Do you keep track of the fun, silly, and sometimes profound words that come out of your children's mouths? Sometimes I'm totally blown away by their points of view. They see things with fresh eyes, frequently without the heartache and cynicism that can creep in as we age. Ah, to be young again.
I've tried multiple ways to keep track of memories with the kids. I began motherhood an already avid scrapbooker so I set to work creating an elaborate first year album for Parker filled with milestones, holidays, and really cute shots... and it lasted until he was about 9 months old and I got pregnant with Jamsion.
Jamison's scrapbook has a page or two done with lots of pictures tucked in pages where I planned for them to go but never got around to creating pages.
Mercedes doesn't have a scrapbook.
Twins? What twins?
Yup. Sounds about right.
For a while I marked down milestones in my Google calendar. I occasionally posted funny stories on Facebook and it's fun when those pop up in my memories. I tried keeping a note in my phone for funny stories but I frequently forget that it exists and then the story is forgotten. I wanted a way to hang on to moments with more than just pictures. It's probably why I take so many videos (I am SO GLAD I'm a parent with so much technology at my fingertips).
Ever tried a yearly journal?
I've seen yearly journals before while browsing on Amazon or that my friends have used and the idea is incredible - ask your child the same question year after year on the same date and document their answers. A lot can change in three years and having a place where these precious ideas are stored can offer the chance to look back and see how they've grown.
One such journal is the Questions and Answer for Kids Three Year Journal by Scott Bowen. The questions range from super silly - What two animals would you combine to make a super animal? - to the more thought provoking - Why do we hide the things we've done wrong?
But the Q&A for Kids 3 year journal takes this whole idea one step further by offering a Bible verse to tie in with each question. We've been using these verses as a chance to deepen our faith as a family and the discussions we are having, even with the kids all being under nine - are really neat!
We've discussed what wisdom means because of Proverbs 4:6. We have talked about how God gives us strength, even when it feels like we can't be strong from Isaiah 40:31. We compared being without Christ to how a dog feels when it's lost after reading Luke 19:10.
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Do the littlest ones always participate?
Not always. They don't really have answers for the deeper, more difficult questions. I vary the order of the kids when I ask so sometimes they are first and sometimes they are last or smashed in the middle. On those harder questions they will frequently answer, "I don't know" or copy an older siblings answer. Sometimes they don't answer at all! But I still want to include them the best I can because in two more years when we are on our last round of this book they will be 5.5 and more than capable of coming up with answers for nearly all of the questions.
What I enjoy about this journal:
It's a high quality book. It's a solid hardcover book, has thick pages that won't show pen through to the other side, and includes a ribbon bookmark to keep track of your spot.
The questions are fun, different, and inspire conversation. The variety in styles ensure it can be fun for the whole family and last for the three years of the journal.
The Bible verses allow for further discussion and can usually be easily related to the question.
What I wish was different about this journal:
More space! It's a gift book so it's supposed to be on the smaller side but this leaves little room for writing out answers. If I had a book for each child this wouldn't be an issue either but at most I'd recommend this for three kids, and that would be pushing it. If you have the kids write in their own answers you'd definitely only want one per child.
Some questions are definitely geared toward older kids. Young kids may have no idea where they want to go to college - or even know the name of a college. Then there is a question about going back 5 years and talk to your younger self... my three year olds definitely can't do that ;)
A few Bible verses feel out of place for the question. I can mostly see how they relate but it feels a little off or forced.
Question: What would other people say is the weirdest thing about you?
Verse: See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:16
I think my favorite part of this journal is that the kids are excited to do it each night! I've made it part of our dinner routine since it only takes a few minutes to fill out but it's a conversation starter for us to continue through the meal. If we start eating and haven't pulled out the book someone is sure to remind me!
It's crazy to think that it will sit on my table for the next three years but just as I love looking back over the posts that come up each day in my Facebook memories I know I'm going to love (and laugh) when I get to read these journal entries each year.
Want your own Q&A for Kids Three Year Journal?
Grab yours on Amazon and start filling it out as soon as it arrives! You'll never regret documenting the fun, silly, and insightful words your kids have to share.