Before I got married, I lived in one house my whole entire life. For over 2 decades, I only had one place to include as my most recent address.
And all of my childhood memories were safely preserved in sealed plastic containers. From my beloved Beanie Babies and artwork to physical copies of report cards and my cap and gown, it was all there.
Now, I’m a military spouse and I’m lucky if we get to stay at one address for the full 3 years. I don’t have the weight allowance to save all of my children’s precious things. What’s a military parent to do?
6 Ways to Save Your Child’s Mementos
A good friend recently shared a sweet baby keepsake: shadow boxes of the first year. In her boxes, she included:
- the baby’s coming home outfit
- Mom and baby hospital ID tags
- a lock of hair from baby’s first haircut
- pictures: ultrasound, newborn, 6 months, 1 year
I wish I had seen this before I passed my babies’ very small clothing along to friends. This is a fun way to keep those first moments and milestones with you, no matter where you go. Since everything is stored together, there is less chance of one item going missing.
You could repeat this process for other milestones in your child’s life, like sports, academics or art.
Even though other babies have worn my kid’s hand-me-downs, I’ve saved a few special outfits. Like the beautiful dress that my aunt bought for my daughter and the Eric Carle jammies that my son looks so sweet in. I don’t want to give these tiny clothes away, but I know we won’t use them again.
So I’m making them into stuffed animals! To be honest, I’m outsourcing this to my very crafty sister-in-law, but if you sew it’s possible to DIY this.
I’m excited to relive beautiful memories and gift my children with something they can treasure.
Every child is an artist and a scholar. As your kids grow and progress through school, they will come home with tons of papers. When your child enters preschool or kindergarten, buy an artist’s portfolio with pockets. You could choose the big size, designed to hold a large sketch or painting, or select a smaller version.
Label each pocket with a grade and year. As your child brings things home, sort through and keep the most memorable items and projects. Stash the papers in the correct grade section.
When your child graduates high school or is ready to relive childhood, pass the portfolio along!
Take this idea beyond family photos and document your child’s work and progress every year. Just like with a portfolio, sort through the papers and projects to select the cream of the crop or most important items.
Take a picture of 3D projects, science fair presentations and your child giving speeches. Scan academic awards, beautiful artwork and other flat papers.
Upload these images and files to your favorite photo book service. Add in pictures of your child from the year too. You could include school pictures, sports teams, groups of friends or field trips.
Put everything together into one photo book for that grade (September to July/August) or year (birthday to birthday). It’s like their own personalized yearbook. You could even leave space at the end for teachers to write notes!
Growing up, we had one particular doorway in our house where we recorded our height. It’s a great visual of our lives. Unfortunately, my kids don’t have one particular doorway. Instead, we have a fabric growth chart that hangs between their rooms.
After every milestone doctor’s visit, I mark their height, their age and the date on the chart. Another fun spin would be to add handprints or footprints to the chart. You could also include photos of your children on their birthdays or at milestones.
Fabric growth charts are easy to roll up and take with you! Other options are giant wooden rulers or peel and stick wall clings.
Whether it’s baby clothes, favorite childhood shirts or athletic jerseys, creating a quilt or blanket out of your child’s clothing is a great way to keep the memories without the bulk.
There are services that can make these blankets for you or you can DIY if you are crafty. Shirt or clothing blankets make great gifts and keepsakes. Make a baby blanket out of jammies and onesies from your little one’s first year. Collect all of their sports jerseys over the years and turn it into a blanket at high school or college graduation.