Sure it may seem like a waste of money.

Maybe our kids don’t seem to care if we purchase one or not.

It might appear as a material item that will just sit around and collect dust.

Does our child really need another school yearbook?

School yearbook sales are in significant decline today. Students seem disinterested in the costly product. Mom and Dad don’t want more stuff hanging around the house either, so they are choosing not to buy.

Is the yearbook a dying American tradition or does it still have value?

I relish this time of year when my kids bring home their yearbooks. Perhaps I have an affinity for the product because I was Editor in Chief of mine as a high school senior, but more so, it provides me parental value today. 

Those of us still buying yearbooks know we are investing in a keepsake that our child will hopefully treasure in the future. We understand that social media posts will eventually be lost yet an analog book of memories is forever. We’re also supporting and funding a group of students’ creative, hard work throughout the school year. 

What if you buy the school yearbook simply as a way to get your family members connecting today?

The hardcover edition of my children’s most recent high school yearbook sits on our coffee table surrounded by our comfy sectional couch. The book sits right where family members slowly gather around the television throughout each evening.

At this time of year, I strategically seek out an open area on the couch and begin to flip through the pages of the yearbook.

“Oh, he looks cute,” is usually all I have to say to get my freshman daughter to bound across the room to squeeze up next to me to see who in the world I could be talking about. 

“Uh, Mom. No. He is so weird. He’s in my biology class.”

Oh ok. Well, what about him? I say while pointing to a different picture. And our bonding begins….

There’s something magical about a school yearbook that allows normally off-limits conversation between my guarded daughter and myself. I can’t ask her about a friend’s Snapchat or Instagram post without coming across as intrusive or annoying. Somehow the compiled photos and stories wrapped up in this yearbook are fair game.

“Do you know her? She looks nice.”

“That doesn’t look like Michael. He has changed so much since elementary school.”

Organically the brothers can’t help but get in on the action too. They squeeze in wanting to add their personal two cents to the conversation. And the dialogue opens up between sister and brother, who typically pass in the high school hallways without even saying a word to one another.

I learn who is funny in my child’s eyes. Who’s smart. Who’s mean. Who cheats. Who Juuls. Who kisses in the hallways. Which teachers they want for next year and which ones they hope to never see again.

The school yearbook allows us a window into our kids’ world that we may never gain access to otherwise. It is a private space somehow made public in the beauty of this hardbound memory book.

The purchase of the school yearbook may seem like a waste of money unless we understand it’s potential in the present. The compilation of photos, stories and memories inside can be a key to unlock your child’s world if you are willing to sit down with it and begin the conversation.

“He looks cute…”

Let the school yearbook be a simple and effective tool for strengthening relationships and communication in your home. We parents must purposely seek out ways to get our children off screens and into real conversation and the school yearbook is a perfect way to achieve that this time of year.

I hope that my children will value their books in the years to come, but I know I will always treasure the moments we spent laughing and talking our way through the pages year after year.

The annual school yearbook is one investment I will continue to make during this precious season called childhood and my hope is that you will too.

8 replies
  1. Sally
    Sally says:

    I totally agree! My kids are at different schools and they really get into looking at the other kids’ yearbooks and seeing pics of the teachers and kids they’ve been hearing about all year.

    Reply
  2. Megan Ket
    Megan Ket says:

    I really loved your perspective on this topic. I am working on our school’s PTA board and trying to think of ways I can convince parents to buy one for their children. You said it perfectly!!! And I love how you also mentioned it as a way to start a conversation- to be involved with our kiddos! Thank you so much for this perspective. I will be sharing!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you so much, Megan, for reading and taking the time to comment! My kids just opened the yearbook up yesterday to look up someone that their brother was talking about to see if they knew them. I keep the yearbook on the coffee table instead of buried on a bookshelf, to keep it a communication tool throughout the year.

      Reply
  3. Sheri
    Sheri says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Today is the last day to order yearbooks. And the first time my 6th, 7th and 9th graders have ever been in school. (Homeschooled prior till this year). I have been overwhelmed with all the boosters and picture costs and athletic costs etc… So this yearbook was one more thing. 3 yearbooks?! Every year?!!! And then they have 2 elementary siblings coming up soon. So the order is sitting in my inbox and I decided to Google “why buy a yearbook” and your post comes up. Thank you! You’re awesome!! Love it and gonna hit the checkout button now. 😊

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Sheri! I love that you took the time to write me this and let me know that what I wrote helped you! It always does seem like a burden for those of us with several kids, but I think you will enjoy putting them to use 🙂 I did go to buying only one high school yearbook for the kids to share because it did seem extreme to buy 4 of those each year. Although, I just bought my seniors each their own book this year!

      Reply
  4. Michelle Cardini
    Michelle Cardini says:

    Great perspective Amy. I have always purchased and valued yearbooks. Yet, I can see, as social meeting has gained momentum that the desire to purchase the yearbooks may be decreasing. Now that I am officially an empty nester, as of just a few weeks, you have inspired me to put some year books on my coffee table to create conversations when everyone is home. Thank you Amy for your continued refreshing parenting perspective! 💚

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you, Michelle, for reading and taking the time to comment! Hopefully, the kids will look away from their screens long enough to notice it sitting there 😉

      Reply

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