We’re living history—teach kids to record it

We’re living history—teach kids to record it

There is no doubt that the months of our life are historic - whether we're living through pandemic times or a more "normal" life - our life is historic to us, and our kids when they grow older and look back. There has been no other period in modern times when the entire world has shut down like we have during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each day is vivid and unforgettable, but the truth is our kids’ memories of the COVID-19 pandemic will fade. It’s important for them to remember what they’re enduring because they are living history.

Dr. James W. Pennebaker explains another reason why recording what’s happening today is valuable; “when we experience a traumatic event or major transition in life, our minds function to process and understand what’s happening to us. Our thoughts can consume us, but translating these experiences into language gives us a physical piece to contemplate.”

Research suggests that writing about yourself and your own experiences can improve mood and boost memory. A 2001 study shows that children who know a lot about their family tend to be more resilient and have higher levels of self-esteem. They also display more self-control, lower levels of anxiety, and fewer behavioral problems.

Let’s help our kids record their living history. This can be as big as they’d like.

Keep a COVID-19 journal
Kids can record the events of the day, their feelings, fears, and wins. This is a real world learning moment and an opportunity to use some skills they are developing now

Prompt you kids with questions like:

  • Did you learn something new about yourself today?
  • Who or what are you grateful for today?
  • What makes you feel anxious? What are you doing to calm your anxiety?
  • What new interests are you exploring while you’re at home?
  • What are you learning about yourself or your family?
Have them interview family members, neighbors, and friends to find out about their experiences right now. Brainstorm questions together to ask and add to the list as the days pass. Older kids interested in data collection can analyze the information to gain useful insights.

The journal can be simple or sophisticated; handwritten, typed or drawn. Kids can make bullet point journals with lists and short-form sentences or scrapbook journals that include articles, images, graphs and charts. They can add illustrations of the family to personalize this living history.

Not all kids enjoy writing, but they have other options like creating a video or a time capsule.

Your kid’s living history will not only capture this moment in time, it will memorialize your family experience. It will be an important family keepsake to revisit and an important reminder of how you endured COVID-19.