Kids grow up fast – everyone tells you that as soon as you have a baby but you don’t really appreciate how quickly they grow until a few years have whizzed by in a blur. I’ll have an 8-year-old in a couple of months and sometimes it still only feels like 5 minutes ago that I had a newborn baby in my arms. Crying. A lot.
Documenting each milestone is important so you can look back later and remember how little they once were. I’m a bit of a hoarder of photos and love looking back through them every now and then. I hope when she’s much older she’ll appreciate that I took so many photos and kept them for her.
If you want to do something creative, there are lots of ways you can record memories of your child’s early years. Take a look at this list of 11 ways to document your child’s biggest milestones…
1. Store your child’s drawings
What do you do with all those pictures your child brings home from nursery or school? I have to admit I don’t keep all of them (there are a lot!) but I do try to keep as many as possible. I also keep a collection of her homework and report cards, as well as class photos and anything from school that has made it into the local newspaper.
I have them in a couple of box files currently, but you could scan them in and store electronically instead if you’re short on space. Places like Google Photos or Dropbox are good for online storage.
2. Take lots of photos
With a smartphone permanently in your pocket, there’s no excuse for not always having a camera handy to take photos of your child. Any time they do something that you want to remember later, take a photo. This could be school events, on holiday, birthday parties, the first time they ride a bike, a cake smash photo shoot, whatever makes you smile. Milestone cards are a great idea so you know exactly what age they were when the photo was taken.
Make the most out of being able to dress little ones up in cute outfits and dressing up costumes, because believe me very soon they won’t let you.
Another nice idea is to take a photo in the same place every year. We have a photo every year or so on the same bench at our local country park and it’s amazing to see how much she has grown each year.
Keep the school photos as well – you might not think your child looks their best in them (messy hair, lunch down their shirt) but you’ll regret not buying them when you have a moody teenager – even if it’s just to embarrass them in front of their new boyfriend or girlfriend!
3. Create a Milestone Slideshow
When you have enough photos, you can use them to make a milestone slideshow to show just how much your child has grown.
It’s easy to do, you will just need a slideshow maker software like Movavi Slideshow Maker to create your slideshow. It has a timeline panel where you drop your photo files and also provides basic tools like crop, rotate, and split image files.
You can choose how long the slide should play for by entering the duration for each image slide. It also supports adding an audio track and has a large selection of transitions and filters that you can use to make an amazing and entertaining slide show.
4. Try your hand at Scrapbooking
If you have a lot of photos (what mum doesn’t!) you could also use them for making a scrapbook. There are lots of online services where you can create your own scrapbook or photobook, so you don’t even need to get cutting and sticking.
If you want to personalise your scrapbook and make it funny, you could Photoshop some of the photos or add your own captions. Try dividing the scrapbook into sections for different themes or ages.
This will be a lot of fun to look through with your child when they’re bigger.
5. Baby’s first year book
Who doesn’t get one of these books bought as a new baby gift! Take the time to write down every milestone so by the end of their first 12 months you have everything recorded.
Believe me, if you don’t write it down you will forget. You might think now that you’ll never forget what age your baby got their first tooth or took their first steps, but a few years down the line it will all be a bit of a blur. Probably due to a combination of sleep deprivation and baby brain.
6. Interview your child
Why not use the video camera on your phone and record some footage of them chatting about their day at school, about their friends, their teacher, their likes and dislikes etc. Videos are always funny to watch back and can bring your tiny child’s character to life much more than photos alone.
If you blog, adding a written interview would make a great blog post as well as somewhere easily accessible to store these memories.
When carrying out the interview let your child say what they want without any prompts, and try not to interrupt them.
7. Create a journal of your child’s life
Buy a journal and make a note of everything important that happens. Milestones, funny things they’ve said, entries about places you’ve been. Add your thoughts and feelings so that when your child grows up you can let them read it and see just how much you loved them (most of the time!).
A durable, hardbacked notebook will make sure the journal stays intact throughout the years. You can buy dedicated journals for mums or just a plain notebook.
8. Make your own memory jar
This is a lovely idea and so easy to make. A memory jar can be made with any unused jar, and you can use ribbons, stickers and lace to decorate it.
Write on pieces of paper any events (big & small) that happen in your child’s life and put these in the jar. Wait a year or two before going back through the memories so you can enjoy remembering things you’d forgotten.
If you have more than one child don’t forget to label each jar with their names!
9. Hand and foot prints
Another way to document your child milestone’s is by making a hand or foot print painting. We still have the teeny clay hand and foot prints hanging on the wall, I can’t bring myself to take them down! You can either do these yourself with a hand and foot print kit or go to a ceramics/pottery cafe to get someone else to do it for you.
You can also use paint to make your own prints. When making a finger or handprint painting it’s best to get child-safe paint, for example, Crayola washable paint.
These prints are great to show how your child’s hands and feet have grown in size when you look back.
10. Sharing photos on social media
You’ll either love or hate social media, but you can’t deny it’s great for sharing your children’s photos with family and friends.
Social media is great for documenting your child growing up as it’s so easy to access from anywhere. On Facebook, you can upload photos and organise them in different albums, and also add tags and comments to each photo of your child to make them easy to find in future. You’ll also get photos featuring in ‘Memories’ which shows you what you’ve posted on the same day in previous years.
Instagram is great for parents to share photos of their children – you can create a special hashtag for your kids’ photos so that they can be easily searched by others and found by yourself. You can set your profile to private if you only want friends and family to see your photos.
11. Post baby photos on your blog
Add milestone photos to your own blog to share them with your readers. A round-up post each month is popular with bloggers of new babies, and one every year for older children is a nice idea.
If you don’t have a blog, it’s so easy to set up a new blog on WordPress. There are free options and you can set your page as private if you only want it for personal use and viewable by people you have invited.
What have you done to record your children’s biggest milestones? If you have a new baby arriving soon, hopefully, some of these suggestions will give you some inspiration!