Snap it. In late 2012, the United Nations Foundation launched their “Shot at Life” campaign and mobile app for smartphones. With the free app (for Apple iOS and Android phones), parents can capture photos and chronicle childhood moments from ages 0 to 5 years old, through the milestone tracker. Best yet, by using the app, parents will help build awareness about the Shot at Life campaign and the life-saving vaccines that help give kids around the world a shot at a healthy life (it helps raise awareness for vaccines like polio, measles and pneumonia in developing countries).
Journaling. Parents of little ones are busy, so sometimes it can seem like just another item on your already-packed “To Do” list. However, writing down little precious memories will warm your heart for years to come. Here are some of the things you might want to document:
- Funny things your child says or words he learns to say.
- New things your little one discovers—from foods they like to new friends.
- Preferences: What kind of toys or activities does he like most? What are his favorite songs or books?
- Places your child discovers with you—grandma’s house, the park, the mall, a new state (road trip!).
Artist-in-training. As your child discovers colors, paint and crayons, it’s fun to encourage their creativity with art projects. An especially fun way to capture their growth is to do recurring projects that involve painting hands or feet—you can really see their growth over time. You can have them make an outline of their hand—and turn it into a turkey or a tree or just stamp their foot in paint and make a footprint on paper. *Note: for little babies, they might not have an open hand, so “foot projects” might be easier to start with. One fun way to keep these masterpieces in good condition is to run them through a laminator and use them as placemats—that way you can enjoy them every day!
Sprouting up. Growth charts are a fun way to celebrate growth with your child! Remember how proud you were of that extra inch you grew when you were a child? Another version of this are the cute “handprint kits,” which your child can stamp their hand in each year (usually one through five years).
Blog it. In this information age, where everyone is so connected on social media and is super-tech savvy, blogs are a terrific way to document your baby’s milestones and to share these milestones with friends and family who might be far away. There are tons of simple (and free!) blogging platforms out there—such as WordPress and Blogger—as well as more tech-heavy sites. You can post as often as you like, and you’ll love going back through older posts, reliving triumphs in your baby’s life.
Sealed tight. Those first few years of your baby’s life can feel like a whirlwind, passing so quickly. You want to savor every moment, but sometimes the thought of going into full-on scrapbooking mode can make even the most organized mom feel a little crazed. To make sure you don’t miss any major moments, start with a big container (a trunk, Rubbermaid plastic tub or something similar). Then, when you run across something you’d like to save, just toss it right in—it could be anything from a hospital bracelet, a well-loved doll, a piece of art your child made, snips of hair from baby’s first haircut, etc.. A few years down the road, you’ll love going through your big box of memories!
However you choose to document your child’s milestones—big and small—you’ll love watching your little one grow.