How to keep a memory journal for your children

How to create a memory journal for your kids
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When I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t want to keep a traditional baby book. I knew I’d have a hard time taking the right photos. Some pages would end up empty (for example, we didn’t have a baby shower and they’re not a common event here). Then, there would be getting the photos printed into the awkward and varied sizes many baby books demand… I wanted to make something that wouldn’t feel incomplete…

So, what did I do instead? I took an ordinary hardcover notebook and wrote letters. I wrote about all the joys and struggles we were experiencing and how we were feeling about his arrival. I tried to get down all the things I wanted him to know one day.

After he was born, I continued to write. I don’t write every day, but I try to at least once a month. I write about all the cute things he does, his milestones, and how much I love him. When he is older, I will give him the journal as a gift.

When keeping your own journal, think about what you’d want to tell your kids about their time as a baby. Don’t trust your memory – you will forget a lot details. When you write to your baby’s future self, you can capture those details at the time they happened.

If you’re still pregnant, talk about the times when you felt movements. Talk about any cravings you had or things you ate frequently, or aversions you had. Sometimes, your child’s favorite food will be something you craved. With my son, I craved potatoes and fruit. I had aversions to meat and dairy. With my daughter, I can’t stomach fish, and had cravings for cheesecake.

You can talk about your hopes and dreams for their future. For example, I wrote that I want my son to reach his potential and not be held back by trauma or emotional baggage. This was something my husband and I both experienced. We want him to have a better childhood than what we had.

Write about their extended family or their family history. Their aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grand parents. Whatever you know or remember of your family members, write it down. It’s not likely that your child will have a close relationship every one of their relatives. Knowing their family history can also give them a sense of belonging.

You can glue in photos or other items (such as hair from their first haircut). You can put their hand or footprint at various ages (birth, 6 months, 1 year).

Write about their personality and favorite things. What is their favorite toy currently? Their favorite food? What kind of things do they do that make their personality unique?

Remind them how much you love them, and that you are proud. I didn’t ever hear “I love you” from my own mother (I honestly can’t even remember one time, strange as that may sound). I have told my son every day since his birth that I love him, even though he can’t understand yet. I also say or talk about how much I love him in his journal, in almost every entry.

Talk about yourself, too. Tell your child about your own favorite memories. Talk about what you hope they will get to experience in their childhood. Try to keep it positive, remember, the journal is for your child, it’s not a place to talk about those heavier topics. I don’t go into much detail about my own family because there’s few good things to say there.

You can let your partner write some entries. Of course, this depends on your relationship. My sons journal has some entries from my husband, and I still encourage him to write in it (but he generally doesn’t). Still, he’s free to add entries whenever he feels like it. If you’re no longer in a relationship with your child’s father, you may want to write about this at a later time. The question of their father will likely come up at some point. Writing some things down will give you an opportunity to organize your thoughts. You can then give a cool-headed, mature answer.

Put the journal where you can see it. This will help you remember to write in it. I recommend the breakfast table so you can write in it over your morning tea or coffee. A dining table is also out of reach of toddlers who might want to tear it up (my current struggle).

If you already have kids, how did you preserve their memories? If you kept a journal, what else did you write about? Let me know in a comment. Don’t forget to pin this article so you can refer to it later.


  1. Natasha @MrsChettyLife
    January 23, 2019

    This is beautiful. I have a memory Journal for my son since I was pregnant. Its what inspired me to start my blog.

  2. Stefanie
    January 23, 2019

    This is such a lovely idea! What a beautiful keepsake it will be for your son ❤️❤️❤️ I really love scrapbooking, so I use that to create memory books for my boys, but I know most people don’t want the hassle, so a journal is a wonderful and simple solution! I so agree that premade baby books sound like more hassle- and some of the most important milestones to us wouldn’t be listed anyway!

  3. Anh
    January 24, 2019

    Thank you for this great idea! My little one is growing up so fast and I have to document all of the feelings and little things!

  4. Susan
    January 24, 2019

    I love this! I love journalling too! I tried to keep one when my daughter was younger, but it was difficult. I don’t think it’s ever too late to start and I think it would be a great present to give them on their 18th birthday!

  5. Sarah
    January 24, 2019

    These are some great ideas. I struggled when I was pregnant because I couldn’t find a baby book for two kids with two moms that I liked, so I bought the stuff to make my own. I’m definitely going to incorporate some of your ideas.

  6. Stephanie
    January 29, 2019

    Love this idea! Will try it.

  7. Alexa
    February 2, 2019

    Thanks for the ideas!

  8. Roberta
    February 6, 2019

    I love this. so personalized and unrestricted – also no cost if you have a notebook and pen already. Im sure it will be treasured more than any baby book.

  9. Josephine
    February 12, 2019

    Thank you for writing this

  10. Lila
    February 15, 2019

    Good idea! thanks.

  11. Davina
    February 24, 2019

    I love the idea of taping in a lock of hair and things like that. I might just keep a journal instead of a babybook.

  12. Ana
    February 27, 2019

    Good ideas. Personally im making an art journal for my little one.

  13. Robin
    March 1, 2019

    I know if I bought a baby book I just would never get around to using it. Thank you for this great alternative idea.

  14. Angel
    March 2, 2019

    Thank you for sharing these great ideas.

  15. Jackie
    March 7, 2019

    Good idea! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  16. Lydia
    March 7, 2019

    Such a great idea, thank you.

  17. Nancy Hedman
    June 9, 2020

    I read an article like this 30 years ago when my son was 1 year old, I started his journal at that time. Then 4 years later I was pregnant with my daughter and started her journal and then again 3 years later for my 2nd daughter. I’ll admit it was not easy to keep up with writing in all three journals and as they got older the time between my writings got further apart but I continued to write in all three through their childhood and into adult years. Each of them were excited to see what I have been writing about them. On their wedding days I presented them each with their journal- I felt I was handing their childhood to them in written form and they were all so honored to finally have possession of this journal of memories, love letters and family history.
    I am now expecting 2 grandbabies and have ordered journals for each set of parents. I have copied this article as a guideline for what they should write about.
    I hope to keep this as a family tradition for all my grand babies.

    1. Rosalin
      July 21, 2020

      Hey thank you so much for sharing your experience. My own children are still young but giving it to them as a wedding gift sounds like a great idea, I’ll have to keep that in mind 🙂 Since I wrote this article we have also added two more children to our family, keeping up with 3 journals is difficult for sure, but hopefully worth it in the end. It was great to read your comment, I hope my own children will have a similar reaction when they finally get their journals. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


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