It wasn't until my first child was about 19 months old and I was almost due with child #2, while I was writing in my journal some of the most wonderful inspiration came to me!
I've been a dedicated journal writer since the age of 8, and I've always felt that keeping a journal is an important and worth-while part of life. So when inspiration hit me, I decided right then that I would start a personal journal for each of my children.
So that day I ran to Walmart, grabbed two simple & inexpensive "composition books" and began the records of 2 precious little lives. I have 4 children now, ages 10 to 4 and those journals are some of their and my most sacred treasures other than life itself. My children and I love to snuggle up on the couch and read through their journals together, laughing and reminiscing about the cute things they used to say/do as they grew up. They also love to hear about my feelings as their mother through the years.
To this day I continue to write in their journals, but I now have them write in 'em as well. (We try to do it on Sundays after church.) I also have my husband keep record in their journals when he does Father/Child Interviews with them. (explanation at bottom of post)
If you feel inspired by this idea and want to know where to start, there are many ways to do it...
If you're a scrapbooker, you're doing it, including pictures and embellishments. And my hat goes off to you for your time and creativity!! I used to scrapbook a little. I got my wedding book done, our first year of marriage, and my first child's first year done. But the more children I had, the less time I had for paper and scissors. My other 3 children have scrapbooks too, but with only the important calendar items and a few pictures from their first few months. Since digital cameras and flash drives came about, all of our tons of precious photos are nicely organized by date on the computer (all backed up of course!).
I just write. With the exception of my first-born, I have started my kids' journals sometime during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy before their birth. I write down my thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy (the positive ones of course), about their anticipated arrival, and even about the spelling of their name (or about my feud with daddy over what their name should be). I always brought their journal to the hospital with me so I could write all about their delivery and first day of life. Then it is random journal keeping after that.
I am very particular with the way I journal. There is no right or wrong way, but here's how I prefer to do it...
When I do pages in my kids' "scrapbooks" the journaling is in first-person (as if it was them speaking).
*When I write in their journals, it is in my words to them (as in "You said this, and Daddy & I did this.")
**And when they are old enough to understand the concept, but not old enough to write on their own yet; I will write some of their own entries for them in first-person, using quotation marks, writing down their exact words (even if I have to figure out weird spellings for some of them). Many times after doing this, I still go back later and write a quick explanation at the bottom of the page about what they were talking about. Good to do when they are beginner writers too!!
***Oh, and when they draw pictures in their journals I have them write down what it is or tell me and I write down their words next to the pictures.
****I also like to randomly trace their hands on journal pages, (of course writing down the date and age). Favorites are fun too! Random favorites... fave food, best friends, size of shoe, etc.
Tips to always remember when journaling:
-Last names of PEOPLE
-AGE- (I always write down my kids' ages on each entry to take away having to do the math later)
-State simply the TRUTH- no more/no less
-Don't be afraid to express your FEELINGS. Everyone has the right to feel, and no feeling is wrong.
I certainly don't have the time to be very elaborate in each journal, and I have missed writing down too many memories to count. Five journals (including my own) is not an easy thing to keep up on! In fact, several times I've either typed or written one page talking about all 4 kids or all 6 of us, and made copies to glue into each journal. But I keep all 5 journals in my night-stand drawer and will pull 1 or 2 of them out as often as I can. I hope that my children will learn to love journal keeping as I do and continue keeping them throughout their lives. I'm not sure that I will ever quit keeping journals for them. Only time will tell.
Father's Interview: Daddy has one-on-one "interview" with child, going over anything they want to talk about with Dad, setting new goals and following up on old ones, special "talk time" with Daddy. (This is something that my own father did with my siblings and me growing up. He tried to keep up with it once a month. It's not something my husband grew up with, but still tries to do once in a while with our kids.) "Talk time", etc. are a whole other subject, and tradition that we will cover in other posts this week!
So stay tuned this week for more family (and spousal) bonding through both written and verbal communication. Heather and I have more great ideas to share on this subject!!