When you hear the word “baby journal,” how do you feel?
- Warm and fuzzy?
- Or a deep ache in your soul of guilt and shame?
Somehow, the phrase “baby journal” has been stolen. It’s been described as an heirloom of creativity that your kids’ kids’ kids will cherish.
Let’s be honest, despite all your best intentions, those photos aren’t going to get printed, cut, and pasted in some scrapbook that won’t close because you spent way too much on cute accessories that will fall out and trashed before your “baby” enters the 2nd decade.
You need a better, smarter, way to capture those memories.
No more scrapbooks. Instead, pick out a regular old journal and, as the memories and hilarious moments happen, take a few minutes to jot down the date and what happened.
Those entries can be as short as two sentences! The point is to capture the moment (and your thoughts about them) in a quick easy-to-do-during-naptime-with-coffee-in-hand assignment.
The Biggest Mistake Parents
Make in Choosing a Baby Journal
The biggest mistake parents make when starting a baby journal is not thinking about how long these precious books have to last. If you pick up a journal at your local Walmart, there’s a good chance the binding is going to fall apart before your child hits her third birthday.
I know because that’s the mistake I made. I picked up Elena’s journal there, and within two years, the binding had dried out and a younger sibling (ahem, BELLA) ripped out some of the pages. I’ve had to tape/staple/nail/sew/transplant them as best I can. I may even have to recopy Lauren’s soon into an entirely new, sturdier, journal.
If I could do it over, I’d probably do two things:
- Make sure the journal had a sturdier cover like the ones at Minted. Their journals have a clear plastic cover that is indestructible. I got this one and love it.
- Personalize the journal a little, so it’s so clearly that child’s. The girls are SO proud of “their” journals, it would have been nice to have their names on them.
The Difference an Artist Makes…
For just about the same amount of money as your Walmart notebook, you can get a beautiful professionally designed notebook that looks good sitting on the Nursery shelf and peeking out of your diaper bag at the play ground meeting, waiting for jot down in two sentence thing your baby did before you forget it forever.
Check this out:
Is a family heirloom worth $0.87? Because that’s the difference in price between those two notebooks.
Less than a dollar and you can even put your baby’s picture on the inside cover of this giraffe journal. And it has a spiral binding (no pages falling out as glue ages) and a hard protective shell.
The designs at Minted are created by artists. Does that make a difference? Abso-toot-ley. Again. Look at the quality of difference above. These aren’t just keepsake journals. These are works of art.
Here are a few of my favorites… (There are a zillion journals to browse through, click here to see them all.)
A Successful Baby Journal Starts with the Small Stuff
One afternoon, in the midst of an exhausted stupor, I leaned over and jotted down something funny Lauren said in a notebook I had sitting by rocking chair.
A new tradition was born. I have kept journals for each of my kids ever since. I picked out a neutral color and started them as soon as we knew I was pregnant, writing to “Baby”. These journals contain our hopes, dreams, and prayers for each of them. Even Cameron adds to them on occasion, sharing stories that they share together.
It’s amazing to look back and see the world through those eyes. Here’s an example:
Lauren, yesterday after bath you took each toy out of the tub, one by one and said, “Don’t worry ___ (fish, boat, etc.). I’ll get you to the basket.” Then for 10 minutes you carefully arranged all the toys in the basket so they were facing up. Your face was so cute – Determined to help those stranded toys in the empty bathtub reach the basket safely. ~ August 1, 2006 (age 2.5 years)
You know, I honestly don’t remember that memory. If it weren’t for the fact that I wrote it down in Lauren’s baby journal, it would be lost forever.
When the girls have a tough day, and need to be reminded of the safe secure little nest we’ve made for them, we’ll sit on the couch together and randomly read a few entries written by me or Dad. It’s an instant emotional boost.
Two Types of Baby Journals: Memory and Survival
So I’ve talked about the memory side of keeping a baby journal, but what about the other type of journalling? The type you keep because your completely winging this parenting-thing and need some kind of direction?
Studies have shown that writing things down (instead of tapping a screen) helps commit things to memory and helps categorize concepts and facts. This is really important as you try to troubleshoot why your baby is doing things. Especially since he can’t tell you.
Using a baby journal takes that information right out of your head and puts it on the page, removing the stress that goes with not being sure what really happened.
By the way, I do recommend setting up a daily rhythm to your baby’s eating and sleeping. This rhythm is incredibly important in helping your baby’s brain find the sleeping patterns that will help him develop positive sleep skills.
I’ve created a year’s worth of free baby schedules for you to use in discovering your child’s unique daily rhythm. Click here to get these free scheduling workbooks.
Lifting the Stress of the Early Years
My purpose is to lift a burden of your already-stooped shoulders. The burden of memories. Honestly, how many times has someone looked at you and said “They grow up so fast,” or “Cherish this time while you can!”
Yes, you may want to kick them in the shins at first, but deep in your heart you know they’re right…and that’s just about when the panic sets in. What if you’re not doing enough to jot these milestones and memories down?
Friend, you don’t need a baby scrapbook kit. You just need a notebook. It’s amazing how a few lined pages can give you so much joy and peace of mind. 🙂
Go ahead. Pick out your baby’s little heirloom, grab the nearest non-sticky pen, and start jotting down what happened today.
Years from now, you’ll be so glad that you did.
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