Using Creative Journal Writing to Preserve Your Child's Memories
Kids grow up so fast. As parents we want to be able to preserve special memories for them, but we sometimes lack the time, creativity, and means to do it the way we want. Photos get loaded to our computers never to be looked at again, precious artwork shoved in a box to be opened years to come, and silly stories get told a few times then get watered down as time passes.
Here are 5 simple and easy ways to preserve your child’s memories through creative journal writing.
This is an informal way to jot things down that you want to pass on to your child someday. All you need is a cheap notebook that you can purchase for as little as ten cents at back-to-school time. When your child does something funny or has had an incredible day, grab your notebook and write it down. When they do something horrid, write it down. If there is a life lesson you want to pass on to them, write it down.
Get the whole family involved. Encourage spouses, siblings, and grandparents to write little notes to the child. The rules of this journal are simple, the child is not allowed to read what has been written, everything gets a date, and most importantly, anything goes. Pull out the journal at their birthday party and have all of their friends leave a little note and sign it. Cut out the Sunday grocery ad and tape it in the notebook so your child can get a picture of what the prices were when they were small. The possibilities are endless.
When the notebook gets filled up, grab another one and start filling it up. I envision being able to hand my children a pile of notebooks documenting their life on their graduation or wedding day. What a priceless gift. The best part is, it’s a notebook, so its informal. There’s no need to get caught up in how it looks or the quality of the writing.
A simple but lovely scrapbook to record memories
Anyone who makes scrapbooks knows that the pictures are the most important part, but a scrapbook is also the perfect place to write about the pictures on the beautifully crafted page. Instead of filling both sides of a child’s scrapbook with pictures, consider using one side of it to write a story about the pictures.
Don’t be concerned with your penmanship distracting from the beauty of the page. If your handwriting isn’t the best, type up your story and print it off on acid free paper before adding it to the book. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes the words themselves are priceless.
Set up an e-mail address for your child, but don’t let them know. Then start sending them e-mails. This is another informal way to write to your child and preserve their memories, It also has the added benefit that it can include multimedia. You can attach pictures, videos, and maps to your e-mails. Give out your child’s e-mail address to family if you want them to be able to write to them too.
We send out many e-mails each day, wouldn’t it be great to just include your child on your list of people to write? You can give them the address and password when they are grown, and they can sift through their memories when they have the time. The video below shows exactly how powerful this kind of journaling can be.
Start taking awesome photos of your kiddos with this camera!
Create a photobook on a site like Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, or Walmart. Instead of filling the book completely with pictures select a layout that allows for a larger amount of text. These hard bound books turn out beautifully, and what child doesn’t want to have a book written about them?
You can create a photobook for each year of your child’s life and tell the story that each picture represents. Each Christmas or birthday, you can present that book to your child. It is pretty amazing for them to see their life documented in a “real book.”
You can also make a photobook for a specific event in your child’s life. Say, for example, their first trip to Disney World. Tell the story of the trip not only through pictures but through words. You can write it in third person to make it sound like a storybook, in first person to tell the story through your eyes, or even have older kids help you write the story.
Kids are naturally creative. As a parent, I have dozens and dozens of masterpieces that my little Picassos have created. Instead of throwing them away or shoving them in a box, make an Artwork book for them. This is simple to do. First of all, have your child select a dozen or so of their favorite pieces of art. Once the subjects have been selected, take a picture of all of them. Then ask your child about each of the pieces. What they liked about it, why they made it, and what makes it special are some good questions to ask. Write something up for them about each masterpiece in a word processing document. Include why you like it, when it was made, and quotes from your child. Want to make it a bit silly, make it sound like an art review. Then put the photos and your document on a disk and head over to Fed-Ex Office or some other similar copy store. They can help you create the perfect book, it can be laminated and bound so that at anytime you and your child can both enjoy the art for years to come.
Writing for your kids is one of the most precious gifts you can give them. You don’t have to be a writer, anything you pen will be cherished by them for years to come. Just do as William Wordsworth said and, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”