Capturing your children’s memories as they grow is not only an archiving tool, it is a great conversation starter for everyone.

When our children were born, we were given baby books to record their lives and milestones. But the baby books only allowed us to keep memories of our child’s first year. 

Yes, there are the “school years” journals, too, which are fun to use but are easily separated from the baby books and can be repetitive from year to year.

If you are a busy new mom or dad and don’t have much time to fill in any books, try using a memory box. Jot down the highlights or notes of achievement and stuff them into the box as they occur during your child’s early years.

Break Into Life Segments

Capturing your children’s memories as they grow is not only an information gathering and archiving tool, it is a great conversation starter for everyone involved from your child to you and on to their grandparents and siblings.

The steps for organizing and capturing the memories of your child’s life can be broken down into quick and creative life segments.

  • Birth to Twelve
  • Teen Years
  • Adult Life
  • Values and Philosophies
  • Favorites
  • Family Tree
  • Healthy History

Set Up an Annual Interview

To get your organizing system into motion, set a reminder on your phone or calendar to spend time with your child around his or her birthday each year and ask them a few simple questions.

Once your kids are old enough, this loving, parenting appointment allows you to really listen to your child from their point of view and keeps you in the loop as to what is important to them at any given time.

Record your child’s responses in a journal or scrapbook. If you prefer the digital approach, you can video tape the short interviews each year and store them in your cloud account. When creating your digitized files, be sure keep your “naming conventions” similar from year to year.

Interview Questions

Ask these questions to your young ones – for example, I started with my son Jacob around age 6.

  • What is your full name? Why was it chosen for you? Were you named after someone else?
  • What was your religion at birth?
  • Were there any religious ceremonies following your birth? If so, which ones?
  • As you were growing up did you have a nickname? If so, what was it and was there a story behind it?
  • If you were adopted, at what age? Did you know your birth parents? Do you have any thoughts you want to share?
  • Who cared for you during your early years?
  • What is your very first memory?

As your son or daughter moves into their teens, they can begin filling in their answers or you can ask:

  • How would you describe your family life?
  • What kinds of things do you and your parents disagree about?
  • How do you and your parents compromise?
  • Do you have to do chores? Is there any one that you particularly dislike?
  • Do you get an allowance as a teen? If so, how much is it?
  • Are you allowed to date? If so, do you remember your first date and who was it with? Describe the date.

What’s even more fascinating and memory making is if YOU share your answers too. The dialogue that sparks from these moments can cement your relationship with your child for the rest of your lives.

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About Dorothy Breininger

Dorothy Breininger is America’s Most Innovative Professional Organizer. She is an organizing expert on A&E Television’s Emmy-nominated weekly TV series, “Hoarders,” and also appears on the Today Show, the Dr. Phil Show, the VIEW, QVC and PBS, in addition to being featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and O Magazine.

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