If you’ve ever been around children, you already know how quickly they grow. One minute they’re a squirming infant, and the next you’re being asked to send money for their high school graduation. Without a doubt, your own children will grow just as quickly. When the time comes, you’ll want some mementos to remember their early childhood. That’s where the memory box comes in. Memory boxes are an opportunity for you to collect reminders of your child’s earliest years which you can share with them when they’re older.
If you’ve never created a memory box for a baby, you may not know what they entail. While all memory boxes are a little different, here are some ideas for things that should be included in your child’s memory box.
The Right Box
The first step in creating a memory box is choosing the right container for all of your child’s mementos. You want it to be large enough to hold everything you want to save, but not so large you’ll have trouble filling it. Although you don’t have to fill it right away—you’ll naturally add things to it as your child grows—your goal is to have a nice, full box by the time you’re ready to share it with your child.
You also want to pick something stylish. It’s one thing to have a plastic tote in the basement, but something else to have an antique trunk. As with everything to do with your new baby, you’ll want to show your care and concern for your child.
Add a File Box for Documents
Some of the things you’ll want to save for your child are papers. A copy of their birth certificate should definitely be kept in their memory box, for example, as well as any other paper souvenirs the hospital may have supplied, such as hand or foot prints. Having a file box in your child’s hope chest ensures these papers will stay protected. It also gives you a good space to add papers down the road—particularly good drawings, for example, or report cards which can be fun to look back on years down the road. The “Needs Improvement” your son receives in spelling in third grade may not seem worth keeping now, but several years from now when he’s editor of a large newspaper, it will be something to laugh about.
When I graduated high school my mom gave me a scrapbook, including a letter I’d written in middle school in which I detailed the fact that my older brother was going off to college and I definitely wouldn’t miss him. Now as adults, my brother and I are extremely close, and the letter makes us both laugh.
A Few Unique Items
Every memory box should include a few unique items. For example, you could tuck a customized keychain with your child’s birth date, time, and weight on it, or a leather bracelet with the latitude and longitude of the hospital where they were born. Just now, the carefully swaddled infant upstairs won’t appreciate it, but you can bet that in several years when they’re ready to look through their memory box, they’ll find it all the more precious with a few unique surprises tucked inside.
This is a bit tricky. We’re not suggesting that you snatch your child’s beloved blankie from them and lock it away in a box. Chances are, however, that one day they’ll begin to outgrow their toys. Pull out a few that you know were your child’s favorite and tuck them into the memory box for later. When your son or daughter looks through the memory box later, they’ll be overcome with nostalgia.
You can also do this with early clothes and other items. My mom still has rings from when I was a baby—rings so small they don’t even fit on my pinky now, but that apparently once fit me well.
Don’t Forget the Pictures
There’s little in the world more enjoyable than flipping through old family photo albums. In today’s world of Facebook and phone photos, taking the time to print off photos and tuck them into albums has become a rarity. By the time your baby is grown, a photo album will be even more special because of that. You don’t have to be obsessive about photos, but take the time to print some favorites off every year to document your baby’s childhood. You’ll be glad for it in the long run.