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Also see Journaling and Journaling Tools.
(based on ideas by CMC's Cindy W. and Donna P. )
Write a letter to your child every year--perhaps on their birthday or New Year's Day--and include it in their album. The letter should be a reflection of your feelings but it is fine to use someone else's ideas for inspiration. Here is an outline for such a letter. Be sure to date the letter and mention if it is a birthday or special occasion.
Dear . . . . ,
You are now . . . . years old. This has been a year of . . . . .
Over the past few months you have learned to . . . . .
You spend much of your time doing . . . . . We have lots of fun together, but the thing I like to do with you most is . . . . .
Your favorite thing to eat is . . . . and you love to play with . . . . .
You say and do some of the sweetest and silliest things, such as . . . . .
I'm always surprised by how grown up you are when I see you . . . . .
Sometimes you get into trouble for . . . . but we usually work it out by . . . . .
We sometimes turn into couch potatoes together and watch . . . . on TV or a favorite movie such as . . . . .
There usually isn't enough time to do everything we'd like to do. One thing I'd like to do with you someday is . . . . .
When you get really silly you . . . . .
You like/dislike bath time. Here's what you do in the tub . . . . .
Some of the things you can draw/read about are . . . . .
Your bedroom is decorated with . . . . and it is usually neat/messy.
What really calms you down when you are upset is . . . . .
At bedtime we . . . . . Usually you fall asleep around . . . . p.m.
Your best characteristic is . . . . . and I'm very proud of the way you . . . . .
Notes: You may want to include how much you love the child, what makes them special, and your hopes and dreams for their future. Write the letter directly on a ruled page or write it on paper and then adhere in the album. It should be handwritten even if you do most of your journaling on the computer. You can make a border around the page with a border ruler and add stickers of your child's favorite things.
Ask these questions of preschool age children (or have older children fill in the blanks themselves). Then add to an album. Adds great interest and fun to read.
All about My Mom
Your Name; ___________________________________
All about your Dad
Your Name; __________________________________
(adapted by Kristin P. CMC)
Introduce or highlight someone with a Bio-Poem. It doesn't have to be just thirteen lines long, and you don't have to include exactly three ideas in any of the lines. Use this as a general guide for your own poem. Use words that are descriptive, colorful and lively. Even children enjoy creating poems about their family, friends or pets.
SUGGESTED BIO-POEM FORM
Line 1: The person's first name
Line 2: Who is . . . (descriptive words that describe this person)
Line 3: Who is (relationship--i.e. brother, sister, mother, father, etc.) of . . .
Line 4: Who loves . . . (or is crazy about--this can be things or people)
Line 5: Who needs . . .
Line 6: Who gives . . .
Line 7 Who feels . . .
Line 8: Who fears
Line 9: Who would like to . . .
Line 10: Who shares.
Line 11: Who is . . .
Line 12: Who is a resident of . . . (or lives in)
Line 13: The person's last name
(other ideas: Never tires of; Likes to eat; Likes to watch; Wears, etc.)
(Sample Bio-Poem written by Joyce P.)
Creative, intelligent, fun, responsible, self-disciplined and enthusiastic
Sister of Meghan Darby and Harrison Patrick
Who loves to create art, make up plays and commercials, ride Daddy's Harley and run track
Who needs the telephone, her hair brush, macaroni and cheese, her friends and family
Who gives her Memaw much joy; her father and mother much pride; her brother and sister much love
Who feels joy with her friends, running, watching movies and eating
Who fears going from one room to another, not doing well on tests, zits, and coming in last in the 880
Who would like to own a Harley, win the lottery, see her room neat and tidy and win the 880
Who shares her secrets, her worries and her love with Memaw
Who is an honor roll student, a typical thirteen-year-old, a friend to Amber,
Melissa, Allison and Christy
Who is a resident of *****, Florida
C***** (Allison's surname)
Creative, intelligent, fun, responsible, self-disciplined, enthusiastic
Daughter of . . . ; sister of . . . ; wife of . . . ; mother of . . .
Crazy about creating art, making up plays, riding motorcycles, playing volleyball
Needs the telephone, her curling iron, macaroni and cheese, her friends, her family
Gives her grandma much joy; her dad and mom much pride; great hugs
Feels joy when painting, exhilaration when in the park, satisfaction when watching a video and eating ice cream
Fears not doing well on a test, getting to school late, face breakouts, the dark
Would like to own a Harley, see peace in the world, keep her room neat, be accepted by a great college
Shares her secrets, her smile, back rubs
Is an honor roll student, a good friend to [names?], a delightful daughter
Lives in Orange County, California
IN THE PRIMARY GRADES:
On my birthday I . . . .
Pets I have . . . .
The tooth fairy came . . . . times and gave me . . . .
Favorite School Lunch
When I Come Home From School I like to . . . .
Of All the things I can do, I am best at . . . .
AS THEY GET OLDER:
When I grow up I want to be . . . . because . . . .
Clubs, organizations, and special achievements
This year I improved in . . . .
My best grades are in . . . .
In sports, I'm best at . . . . , but I'm pretty good at . . . . too
My biggest problem with school is . . . .
I like to collect . . . .
If I could stay up late on a school night I would . . . .
IN HIGH SCHOOL:
How I felt on my first day of high school . . . .
If I could play hooky one day I would . . . .
The biggest trouble with high school is . . . .
The class I'd most like to forget about it . . . .
The most exciting thing at school this year was . . . .
The funniest was . . . .
The latest I stayed out was . . . .
The best party this year was . . . .
A big disappointment was . . . .
I had the most fun this year when I . . . .
My favorite teacher this year was . . . . , because . . . .
THINGS FOR ALL AGES:
The thing I like best about myself is . . . .
Some things that make me laugh are . . . .
What I like best about being (current age) is . . . .
My favorite color, food, etc. is . . . .
The best book I have read recently is . . . .
My favorite type of recreation is . . . .
My best friend is . . . . because . . . .
Have the child sign their own name each year, and indicate height, weight, etc.
If calendar pages are not available, draw your own grid with a ruler and fine tip pen.
Use them in a baby book for a first year calendar since babies seem to change every day.
They are good as a time line for an event like a pregnancy or the adoption of a child.
Use them for the last month before a wedding or when building a new home.
My customer uses one ruled page each month in her daughter's album. She decorates the borders or adds stickers at the bottom, and a photo or two, then journals about the month. She then does a layout on the facing page. (Shawn G. in So Cal)
In my children's albums, I did a "What I love about xxxxx" page. It has a picture of them at about eighteen months, and a few stickers, but other than that, the whole page is filled with things I love about that particular child. (Rhonda M)