In this blog post, we will go through why you should record a biography for your child, how to write a biography about your child, and the many different forms you can try to record it.
Why you must write a biography of your child
We’re told by Economist magazine that we experience a U-bend of happiness when people are happiest at the beginning and end of life. But research on the internal lives of aged 90-year-olds revealed that across the board the happiest days were mid-life when the children were all young and living at home!
That’s something to make you forget the chaos of laundry piles and dirty dishes, and to stop to appreciate the wondrous adventure teeming with an abundance of love!
When we become parents there are always things we want to do to preserve the special and precious memories we have with our children. One of the most amazing ways to do this is to write a biography of our children as memories and specific details can be easily forgotten over the years.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I remember asking my mum so many questions about not just pregnancy and birth but also my own development as a baby. She embarrassingly admitted she had forgotten sleep patterns, first words, age I first walked – and so much more! While she handed over many dear photographs, I was slightly disappointed to find no record of anything else!
I really wanted to know how I developed as a baby and the age I achieved milestones as a child as I had pretty much no memory of them myself, and very cloudy memories of my childhood.
Whereas my husband’s family were much better at this. His grandmother had made a wonderful scrapbook of all his important milestones throughout his childhood with drawings, cards, photographs and more attached! He was given it just before she passed away and it not only was a wonderful experience for him to look through and reminisce over but also for me to see and learn more about who he was as a child and how the experiences he had shaped him into who he is today.
This inspired me to create something similar for my children. Not only for my own memories but to pass onto them so they have something personal to cherish from their childhood too.
What is a biography?
A biography – (often confused with an autobiography) is traditionally a written documentation of someone’s life, written by someone else. Whereas an autobiography is a written documentation about one’s own life.
Biographies are a great way to learn about someone’s life. And writing one for your children is a wonderful documentation of a part of their life they won’t have much memory of- especially their infant years as a baby! These are the years parents find the most precious as they seem to go by so quickly!
Why should you create a biography for your child?
1. Don’t have regrets
It can be difficult to remember to record many milestones and memories when children are so young. While life was busy, many parents have regrets about not recording enough of their young family life.
2. Record life story to be passed on
As we touched upon above, your children will grow up to adore and be so grateful to learn and see their lives from the perspective of their parents’ love. Especially when they themselves become parents and go through the same journey with their children as you are with them. It can be a humbling experience when you first become a parent, and appreciation grows for your own parents on a whole new level!
3. Recording and noticing children’s developmental milestones
Being aware of your child’s developmental milestones is an important aspect of parenting as you can help support, encourage and provide access to activities for your child to master their key developmental tasks.
From infanthood all the way to adulthood, children need to go through key developmental stages that ensure they grow to be well-rounded adults. The basics of these developmental stages include their physical, emotional, intellectual and social skills.
Keeping a recorded biography of your child can be a great way to be aware of their key developmental stages and provide you with a timeline of when each milestone is achieved. This can be especially useful for a parent who inherits recorded documentation of their own childhood development.
If a parent inherits documentation of their own childhood development, they may notice similarities in personality, looks, language or intellect in their own children. Development milestones that they may not have a memory themselves of. All this knowledge can have the additional benefit of guiding and helping them deal with normal childhood behaviours, have patience and recognise what traits are inherited or learnt.
What to record in your child’s biography?
When you’re writing about your child, you don’t necessarily need to stick to formal biographies.
It should be written in a fun and engaging way that captures all the wonderful childhood memories while capturing the facts of who they are as a person, achievements and experiences.
The target audience of your child’s biography is likely to be your child. You can read it to them as an ongoing story, or to pass onto them when they become an adult. Either way, a biography will be written in chronological order, they may follow a theme, or it can hone in on one particular aspect of their life. (For example their love for football!)
The biography can be as short or long as you wish, and it can include many or few intimate details.
As long as you’re capturing information that is precious to you and your child then anything goes!
Where to start on writing my child’s’ biography?
A great way to get started is to collect basic facts such as:
- Name of child
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Physical characteristics (eye and hair colour)
- Important memories/life events
- Collect stories of your child from family and friends
What mediums to use to record your child’s biography?
When we think of biographies, we automatically think of the traditional written book biography. Written documentation of someone’s life, usually through a story format.
But, there are no hard rules! And you can record your child’s biography in any format you want.
As you’re writing a biography about your child, I think it should be lighthearted and fun. Something that they will take an interest in reading and maybe even help to create!
1. Write a children’s style book with pictures
If you want to record a biography of your children, but want it with a little flair or character, then writing in a children’s book style is a great option.
Not only is it a fun and wonderful way to write, but you can get your child involved too. Imagine the wonder it will create for your child to have their very own children’s book made after their own life.
They can get involved too! Get them to make illustrations to support stories, memories and events. These will be even more so cherished and humorous to look back on in years to come.
This is especially fun for pre-illiterate children. Make sure to place dates on the pictures and age of your child when drawn.
If you’re not great with words, but really want to capture your child’s life, then why not create a photobook.
There are great sites like Snapfish where you can get 50 free prints each month.
I’ve made wonderful first-year photo albums for both my babies using all free prints. On the back of each photo, I’ve written the date and a little information to describe the event or baby milestone.
Our visitors love to look through the album, and we always snap new photographs when friends and family come over to go in the album. It’s a simple and easy way for me as a working mother, to capture a visualised biography without spending hours and hours drafting stories or making a book.
3. Email to your child
Another different but easy way to capture your child’s life story is to create a personal email address and send them emails of their milestones, achievements, memories and even personal messages from you to them. You could even get friends and family to send messages and their personal stories to the email address too. When they become old enough they always have a digital copy of these precious stories and events that they can access anytime.
A nice way that parents present their email address is to give their passwords on their 18th birthday. It’s also a completely free way to send photos, videos and messages that (hopefully) can be preserved. – especially if going for a large email provider such as Gmail.
You can record funny memories, conversations or stories of what happened that day so easily on your smartphone and send it with a click of a button.
4. A biography scrapbook
A scrapbook is high effort, but so worth it. Holding onto all the little drawings, letters, school report cards, and so much more with photographs and presenting them in a scrapbook is a great way to preserve the memories of your child. You can add little handwritten notes to make it extra personal.
This would make an incredible 18th birthday present if you can manage to keep it secret throughout your child’s life! They will always have something precious to hold onto and remind them of their childhood.
5. A collection of yearly newsletters or birthday cards
You could also make yearly newsletters or birthday cards with the biggest events and achievements summarised in one year. Whether this is a personal handwritten birthday card or a newsletter including pictures and little summarised anecdotes.
6. A biography Life story app
Many life story apps begin with recording the lives of adults or elderly, capturing a lifetime of memories, stories and achievements, but why not start with young life.
This is not only a great way to add to family history documentation, but a lovely way to record the life and perspective of life from a child which is unique and innocent in its own way that often fades with adulthood.
Life story apps can be recorded via daily diaries or even through a recorded video. Apps are a great way to record life stories as the digital form can be easily accessed, easy for storage of media with photos, video and voice recordings and even easy to back up. We have more to read on recording a digital life story here if you want to know more about where to look and how to get started.
7. A video biography
Why not try a recorded video message?
Can you imagine if your parents had sat down once a year, and made a short video recording of the big milestones you achieved that year, precious and hilarious memories and even the hard times you worked through together as a family? Then you get to keep and rewatch any time you want. Imagine the youth of your parents when they were your age, talking of you as a child, going through the same moments as you are now. This would be priceless.
You can create this for your children. By using a Life story app, with interviewing features you can record messages or even answer milestone interview questions year after year of your child’s life.
To add an even more precious element, you can include your children in the interview. Where they themselves can talk about their favourite memory of the year, best achievements and biggest obstacles they overcame.
The quality of cameras on smartphones today means you can create wonderful high-quality videos at any time.
There are many wonderful ways on how to write a biography of your child. These times as a parent with young children are challenging, but so incredibly rewarding. And you may even miss it!
Finding a way to record a biography for your child in a way that is convenient and easy for you to continually add to will enable you to create wonderful documentation that will be kept as family memorabilia for generations.
The fact you’re here now reading this post shows you appreciate this moment in life and want to ensure it gets saved forever.
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, please give back by sharing on your social media. Good luck on beginning a wondrous biography for your child!