Today, Emily shares ideas for doing histories for your children. Today, she covers babies and toddlers. Tomorrow, we’ll share her ideas for doing histories for children and teens. Emily has a blog called “This is Me” Challenge, with tips and ideas for writing personal and family histories.
Basic Histories Of Children
There is no doubt in my mind that children grow up way too fast. If you have children and/or nieces and nephews of your own, you probably whole-heartedly agree. Life is funny though, in the aspect that you don’t really notice the children in your life growing up until they hit major milestones.
A few personal examples: #1: My oldest niece just turned 13. She was barely four when I got married, and even though she lives next door to me and I see her quite often, it still blows me away that she can be even close to that age. #2: My oldest son just turned 7, and everyday he comes home from school I wonder when he got so big and what happened to my baby. #3: With all the social media that is now available to us, I often come across old neighbors (whom I babysat) that I swear should still be in elementary school, but who now have children of their own.
Time goes by quickly. Too quickly, in fact. But…there is one way that we can stop time for but a small moment—record it! Have you ever thought about someone you haven’t seen in person for awhile, and the first thing that you think of is a picture of them? It helps to jog the memory for sure! But what other than pictures can we do to help us remember these milestones? Well, I’ll share a few ideas with you right now!
Yes, you can record personal histories for babies! Obviously, babies don’t remember anything, but you can record your thoughts and feelings, their milestones, and how they are growing. You don’t have to do ALL of these ideas, just choose one or two and don’t forget to do it!
- Write down milestones of your children as they grow. (Height, weight, when they sit, 1st foods, etc.) Get or make a calendar just for these things. Put it in a place you will see it often and record things as they happen–this way, you’ll always have that info in a safe, recorded place. If you’re more of a techie person, set up a milestones blog just for you and close family. I received a free calendar just for new moms while I was pregnant—it came with stickers and everything to easily record what went on. Then, later when I had more time, I went back to the calendar to see my baby’s milestones and incorporated them into a scrapbook page that I made for each month of his first year.
- Take pictures regularly. You can do it every day, once a week, or at least once a month. Be sure to somehow record how old your child is in the picture. You can make a sign (simple or extravagant), use baby blocks or puzzle numbers, or add it digitally.
- Keep track of your baby’s size by using a larger stuffed animal or toy and take a picture of your baby with it every month, place your baby in the same basket every month, or even just next to a measuring tape!
- Make a video slide show of pictures from your child’s first year. Set it to music and make a few copies (for you, baby, grandparents, aunts/uncles, siblings, etc.)
- Make a scrapbook page of your child growing his or her first year.
- Make feet prints every month for the first year. You can do this on paper, or even on a large canvas.
When children start to show preferences of things they can start helping you record their personal history! Of course, the older the child, the more s/he can help and be more involved in what you do.
- Measure height and weight every 6 months.
- Take (or get) a good set of pictures every month or every 6 months. Make sure you get at least one good close-up shot and one full body picture with something that shows size. (You can still use that stuffed animal from babyhood, the basket or tape measure.)
- Make hand prints every year. I do this on paper, and use it on the first page of my kid’s scrapbooks for the year. Even if you’re not a scrapbooker, this is a very easy method! All it takes is cardstock, a marker or pen and ink or paint!
- Record what your child is saying, and be sure to record how s/he says it! Video is great for this! Most digital cameras and phones have video capabilities on them. To keep track of the videos, make a specific folder on your computer. You can even make sub-folders of who is in the video or special occasions. There are sites you can upload your videos to and share them privately with family and friends or you can share them on your blog.
- Keep some of his/her artwork in a 3-ring binder with page protectors. Be sure to label it with the date and how old your child was!
- Get a journal or a notebook. Have your child draw pictures about their day/week/month/vacation. Write the details of the picture down so you don’t forget!