The goal is to communicate required and helpful details that would guide everyone from a babysitter (when you’re not sheltering at home) to a guardian. Let’s begin with important contacts:
Who’s your kids’ general practitioner or primary physician and what’s the name of the practice? Ditto for their dentists and any specialists they see (eye doctors, allergists, dermatologists, etc.). Review the task that is centered around medical professionals and do the same for your kids as you did for yourself. If you have young kids, you might have this information hung up on your refrigerator or readily accessible to anyone who would need it in case of emergency.
Teachers come and go, so adding all of them into your contacts will junk up the works. Instead, keep these on a list -- either digital or handwritten -- and only add a designated contact, the name of the school and one primary contact in your phone.
Keep a current list of your kids’ best friends and how you can contact the parents. Perhaps you connect with them via Facebook, but that might not help the other parent of your child who might be out of the loop. Print out a list of only the most important numbers or write them on a kitchen wipe-away board, and always keep them updated. Also include other contacts like members of the family who live close by and trustworthy neighbors.
Once your contacts are in order, time to move on to documentation and forms.
The good thing about young kids is they don’t have many forms of identification to fill their little wallets, which they tend to lose. There’s the birth certificate and a social security card if you requested one when they were born. Other possible documents: Passport, adoption papers, and proof of citizenship.
Gather up all the medical records you have on file for your kids, which includes annual physical reports (tracking things like weight and height percentile if they’re younger), vaccinations, past surgeries, or major illnesses. And, of course, spell out any and all special medical issues like life-threatening allergies and chronic illnesses. Even if your kid(s) has an unusual birthmark you get checked every year, it should be noted. A previous task helped you create a Personal Medical Journal. Time to do it for your little one.
Keeping up with a child’s personality, and their diverse world of needs at a particular moment, is forever a challenge. Sometimes it’s easy to track, like when they’re a baby and you’re in full control. But as they develop into more fully formed humans, things can get, well, complicated. This makes the next bunch of things solely dependent on what makes your child unique. As your children age this information transitions from being vital for babysitters and possible guardians, to becoming more of a journal of memories they can appreciate if they have kids of their own one day. And maybe appreciate you even more one day, especially if you’re the one homeschooling them during the pandemic.
Behavior & Quirks
If a child has a diagnosed condition, then it should be included among medical issues. But this is also about overall demeanor. Are they outgoing or shy? Easygoing or particular? Are there any bedtime rituals, concentration tricks for homework, or warning signs when they’re on the edge of a tantrum? Parents inherently know these things, possible guardians might not.
This can change frequently and without warning. A child that eats only chicken nuggets for a full year may one day switch to an all-spaghetti diet...until they re-discover their love of pizza four months later. And a love of pizza lasts a lifetime. The easy way to keep track of this is to focus on allergies (unless they’re life threatening, which belong in medical) or extreme dislikes (“she’d sooner eat roadkill than shrimp”).
This is like food, only it doesn't include food. Does your child love the water? Happier playing outside or reading a book? A favorite sweatshirt or pair of flip flops they would wear everyday if they could? Make little notes about these things so the memories don’t get lost.
If your child has special needs and requires extra care, you already know the effort required to keep things running. But if something were to happen to you, where does that leave your child? Are you keeping a journal to track all the above? Are there any things a possible guardian or caretaker needs to know? The same way many people keep passwords in their heads (and you know how we feel about that), they may keep caretaking routines in there too.
Your child’s care is always the priority, so organizing all these details can’t be something you say you’ll do when you get around to it. We’re completely sympathetic, but being overwhelmed comes with being a parent, which includes making sure your kids are taken care of if something happens to you.