One of the most common questions Life Your Way readers ask when we talk about decluttering and organizing is how to organize photos. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about all things photo-related with a special series from the Association of Personal Photo Organizers!
The following is written by Philip Griffith:
We all take photos of our kids, and show them off to friends and family. However, when was the last time you stopped to consider what photos your child wants or needs to see?
Pictures tell your kid’s stories.
Our boys have lifebooks that we pull out and enjoy as a family two or three times a year. These books have the stories and photos of their adoptions. The books offer an opportunity for discussion, normalize adoption language, and reinforce our family values.
Even now that our boys are getting older and don’t always want to snuggle in our laps, it still gives us time to be a family and remember those special things that make our family unique.
Pictures help your kids reminisce.
At other times, our sons will refer back to their lifebooks with a question or memory. Spend time reminiscing about your family history. A promotional piece from Prevention magazine had this insight:
“Researchers at the United Kingdom’s Open University examined how much people’s moods rose after eating chocolate, sipping an alcoholic drink, watching TV, listening to music, or looking at photos.”
“They found that the music and chocolate left people’s moods unchanged. Alcohol and TV gave a slight lift. But the winner by a long shot was viewing personal photos, which made people feel significantly better.”
You will do more than just make your kids feel significantly better! You will help them gain insight about themselves and contribute to their social and emotional development as well.
Many families have movie nights. Why not have a family photo night? Let each person in the family choose an event or time frame and look at photos from that time or event. Don’t forget to capture the many wonderful stories that arise. Turn them into a book, or add them to the photo album.
Pictures allow your kids to show off.
Kids love to show off, and photos provide a great way for them to do so. Make a poster of your son’s baseball team. Take pictures of your daughter’s artwork.
Have them describe the stories they envision when they look at the family photos from your last vacation. Make a book with the bedtime stories that you’ve told your kids since they were small. Let them illustrate it. Take a picture of them making the illustrations to include in the book.
We live in such a visual world. Why not use the images of our own family to strengthen the confidence of our children and build the bonds of family?
You can do this!
You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to do all this!”
Although it does require planning, it’s not as hard as you might think. You do need to think about a story, and the photos that elicit or illustrate it.
If time really is precious, consider hiring a personal photo organizer to not only organize your photos, but to even make the books, posters, calendars or other photo presentations as well. Either way, getting photos into the lives of your children will strengthen them and your family.
Pictures allow your kids to see the past.
Don’t underestimate the power of your children seeing photos of you as a child. Photos of their grandparents and you as a youngster will bring giggles, howls, and heartfelt questions that can connect multiple generations.
Last year, my father gave my mother a book with photos of my brothers and me as young children. When the nieces and nephews were looking at it, they all wanted to see their dad and uncles at the same ages they are now. I heard,
“Wow, Uncle Philip, you were buff! Dad is that really you?”
Bring out the photo albums. Watch a DVD of the family vacation or holiday celebration. Hang a poster or calendar on your wall. Put the latest photo of your child in a frame on your desk. Children who see themselves in the pictures with which you surround yourself will know that they have a secure place in your home.
Pictures need to be seen.
The key is, they need to be SEEN, not hidden in boxes or bags, on computers or camera cards! Be creative, and if you’re having trouble, there are people who can help you.
Show your children how much they are loved and connected.
How have you shared your family photos with your children lately?
Philip is the father of two boys. He and his wife Susan run Photo Solutions, a business focused on helping people tell their important family stories and organize their photo memories. He is a member of the APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers). You can also follow his blog on Lifebooks and adoption.