Recording memories of your child – before conception, throughout pregnancy, and after birth – might be important, but unless you set aside time and know which methods are best for you, it might become the last thing on your mind. There are a gazillion ways you can record those special moments and capture a snippet of your child’s life. Do you know of any? Today I’d like to discuss a few methods that you may have never considered.
© sges / Dollar Photo Club
When we were preparing for our first child to come, we were beyond excited. I was pretty diligent about taking pictures of my baby bump, writing down highlights and lowlights of my pregnancy, and recording important dates. When she was born I slacked a bit when it came to writing down milestones and firsts, but I was still great at taking pictures. Now that I have two girls and they are both in the toddler stage, I see their lives flashing before my eyes, and I am slacking on both the picture-taking and journal-keeping front!
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Creative Ways to Record Memories of Your Child’s Life
I’m all about being creative when it comes to record-keeping so that I actually look forward to doing it. Here are several ways you can start recording your child’s life in a unique way.
Use a Voice Recorder
My husband bought me a voice recorder soon after I started blogging, and it was so helpful. I was able to record my thoughts in the moment so I wouldn’t forget them when I actually sat down to start writing.
I also used it to record my daughters talking and babbling, and then every so often I would tell a story of something funny that happened that I wanted to remember. Just the other day, my daughter found my voice recorder and I asked her to sing a song into it. I couldn’t believe that she actually did it. When I try to get her singing on camera it is almost impossible, so a voice recorder is a great alternative in her case.
Using a voice recorder is a great method to keep record of things when you have to get something done and you don’t have time to write down anything but you know you will forget later. It would be fun to get each child their own voice recorder and let them talk into it a couple times each month. This would be a great keepsake to have in the ‘Treasure Box’ that I mention below. My husband bought me an Olympus voice recorder that I highly recommend.
Shoot Plenty of Video
A video camera is such an important part of recording your child’s life. You can start recording video before you even find out you’re pregnant so your child can see how wacky their parents were before they were around. 😉 As your child gets older, you can get more and more creative with the videos. We would love to start doing mini interviews with our girls and their cousins to see how they answer serious questions. It wouldn’t be as funny to read something like that. It’s so much better to watch exactly how they answered.
I cannot wait to do silly videos with my girls. My siblings and I have plenty of video footage of us being really weird, and I love watching it! We used to put bandanas around our eyes and nose, hang our heads over the edge of the couch, and put stickers on our chins for “eyes” and do funny chin-man videos!
It’s easy to think that your phone is good enough for capturing video of your child. If that works for you and you are good about getting the video on your computer, then that’s great. Just remember, though, that you never know when you could lose your phone or when it could suddenly die on you.
We bought a video camera before we had our first child, but I wish we had bought one that was higher quality. The reason? I want to watch these videos when my girls are much older, and I want to feel like I’m actually there. Some of the video we have is too dark or you can’t hear it very well. Since I don’t want to recommend our video camera to you, I searched for a better one. A recent article on Forbes claims that the best camcorder for most people is the Panasonic HC-V750K. This model must have been updated since then because I couldn’t find it. Instead, I found the Panasonic HC-V770. Hopefully that gives you a good starting point if you are in the market for a video camera.
Obviously, taking pictures is probably how most of us track memories of our kids. But I’m going to offer some ideas that you might have never considered.
Baby Bump Photos
I think Pinterest made these big, because that’s where I first saw weekly baby bump pictures. I like these kinds of pictures if you can remember to write down other key things about that week of your pregnancy the minute you take the picture. Then you could make a photo book of the baby bump pictures and put your thoughts and feelings next to each one.
I also wish I had stayed consistent with my pictures. It would have been great if I had worn the same shirt, stood in the same spot, and wore my hair the same way. That way it would’ve been easier to compare. But I guess the ones I have are just fine. 🙂
Weekly baby pictures
I did weekly baby pictures for both of my daughters and it was a really fun way to capture their growth and record all the adorable outfits they had.
Monthly baby pictures
I also did monthly baby pictures. I tried to capture my girls in their element on the day that they were born each month. At the end, I was able to put all 12 pictures plus their newborn picture into a photo frame designed for the first year. It is a real keepsake. This is the exact frame I have for these pictures.
I first saw a Chatbook at a friend’s house. Our girls were having a playdate, and I noticed all these small, square books in a basket on a table in her living room. I picked one up and realized they were picture books of her family. Each page was an Instagram picture and it included the caption that she originally posted with the picture to Instagram. What a great idea! If you know you are going to turn your Instagram photos into a Chatbook, you will be more intentional about the caption. The books are just $6 for 60 pages!
Each year, go through the previous year’s pictures and pick out the best ones to make a photo yearbook of the family. Be sure to do a combination of writing and photos so that anyone can look through the book and know what your year was like. I started doing yearbooks this year, but I started with the year we got engaged.
As your kids get older, taking yearly pictures will be very important. I don’t really care for school portraits (I had way too many bad ones!), and, if you don’t either, I recommend taking your own. Here is a post I did about DIY school pictures that can help you take great pictures of your child each year.
Keep Track of Growth
Fortunately, at each doctor visit, your child’s height and weight is recorded. However, wouldn’t it be great to have a visual representation comparing one age to another, or one child to another? I love this Height Chart on Amazon because it’s so cute and easy to put up on the wall. You can also move it if you need to. I am really tempted to buy one for my girls soon so we can “watch” them grow!
Record Firsts and Milestones
It is fun to remember when Jr. did this and that, but how often do we actually write these things down? Here is my post on all the firsts and milestones you can track. Keep a list on your fridge and the minute your baby does something, write down the date. Be sure to take pictures, record video, or use your voice recorder to help you remember anything else from the moment.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Taking pictures is wonderful, but unless we have some written word to go along with it, we might forget the little details that matter. You can’t take pictures of first words or the way your baby smells as a newborn. These are things you will definitely forget if you aren’t taking the time to write them down.
For first time mamas, a pregnancy journal is a given. But with everything going on in your life for subsequent pregnancies, you might just forget to do a pregnancy journal again. I did!
You can make your own pregnancy journal using ideas listed in this post from A Beautiful Exchange Blog (link no longer available) and this post from C is for Corrie Haffly.
You might want to buy a pregnancy journal instead. There are so many adorable books on Etsy. Some of my favorites are from PolkaDotPrintShop, CleanLifeandHome, and spunkandlove. The reviews for this pregnancy journal on Amazon (just $10) are excellent as well.
Blinkbuggy (link no longer available) is an awesome free service online where you can quickly take note of anything interesting your child does, any picture you take of them, or anything funny or strange they say. I love Blinkbuggy because it is so simple to use. There is even an app for iPhones.
I hadn’t logged in for quite some time, so the other day I was reading some of the things I had written. I need to get back into the habit of writing little things here and there, because I won’t remember them otherwise.
Take a small chunk of time each day, week, or month and devote it to journal writing. Start with a minute a day, 1/2 hour each week, or one hour each month. Maybe the memories won’t be as accurate as they could be if you write them down when they happen, but at least you won’t lose them completely.
I would love to have a separate journal for each of my kids to write anything and everything about them. I didn’t do it from the beginning, but honestly it’s never too late.
In a comment on my milestones and firsts post, one reader recommended Moleskine journals for journal keeping for your child. They seem basic enough and come in a variety of colors.
I started scrapbooking as a teenager, and I know that if I had the time I would love to do it these days. But I have a hard enough time getting family photo yearbooks made. If that sounds like you, too, maybe you can start a smash book instead. A smash book keeps things simple on the creative front. It definitely looks like something I could do in less than 1/2 hour each week!
Maybe you want your child to get more depth and insight into your thoughts and feelings. Write letters to them and I’m sure they will be cherished for life. Start by writing a letter to them on their birthday, and then as you get the hang of it write a letter every time you think they need to know something about a particular period of their life. If you want to go this route, you will probably have more success by scheduling time on your calendar to write the letter.
Start a Treasure Box
I have one box that my mom filled with things that she wanted me to remember of my childhood. My siblings and I all had one, and we called them ‘Treasure Boxes’. In mine, there’s a blanket, an outfit, a bath game that I played with, and other keepsakes. I’m glad she only filled one box, because we don’t need to remember every single thing we owned. Just the things that made us happy.
When you keep memories of your child, you no longer have to keep that memory in your head. It’s definitely hard on your brain to file away every little moment and then try to recall it at a later date. Be sure to capture the memory the moment it happens or soon after to free up space in your brain and to be sure your child will be able to see themselves growing up. It’s definitely a treasure to remember the good moments of our lives.
How do you keep record of your child’s life?