5 Compelling Reasons Why Documenting Your Family's Story is Important for your Kids.
It Cultivates Gratitude
Your kids will learn to cherish the big & the small moments
When you document your family’s story through lifestyle photography, you’re cultivating a sense of gratitude for the big AND small moments in your life. A simple moment of making dinner together becomes as important and cherished as the day you learn to ride a bike or walk across the stage at graduation—because it is your story. When you display photos of these moments or create an album to keep forever, you are recognizing the immense blessings in your life and teaching your children to see the good, appreciate the present moment, and to spend more time doing what really matters; (things you love with those you love.)
It Satiates Curiosity
Seeing their story laid out in front of them fufills their desire for knowledge
Photographs help satisfy three basic human curiosities:
1.Where did I come from?
2.Why am I here?
3.What’s going to happen to me in the future?
If you have ever answered an eager 4-year old’s repetitive “why” more than a dozen times in a matter of minutes, you already know how important the roll of curiosity is in a child’s world. Curiosity is what sparks discovery, learning and exploration—and when we turn that investigative mirror back onto ourselves, the impact can be really powerful.
Looking back at photographs of daily life helps us to connect to our past, see who influenced our life and draw lines to who we are. Hearing and seeing stories of their early years as babies and toddlers allows young children to gain a sense of identity and better understand who they are. It also reinforces sibling connections, especially in a blended or non-traditional family system, like mine. Beyond just memories, photographs say to our children “you matter in this family—and in this world.”
It Creates Connection
Family photographs help children establish a deep and unshakable sense of belonging
One of the reasons that photography is so powerful is that as humans we are, by nature, a visual species. Ninety percent of the information in our brain is visual and we process that information much faster than text. If you frequent Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube you already know how much information you can consume visually in a relatively short amount of time.
Dr. David Walsh, esteemed author, educator and founder of Mind Positive Parenting, says that because we are so visual, “printed images are particularly powerful in reinforcing one’s sense of belonging.”
Every time I sit down on the couch with my now 5-year-old son and look through our photo books, the only question he wants answered on every page is “where am I?” He’s still in the egocentric "me" stage and still learning to gain an understanding of a "me" within the "us." Even if he is in four out of five images, he wants to know why his is not in them all.
Displaying family images in your home helps give your children a point of reference they can understand—“Look! This is me playing at the beach with my baby brother”—and this helps them establish connection and belonging—the foundation of self-esteem.
It Celebrates "You"
Your story is powerful
Everyone has a story that deserves to be told. No matter how mundane we can feel our lives are (especially with kids), we all hold immense value and who we are as individuals matters—Your family adventures matter, your game nights, conversations and art projects matter.
Your story has the power to influence others, inspire and even change lives. Your traditions have lives that live far beyond a Saturday morning at the Christmas Tree Farm or a summer weekend at the lake.
It Enriches Memories
Storytelling helps build important brain scaffolding
Woven throughout the history of every culture across the globe is the exchange of knowledge and life lessons through storytelling. Storytelling is a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling values among a group of people. It’s the basis for the way we interact, innovate, communicate, how live our lives and where our dreams are born.
Storytelling is both an art and a science.
It is through talking and storytelling that our own personal memories and experience of how the world works begins to form as children and what educators in child development refer to as building “the scaffolding of our memories.” Our memories are recorded in segments in two different areas of the brain, the visual cortex (the image of a ball) and the language area (the word ball). Unlike replaying a video, the brain replays (remembers) by reassembling these segments via the intricate scaffolding. In an article about what memories are made of, written by Mind Positive Parenting, they state that "The more elaborate the scaffolding during the early years (1-5), the more brain locations a child has in the future to link new information and memories to.”
This is why as parents we are encouraged to talk out loud to our children from the day they are born. Sportscasting the act of changing a diaper 8 times a day or going into great detail about the shape, color and texture of the ball they are playing with only adds more scaffolding to their ripe little brains. We are building a mind one segment at a time. It’s said that that long term memory doesn’t start to form until we are around three years old. Until then, babies and toddlers are building intricate scaffolding to store these memory segments and it is through storytelling, reading and varied sensory experiences that our memory grows to be more robust.
Flipping through family photo albums before bed or pulling them out during special times like birthdays and holidays is a great way to tell stories and encourage kids to tell their own stories (if they are old enough) about what is happening in the pictures. This time together also gives you and your child an intimate moment to ask "who, what, when, where and why” questions about the people and things in the pictures. Looking at family photo books or albums or at photos displayed on your walls is a natural place for kids to make associations with what they already know and whats happening in the pictures and is a great way for parents and grandparents to learn more about a child’s interests. Additionally, it provides a wonderful opportunity to affirm your kiddo with a little positive language which boosts their self esteem and creates connection. (And here is a printable in Spanish and English, because praise in two languages is even better!)
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