmother is your mum or dad’s mother.
  • Your mum or dad’s niece is your cousin.

Have a look through the gallery below and see if you can spot the following:

  • An old family tree
  • A blank family tree
  • A family group



Sometimes we talk about families in terms of generations. A generation is all the children who have the same mum. When those people have children, that’s another generation.

Your mum and dad are one generation older than you, and your grandparents are two generations older. Your cousins are the same generation as you.

The word ‘great’ is used before grandmother, grandfather, aunt and uncle to let us know how many generations older than us they are. Your great-grandmother is your grandmother’s mum – three generations older than you are.  Your great-uncle is your grandfather’s brother – two generations older than you are.

People who are related to each other have some of the same DNA. DNA is a tiny chain of tiny molecules in your body, and it has information about your genes.

Genes make up who you are. Your genes say whether you’ll have black or blonde hair, or whether you’ll be tall or short. You get some genes from your mum and her family, and some from your dad and his family.

A family tree shows how people in a family are related. It’s called a tree because it shows different branches of a family – if a mum and dad had two sons and two daughters, each of those sons and daughters is a branch of the family. They’ll have their own children, who will have their own children, and that’s how the family tree grows.

We can learn a lot from our grandparents. They’ve lived a lot longer than we have, and can tell us what it was life was like when they were your age. For instance, they didn’t have DVDs, iPads, or mobiles.

Words to know:

Aunt – your mum or dad’s sister
Brother – a boy who has the same mum and dad that you do
Cousin – your aunt or uncle’s son or daughter
Grandfather – the dad of your mum or dad
Grandmother – the mum or your mum or dad
Grandparents – a word that describes all of your grandfathers and grandmothers
Parents – a word that describes both your mum and dad
Siblings – a word that describes all of your brothers and sisters
Sister – a girl who has the same mum and dad that you do
Uncle – your mum or dad’s brother

Related Videos

Just for fun...


Best children's books about family and friends

       Britannica's 5-Minute Really True Stories for Family Time      

See for yourself

Watch a video about DNA and why it's important

Look at the DNA resources and investigations linked to the DNA Detectives book series by Dr Mandy Hartley, or listen to The DNA Detectives Podcast (suitable to children aged 7+)

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