For children in foster care or who have been adopted, a memory book can serve an important role. There may be a lot of questions about their past and their biological parents and family. Children may even want help remembering previous foster homes, teachers they loved, or schools they attended.
A life book or memory book is a scrapbook that documents any history or past occurrences in your child’s life, which may include a family tree, photos, information about social workers — even favorite restaurants, notes The Spruce. It’s a fantastic way for your child to feel informed and connected to the happenings before entering your home, and a nice way to log new memories formed with your family.
According to The Spruce, “there is never a wrong age to start a life book for your child. This holds true whether a child is a newborn or a teenager. The most important thing is to start a life book.”
Ideas for Your Child’s Memory Book
1. Use a binder, scrapbook, photo album, or even a box to put together the memory book. Make sure you have plenty of materials on hand for your child to help create colorful, unique pages that they’ll love to look at.
2. Figure out how to begin your child’s memory or life book. About Parenting has seven ideas for ways to begin telling their stories. You might choose to include a letter, a special poem, or a piece of artwork, the website explains.
3. Include a list of all of the important people in your child’s life, like birth family members, foster parents from the past and present, social workers and friends, The Spruce suggests. See if the birth family can provide any information — even if it’s limited — about the child’s family tree.
4. Collect photos and allow your child to help, if they’re old enough. Photos of people, buildings, pets, and even favorite toys might be nice.
5. “Don’t forget to add the moments that are sometimes hard,” The Spruce writes, “like the date the child entered foster care or moved into your foster home. This is also a part of their story and important information to include.”
More Tips and Ideas
There are numerous ideas and inspirations on Pinterest and across the web. Get even more ideas from The Spruce’s rich resource, “10 Steps to Creating a Life Book for Your Foster or Adopted Child.” The Child Welfare Information Gateway also lists some great resources, including books and a kit.
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