By Christina VanGinkel
Creating a keepsake box or chest for each of your children, from infancy up, is a great way to both remember and store important dates, items, and information, of their childhood, and to celebrate how much they were wanted and loved. It is a tangible way to store away items that might otherwise not fit in a photo album or scrapbook. A keepsake box or chest can be made of just about any empty box that is large enough to store an assortment of odds and ends, but with all of the acid free and archival safe containers on the market, it would be wise to begin with one of those.
Besides the typical firsts, such as first haircut, first tooth, and photos of firsts, such as first smile, first day home, you can keep baby's first nuk, christening outfit, baby's first shoes, even baby's outfit they wore home from the hospital all in one spot. A baby has so many firsts and important documents, that it is possible for so many of them to be forgotten, even when they are momentous and significant, such as baby's birth certificate, Social Security Card, and immunization record. In the busy and often unorganized world we live in these days, many of us lack the organizational skills that could categorize important details that are associated with an infant. At least by keeping them all together in one central location, such as a keepsake box or chest, we can at least quickly put our hands on them when needed.
Besides the logical aspects of such a storage container, a keepsake box or chest is also a great way to show a sibling who is about to welcome a new sibling into the family, or already has, that they were once just as tiny and new. If you have recently arrived home with a brand new bundle of joy, and your older child is showing some signs of upset, sitting down with them with their own keepsake box or chest, and going through it with them can be a great bonding experience for both of you, and give them a chance to handle some of the same things that their new sibling is currently using. They can look at the pictures and hold the items, giving them much more of a physical comparison than a photo album or plain scrapbook ever could. They can see that by looking at the outfit they arrived in, that yes indeed, they really were that small too! This is especially true for that newly big brother or sister who has very recently left infancy behind themselves, and is just learning how to be a big brother or sister.
Even older kids though, in late adolescence or early teens can benefit from such an assortment of belongings, if they are suddenly feeling a little bit bereft or left out when once again a new sibling arrives on the scene. They may have handled a previous addition to the family just fine, but all of a sudden, with brother or sister number two, three, or even more, they could use a reminder of just how much you loved them then and now. By showing them a few small pieces from their own past, they will have a better understanding of why you so much wanted to add one more child to the family.
A keepsake box or chest is also a very sentimental thing to have for when that infant is about to have an infant all their own. With my own daughter, I took hers out and gave it to her when she was pregnant with my first grandson. She loved going through the odd assortment that I had saved from when she was first with us, including a note that her brother had wrote. In it, he told her that he loved having a new sister, as long as she did not chew on his toys, the way he had seen another baby chew on his toys, and that he hoped she turned into a boy, as girls were ok, but boys were better. It was a great way to reconnect with her own beginnings before she made the transition to becoming a mother herself. It showed her that no matter how old she became, she would always be my baby. Create some memories of your own and make a keepsake box or chest for you to enjoy now, and for baby to enjoy years from now.