Many parents know the importance of documenting milestones in their child’s life.
We make sure to record birthdays, holidays, and other special events– and the relative ease of picture-taking with today’s cell phones and digital cameras, makes it easy to capture more and more images of that daily slice of life (and share on places like Facebook and Instagram!)
This article covers five photos that, I believe, parents should be sure to take every year. They seem like no-brainers as these images are also important milestones, but they can be easily overlooked and even forgotten, if the intention is not made to record them.
With their friends
Most childhood friendships are cherished ones. There may be friends who are lifelong, and friends who are just there for a time period. There are times friends separate for various reasons, yet reconnect when adults. How wonderful to be able to reminisce over good times with photos from a portion of childhood shared together. Photos of children with their friends are important for every age level.
With their pet(s) (Photo credit: Shari Zupan)
Pets can be a very important part of a child’s life and memories, especially if the child has an affinity for the animals in their home. Many times a cat or dog (or other animal) will actually grow up with the family children. Animals also fill in as confidant to a child–someone who won’t tell their secrets, and who understands them when it seems no one else does.
In an activity they enjoy (Photo credit: Rich Tabares)
As children grow they have activities that can remain constant (such as playing a musical instrument), and activities that change as their interests change. Each activity represents a stage of growth in the child’s development. Children may start off enjoying coloring in their coloring books, and advance to doing their own drawings and painting– or just on to a different type activity all together. It’s exciting to look back and see how their talents and abilities progress with those moments captured in pictures. Photographing children involved in an activity that they enjoy, and having those images somewhere on display in the home, has been shown to help enhance a child’s self-esteem.
Their accomplishments for the year
By taking photos of your child accomplishments you are helping to establish their sense of value and importance in the family-it shows them that you consider what they are doing is of enough importance for you to make sure you record it.
Each child individually with parents
It was during the preparation of a memorial book for a beloved mother of seven children that it became evident that some of the offspring had no recent pictures of them alone with mom. For the memorial book, they wanted each child to have their own pages with pictures of them and mom, but what had happened over the years is what generally happens as a family grows– there are photos of the children with their parents as group photos, but few images of each child individually with their parents.
It’s important for each child to have their own, individual photographs with each of their parents. To make sure that it’s done, the child’s birthday can be the day these images are intentionally taken– a birthday photo with mom, a birthday photo with dad, a birthday photo with both of them. Yes, children grow up and may move away which can make it difficult to get that annual photo,but at least it can be done while they’re still in the home. Additionally, psychologists recommend that a picture of a child and his/her parents should be placed by the child’s bedside to enhance their sense of well-being and belonging.
Be sure to keep these annually taken images together somewhere. Though we are in the world of digital, I recommend having hard copies printed and put in an album, in addition to having a digital archive.
© 2013 Joan Rudder-Ward