Birthday cards have fallen through the letterbox onto the floor from Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and friends.
Your cake has been baked, balloons blown up, bunting hung, presents wrapped and you have a beautiful day ahead of you, filled with family and fun.
I’ve written the final page in your baby memory book. Carefully adding the details of your special day and I’ve stashed it safely away for an occasion 18+ years from now.
I haven’t been diligent in filling it in. I never included everything. I’ve actually missed quite a lot! Life moves on so fast and the mind forgets.
But your baby book is complete.
Tomorrow, you’ll be one year and-a-day old and our journey will continue.
So what next for our memories? Where to put them now?
If you’ve read my previous blog post, Letters To My Baby, you’ll know by now that I’m a huge fan of flexible-journaling – and of letter writing!
Two things that can be beautifully combined to make a perfect personalised book of childhood memories.
The perfect childhood memory book
Now of course, you can go out and buy Baby Books for months one to twelve. There are many beautiful ones around and I really do love the thoughtfully laid out pages, the gorgeous illustrations and the helpful prompts.
I’ve just never been very good at sticking to the format.
I prefer writing down my memorable moments as they occur (and when I have the time), instead of just sticking to traditional milestones. I like having the space to write down the unique moments in between. The ones that matter to me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do own a number of shop-bought baby memory books. Some I’ve absolutely loved – and some not so much. They’re Designed to make journaling your memories easy.
Some include extra notes pages (these are the really great ones), but often, there’s very little space for rambling. For including all that ‘extra’ stuff.
And there’s another problem - What happens once your little one reaches their first birthday?
Honestly, look around. Very few books continue past that magical one-year mark.
You’ll discover a myriad of gorgeous books to document those first 12 precious months, but after that the selection becomes a lot more limited.
So, for me, the perfect solution has always been a pretty notebook, bullet journal or scrapbook and a set of prompts (to make sure I don’t miss out anything significant).
The perfect way to write
I’ve always found letters so much easier to write than anything else. I can sit procrastinating over a blog post for days, but a letter I can put together in 15 minutes.
Maybe I have a slight advantage. I had a pen-pal for years as a child and when my Grandfather passed away, I regularly wrote letters to my Grandmother who lived over 100 miles away. I couldn’t make that trip every day, but I could write.
Plus, I’ve always loved to receive letters as well as send them (even if most of them do turn out to be rather dull these days).
Writing books full of letters to my children has always seemed like such a lovely, simple idea to me.
Each letter a perfect, personalised keepsake for me to look back on and treasure years from now. Like written time capsules.
And you never know, maybe if I can bear to part with them, they’d even make wonderful gifts one day – for my small people (when they’re not so small anymore).
Childhood Milestones - From toddlers to tweens
Childhood milestones are important, but they can be harder to pin down once your child gets a little older.
Baby milestones and baby book prompts are a lot more straight forward. Babies can change out of all proportion from one month to the next during that first year, but once they get to around 18 months old, that pace can slow down – which can leave you struggling for what to write.
That’s why I think journaling prompts become even more important once you’ve moved passed those first, classic milestone moments.
I’ve made childhood memory journals for quite a few children now. Each journal building on the last. Filling in the gaps I’d missed before. Each book of letters, photographs and momentos, bigger than the last.
You can imagine that child number five’s memory book is quite a size! And looking through, I think I’ve been able to capture ‘most’ of the things I really want to remember.
So I thought I’d pass that list on to you.
35 Childhood Diary prompts from toddler to tween, that you might find useful if you decide to write some letters to your child yourself.
Not all of them will be relevant, but hopefully they’ll get you off to a good start.
Letters to my Child – 111 Journal prompts
Below are 35 letter prompts for you to write to your child. Suitable for toddlers to teenagers.
I could have included so many more, but some of them looked pretty specific to my own experiences.
Remember to add to your own prompts to this list, including those really mundane moments that fall in between the huge milestones – you’re sure to have plenty.
Stick in photos alongside your letters, as well as any other special stickable keepsakes, so that everything is kept safe in one place.
These are prompts for one year in the life of your child, but a lot are repeatable so you’ll end up using them more than once in 12 months.
Prompts like, your child’s favourite toys, meals and places to go will change will from one month to the next.
To my Dearest Little One ……………………… Now let us begin. ………………………..
A Little Bit About Me and Us
A letter for the start of each new month or year (depending on how often you want to write). Reflections on the things that changed and happened in the last year, highlights and wishes for the future.
A little bit about me - I liked to do, watch, read, listen to, wear, hairstyle. I worked...).....
A little bit about other close family members – Brothers, Sisters, Grandma, Grandad, Aunts, Uncles, Pets…
A little bit about this year (world events, local events, the people in power, the music in the charts).....
Our daily routine or a typical day...
At the end of the month / year – My favourite day (the place we went, the people we went with, the thing we did)…..
At the end of the month / year - My favourite cherished memory .....
At the end of the month / year – My favourite photograph.
At the end or the month / year – The one thing I’m most grateful for…..
At the end of the month / year - My wishes at this exact moment in time.....
Favourite hobby or favourite way to spend your time…..
Your favourite T.V show, series or film
Your favourite colour, number (yes really) and animal
Favourite and least favourite clothes or outfit to wear…..
Your favourite or least favourite dinner, desert and drink…..
Favourite ice cream, sweeties and snacks…..
Favourite place to go out for a meal…..
Anything else you really like or dislike - going shopping …..
Very special days and moments that matter to us
School holidays, family vacations and favourite holiday memories…..
Days Out – Where, with who, how did you get there…..
Concerts, plays or sporting events…..
Extra special weekends, family days or other notable days…..
Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Routine visits to the doctor or dentist
Family celebrations – Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings……
Your Birthday – Your visitors, people who sent love from afar, cards and special gifts from….. Your cake, party food, what did you do? Your favourite memory from the day…..
Potty training and no more nappies (diapers)…..
You dropped your nap time…..
You moved from a cot into a bed
You gave your dummy (soother, pacifier) to the dummy fairy.
First big-kid cup
First playgroup or toddler group
You learned to ride a scooter
You learned to ride a bike
First song you sang
Your first reading book
You learned to put your own shoes on / tie your own shoelaces.
You lost your first tooth
First night away from home…..
First sleep over at a friends house…..
First camp or residential…..
First dancing, swimming, gymnastics lesson…..
You learned to swim…..
You walked to school by yourself for the first time
You went out by yourself with your friends for the first time
First mobile phone
First pocket money
First crush, valentine, childhood sweetheart…..
First social media accounts
Your first job (summer job, part-time job)…..
Your first night out with friends…..
Your first driving lesson
Your driving test …..
Your friends, hobbies and school life
First day at Pre-school, Primary school, Secondary school (high school), 6th form or college, university…..
Your friends – A best friend or group of friends
Your teachers and classroom assistants at school.
Your favourite and least favourite subjects
Your school report
What you’re like at school – What do you think? What do your teachers think?....
Your achievements – Certificates, medals, examinations, gala’s…..
School disco’s, fete’s, sports days, festivals and parents days…..
Camps or residentials (school, Cubs, Scouts)…..
Competitions and auditions …..
Your pre-school graduation, primary school leavers assembly.
Your school prom / leavers ball…..
Last day at Pre-school, Primary school, Secondary school (high school), 6th form or college, university…..
Where do you want to go to school, college or university?
The clubs, hobbies and activities you enjoy.
A picture you’ve drawn – A special one from this month or year.
A self-portrait or drawing of your family – See hoe drawings change and improve from month to month, year to year.
Your handwriting – See how it changes and improves.
A story, poem or song you’ve written…..
A piece of work you’re really proud of…..
Something you made.
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