There was a time when video cameras were extremely expensive, enormously bulky, and a rarity for the average person. It’s only in the last 10-15 years that photos and video became ubiquitously available to everyone via phones and tablets, and that’s a fortunate and fun development for kids.

As 2017 begins, families should consider documenting the year ahead with a family journal or diary. Not only is it good for children to watch their recent and rapid development from one month to the next, but years from now, they will appreciate being able to see younger versions of themselves and their loved ones.

You can, of course, just use your phone to record special events or big moments with photos or videos; however, this approach could be fairly random, you may miss a lot of what’s happening in your child’s life, and there’s always the danger that you’ll erase the files or lose your phone.

For a more organized approach to documenting your year in a watchable, customized format, there’s an app for that.

VideoPop Premium Video Diary

Document your life by the day, week, month, or year. Record videos from the app, add music and text, and merge your videos together in chronological order. It’s available for $1.99 from the iTunes store.

Journey

For Android, Windows, Mac, or Chrome, you can organize photos, videos, and text on a calendar, a timeline, or, if your family’s on the move, an atlas. You can easily publish to social media, and store everything safely on synchronized Google Drive cloud storage. Prices start at $4.80, depending on the platform.

Whether you’re using one of the journaling apps or doing it yourself, make it a habit to:

  • Find time each week to video interview your child about things important to them
  • Let your children interview other family members several times a month
  • Regularly document daily life around your home
  • Organize videos and photos every week so you’re not overwhelmed
  • Be sure files are uploaded to cloud storage like Google or iCloud

Take as many videos and photos as possible. You can always delete what you don’t want, but you can’t recreate moments once they pass. Remember, too, that the video journal should be fun for everyone, not a chore.

The start of a new year is an ideal time to begin a video journal, so don’t delay. One day, when your children are grown, they—and you—will be happy you took the time to document their childhood and family.

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