Personal History for Kids

It's never too early to start recording your child's history.  They can start helping you about the time they start talking, but you can start before then!
Here are some things you can do to help your child record his or her childhood, and to start on the path of recording his or her own history!

-Write down milestones of your children as they grow.  (Height, weight, when they sit, 1st foods, etc.)  Get or make a calender just for these things.  Put it in a place you will see it often, and record things as they happen.  This way, you'll always have that info in a safe, recorded place.
-Every 6 months, write down the answers that apply from the Child's Basic Questionnaire (at the bottom of this page).
-Take pictures regularly.  You can do it everyday, once a week, or at least once a month.
-Use a stuffed animal or lovey of some sort and take a picture of your baby with it every month.  Write your baby's age on a piece of paper and put it next to him/her so you don't forget how old s/he was in the picture!
-Make a video slide show of pictures from your child's first year.  Set it to music and make a few copies (for you, baby, grandparents, aunts/uncles, siblings, etc.) 
-Consider doing "Project Life" of your baby's 1st year.  (You take a picture everyday, write a little journaling and put it in an album.  See here for more information!)

-Ask questions that apply from the basic questionnaire.  They will be able to answer some, but the others you can fill in.
-Measure height and weight every 6 months.
-Take a good picture every month or every 6 months with the stuffed animal from babyhood!
-Make hand prints every year.  I do this on paper, and use it on the first page of my kid's scrapbooks for the year. (See here and here for a fun look at how Becky Higgins does it!)
-Record what your child is saying, and be sure to record how s/he says it!  Video is great for this!
-Keep some of his/her artwork in a 3-ring binder with page protectors.  Be sure to label it with the date and how old your child was!

-Get a journal or a notebook.  Have your child draw pictures and/or write about their day/week/month/vacation.  Try to do this regularly--and do it with him/her to get yours done too!  Be sure to write the date!  (See how Rebecca Cooper does it with her kids here!)

School age:
-Have your child write his/her name.
-Have your child draw a self-portrait.
-Keep some of his/her artwork in a 3-ring binder.  (See ideas under School Memories for more ideas on art work.)  Be sure to label anything with the date and how old s/he is.
-Take pictures on his/her birthday.
-Write down or record the funny things your child says!
-Ask questions that apply from the basic questionnaire.  Have your child write some of the answers him/herself.
-Get your child a journal or diary and encourage him/her to write in it at least once a month.  See the Child's Everyday Questions near the bottom here to give some ideas of what to write. Do this together so you both have an excuse to do it!  See this post on Make and Takes to see how one mom does it!

On Birthdays:
-Make hand prints of your child each year.  (See how Becky Higgins does it here and here.)
-Have your child write his/her name.  You can even have them do a self-portrait at the same time!
(I have my boys write their name and do hand prints.  Then I incorporate them on the first scrapbook page of every year.)
-Measure how tall s/he is.  Mark it on a removable growth chart.  (Door frames are fine too, but you can't take them with you if you move!)
-Take a picture or two.  Try to take a picture in the same place every year to measure growth.  You can even use the stuffed animal from babyhood.
-Have your child answer the questions from the Basic Questionnaire (at the bottom of this page).

School Memories:
-Don't feel that you need to keep everything your child brings home from school.  Choose one project or paper each month and put it together in an album of some sort.
-Keep one big box for each child, and put school things in there if you don't care to do albums.  Or use it as a storage place until you do get their things into albums.
-Take a picture of art work and special papers, then put all the pictures into a scrapbook or self-published book (like from Snapfish, Shutterfly, Picaboo, etc.).  (And then you can throw the work away without the guilt!)
-Take a picture of your child on the first and last days of school.  Do this in the same location if possible to measure their growth.
-Go to your child's classroom and get some pictures of him/her in school.
-Get some pictures of your child's favorite friends, of his/her name tag, desk, coat hook, cubby, etc.
-Take a picture of your child with his/her teacher(s) on the first and last day of school.
-Go through the basic questionnaire with your child.  You can do this at the beginning and end of the year, or in the middle.

Child's Everyday Questions:   (Prompts for journal writing)
What were the best 3 things that happened today?
What was your least favorite part about the day?
Who did you play with?  What did you play?
What did you learn at school/at home/at Church?
How are you feeling?
What did you eat?
Where did you go?
What did you read?  Did you like it?
What did you see on TV?  Did you learn anything from it?
Who did you help today?  Why?  What did you do?
How do you feel about your parents/siblings/friends?
Describe the events of today.
How do you feel about the day?
Are you tired or wide awake?
What was the weather like today?  What is your favorite weather?
Who did you help today?  Who helped you?

Child's Basic Questionnaire:
What are your favorite foods?
What are your favorite snacks?
What is your favorite movie?
What is your favorite TV show?
Who are your best friends?
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite toy?
What are your favorite activities?
What are your favorite subjects in school?
Who is your hero/heroine?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Who is your favorite movie/TV/sports star?
What was your favorite part about your recent vacation?
Where in the world do you want to visit?
Where would your dream vacation be?