Without family photography in which your children are featured on display or easily accessible on a daily basis in your home, your child may miss out on these three healthy benefits:
1. The photos you keep and display tell a story; the story of YOU
Photos of a graduation, sweet 16, new birth, or wedding along with documentation indicating the date and location of the photo are your story. Information like this becomes the family's collective memory. Your child benefits from the repetition and recitation of these images - they belong, they are a part of something, they have a history.
“It lets children learn who they are and where they fit,” says Judy Weiser. a psychologist, art therapist and author based in Vancouver. “They learn their genealogy and the the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph 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.”
2. Photos displayed in the home provide a sense of representation
It's a wonderful feeling to have a comfortable place to call home. Seeing themselves in photography exhibited in a prominent spot emphasizes your child's feeling of belonging - they are a part of something that is important enough to be shown to the world.
“My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print,” says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages five through 13 near Eugene, Ore. “Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image.”
3. Family photos can be a source of great comfort in times of the inevitable loss.
You certainly have a personal story of loss, every family does. But what every family does not have are heartwarming visual memories to seek comfort in after the loss. It's never easy to not only remember to have the photos made in the first place, but to do it in a way that will create a beautiful memorial that becomes part of your family's daily life. Keep these images in areas your family tends to spend most of their time, especially when you need great comfort. Your children will learn that loss does not mean being forgotten, that the family remembers and they are part of those memories.