Wondering what you can buy the kids for Christmas that they’ll play with for more than a week? That they can both laugh at and learn from? That they can enjoy by themselves or with others, and that will have a positive impact on their well being for decades to come? According to scientific research (and our customers) a photo book is the answer.
Remember the joy of sitting down with your grandparents and flicking through their wedding album or what you learnt when you discovered your parent’s childhood albums? This joy comes from learning more about your family’s story, which helps you understand more about yourself and develops your sense of self identity.
Similar benefits are experienced when kids see printed photos of themselves surrounded by their family. It makes them feel like they’re part of a team, of a tribe. They feel secure and confident about their place in the world because they can see they fit in. This gives them a sense of belonging and connection that strengthens their appreciation for their parents and siblings, and inspires family bonding.
Our customer, Ruth Gilmour, has seen this with her daughter.
“I watch Ruby leaf through the pages of our book and I can see it gives her a sense of belonging. She’s looked at it a lot more lately since her dad has been working overseas. I think it’s her way of making him feel closer than he really is. It’s a comfort for us all.”
These experiences are reflected in scientific research and reports published over the last four decades. Phototherapy, a field of psychology established in the late 1970s by Canadian psychologist Judy Weiser uses “people’s interactions with personal and family photos to help them understand themselves better, to increase insight and improve their well-being.” Weiser believes that,
“when a child sees a family portrait with them included they say to themselves: ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.”
In addition to improving emotional health, photographs have the power to solidify childhood memories. Test this theory by thinking back to the most memorable moments from your childhood. Were they captured in a photo? Would you remember them if the photo never existed? Personally, I wouldn’t know some events had occurred if I didn’t have the photographic proof. Our customer Melissa Wheatley believes this is the case.
“Photo books are beneficial for the love and learning they provide. They also play a large role in ensuring my little ones remember every experience we give them.”
Other benefits of photographic records for kids, are the way they spark conversations about the past. Not only can this inspire children (and parents) to express themselves and their feelings, it is a great trigger for a child’s imagination, memory recall and storytelling capabilities.
So we’ve outlined plenty of benefits for photographs, but is there an advantage to viewing printed rather than digital photos? Haptics, the study of the sense of touch, states that objects we can feel, that have more weight and texture, will produce a greater emotional response and they’re easier to remember and recall. With that in mind, a tangible, printed photo or photo book will always have a far greater influence on your child than a digital photo file ever can.
If you need more encouragement to get your family photos into print or to create your kids a photo book for Christmas, think ahead to when they leave home and make their way in the world. If they choose to settle in another suburb, state or country, the photo books you make could be the perfect comfort and conversation starter. A few decades later on, they could also be the strongest link they have to you, and the perfect tool for sharing their story with your grand children and great grand children.
Regardless of what the science says, the joy and excitement in the faces of kids who see themselves in the pages of a photo book is pretty damn priceless. Maybe it’s because they feel like a superstar or because the printed photos makes love visible, a concrete thing. Whatever it is, remember that family photos are for them, not just for you. So mums and dads, get in the photos more often, keep them safely backed up, and print them in a photo book for your kid’s sake. We promise that a photo book gift will keep on giving!
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Here’s some of the sources we used to create this blog post
- Family photographs: In treatment and training (1976) by C.M. Anderson & E. Malloy
- PhotoTherapy Techniques: Exploring the Secrets of Personal Snapshots and Family Albums by Weiser, J. (2002)
- Here’s looking at you, kid (1988) by A. Shehan
- Phototherapy in Mental Health (1983) by David A. Krauss & Jerry L. Fryrear
- Phototherapy Recommended Reading List