Recently on Pinterest, I found several ideas for recording the stages of a child’s life. I think they’re really cool and easily adaptable to other events in life, such as travel, sports, rehearsals or a new pet.
Jennifer Bacher, in her blog post 10 Tips For Photographing Your Baby, encourages new mothers to plan ahead and take a monthly picture, putting text into the picture of the changes that month:
Farrah Jobling did something similar at her personal blog, The Jobling Family, with an annual photograph:
You could take this picture on the birthday, start of school, or for the holidays. Remember that perfect is not required here – you want the photo to be close to the same time but it doesn’t have to be exact. What’s important is to just do it.
As for what you’d write in, either use the same questions each year to see what changes or keep a list of questions and simply choose what seems most relevant for the year. Thre are advantages to both, so it becomes personal preference and subject to change at any time.
Nicole Reaves uses the same of 20 questions each year, asking things such as favorite toys, books, lunches, games, animals and songs. She also designed and sells a soft covered book to be used in a similar manner by pasting in the picture and handwriting the answers.
I think a pre-done book is a great idea, mostly because it’s fast and easy, something every parent appreciates with small children. Once again, it’s more important to do something than nothing and this creates a record of your child that can always be scanned and uploaded later to Shutterfly or some other service to make even more permanent.
I asked Nicole if I could share her list of questions and she very nicely gave me permission. If you’re interested in ordering her book, click here.
4. What is your favorite tv show?
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
6. What is your favorite outfit?
7. What is your favorite game?
8. What is your favorite snack?
9. What is your favorite animal?
10. What is your favorite song?
11. What is your favorite book?
13. What is your favorite cereal?
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
15. What is your favorite drink?
16. What is your favorite holiday?
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Kelly O has a list of questions geared for asking older children. This includes things such as what makes you happy / sad, what makes you laugh, who are your best friends, what are you good at, and where’s your favorite place to go.
If you need more inspiration – and remember this doesn’t have to a lengthy list to create a record of a moment in time – you can always check out a list of positive personality adjectives or character traits. You don’t want to list the adjective or trait, but use it as a prompt to describe something. If your child is curious, for example, you could use “backyard explorer” or “always asks why”.
For my daughter, curious would have translated into “breaks it to see what happens”. I’d have been hesitant to write it down to read 20 years later, but as an adult, my daughter does in fact get paid to break things by doing quality control testing for new technology products. Who would have known that what she did as a kid she now gets paid for?
Earlier, I mentioned this technique could be used in a number of ways. If you’re traveling, you’ll want at least a daily picture with a short description of where you were, what you did, or who you met. For sports, it might be an hourly picture over the course of several days. For rehearsals of a play, a picture each time you meet. And for a pet, weekly pictures up until six months, then monthly until a year and annually after that.
For each of these, I’d recommend spending time beforehand to brainstorm questions you want answered, then keep that list handy in your pocket or cell phone. Having a prepared list will sharpen your observations, enabling you to better record the events in your life.