Memory Keeper: Childhood Journals

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As you know, I am kind of obsessed when it comes to preserving memories for my children. That is a huge reason behind my interest in genealogy, and it’s no different when it comes to documenting the present. I love bottling up special moments.

My aim is to preserve memories in a way that is beautiful and meaningful, but also prevents me from having boxes upon boxes stored in my attic or dozens of sticker-covered scrapbooks filled with every piece of paper my children ever touched. The goal is to take a curated, minimalist approach to preserving these memories.

Our Favorite: Promptly Journals

Enter: the childhood history journal from Promptly Journals. These gorgeous, clean journals help caregivers document a child’s history—their important milestones, unique aspects of their personality, even spaces for photographs and works of art—in a way that is both practical and beautiful.

I have used these journals for each of my own children and am truly in love with the product. My son loves looking through his journal (he calls it his “gurnal”), looking at pictures of himself as a baby, and having me tell him stories about himself. He takes it out when people come to visit, eager to show them how he has grown. He is so proud of himself and my heart melts every time he emerges from my bedroom with the journal. His little sister has taken after him and I love watching her toddle down the hall after him, journal in hand.

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Though our Promptly Journals have become the main way I record their milestones and my own parental musings and reflections, I do find other ways to save treasures from their childhood. I have a memory box for each of my little ones that preserves special keepsakes from their birth and newborn days. I plan on sharing them in a future post. I also write letters to my kiddos every once in a while, usually sharing information about my own past/present or talking about my hopes and dreams for them. As the kids get older and start producing more artwork, I also plan on purchasing one art portfolio per child to store a select number of pieces from each year of their lives. The goal is to save a few special pieces that help to tell my children’s stories and to let the rest go.

Just Do It

However you choose to document and preserve your child’s history, my main piece of advice is: do it. It’s so much more work trying to remember all of those precious moments and recording them all at once, months or years after the fact, than it is to record them in small chunks as they happen. As a historian, I also know that people’s memories fail them, even when they are 100% convinced they’ve got the story right. Getting the stories down sooner rather than later not only increases the accuracy (and likelihood that you’ll do it in the first place) but it also helps preserve the point of view you had at that particular moment of your child’s life. When your children are grown and look back on these stories, they will appreciate hearing your “voice” just as much as they do reading about their childhood. I love using my Promptly Journals because they minimize the amount of time I have to spend trying to document everything but still preserve all the meaning and special moments I want to remember.

How do you document the lives of your little ones? Let me know in comments!