Today, Emily (from the “This is Me” Challenge family history blog) shares ideas about doing histories for children and teens. (If you didn’t see her post yesterday, take a look at her ideas for doing histories for babies and toddlers.)
- Have your child write his/her name, draw a self-portrait (or use a picture) and make handprints for one page. You can put this in a scrapbook or a special 3-ring binder. When they were younger I also included a picture, but now their hands are getting too big, so I have them write their name on it instead.
- Keep some of his/her artwork in a 3-ring binder. Be sure to label anything with the date and how old s/he is.
- Write down or record the funny things your child says. You can have a specific journal or computer file for this, or do it on a blog or scrapbook page.
- Get your child a journal or diary and encourage him/her to write in it at least once a month. You can assign a topic (Write about your favorite pet/color/chore/friend/toy/etc.) or they can choose a topic. Do this together so you both have an excuse to record your lives and spend some quality time together!
- Measure how tall s/he is. Mark it on a removable growth chart. (Door frames are fine too, but you can’t take them with you if you move!)
- Take pictures. Try to take a picture in the same place every year at the same time (birthday, first day of school, or a specific holiday) to measure growth. You can even use the stuffed animal from babyhood if you did that.
- If you are a scrapbooker, you can let your child take over his/her pages around the time they can write, cut and glue! Trust me, it’s kind of painful at first to see how “terrible” the layouts turn, but as I’ve let my oldest do this more often, it’s given me the chance to teach him about design skills, math concepts, spelling, handwriting, and writing skills. I’ve come to cherish the pages he has done, because they are all him—even if they’re not as pretty and good as I’d make them. Plus, it’s given me extra time to catch up on other scrapbooking or other family history work.
If you’ve had a chance to instill the importance of recording your own life to your children, it won’t take much more work as a teenager. But if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start. Most teenagers will have plenty of opportunities in school (especially in English class) to write and record all about themselves. I think the key to helping them realize that it’s not just an assignment, is for you to be a good example to them in this area. Show them some of the things you’ve recorded about yourself, pick a topic at dinner and have everyone talk about it, then record write what they said, indulge in their wanting to scrapbook or journal writing. Basically anything already mentioned can be adapted to suit the needs of teenagers as well!
Overview: When you take the time to record your child’s life (or help them), you will never be disappointed or feel that you’ve wasted your time. Recording these moments will never be a regret that you have.