Journaling is a great tool for parents to encourage their children to practice their writing skills in a fun way. Dissimilar to a diary, journals go far beyond recounting daily activities and thoughts. While journals can most certainly be used for such purposes, the versatility of a journal allows kids and teenagers to integrate writing in several aspects of their lives.
How does journaling benefit my child?
- Journaling gives them freedom. Writing for pleasure as opposed to writing for school gives them liberty to write about whatever they want. Journals are a non-threatening place to write without any inhibition.
- Journaling sparks creativity. A journal is a place for your child to write their most imaginative thoughts. Their entries can be as structured or as wild as the thoughts they have, whatever inspires them to continue writing.
- They’re in control of their journal. Having a personal journal enables kids to express their feelings, ideas and concerns which are safe from criticism, allowing them to write freely and honestly. Articulating their thoughts in written form allows them to own the situation and plan how they wish to proceed.
- Journals reduce stress. We would probably choose childhood stress over grown-up stress any day but the truth is, the stress your child is feeling either at school, with siblings or with friends can still really weigh them down. Journaling makes it easier for them to understand. Furthermore, having an outlet to vent about their interactions can help them unwind and observe the situation more calmly and objectively. Whether or not they share their journal, the act of getting those stressful thoughts out of their heads is a form of release.
- Journaling encourages expression. If your child has a difficult time vocalizing their wants and needs, a journal is an excellent tool that can help them organize their thoughts and emotions, allowing them to find and write the words before having to speak them.
- Journaling improves the flow of speech. Keeping a journal can also be very beneficial to children who stutter, as it allows them to express their frustration in a controlled environment and it helps them to discover that they actually can communicate effectively with the proper tools.
- Journaling improves writing skills. You know the age old saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’? Well, it’s the truth. Practicing journaling regularly helps with written communication, spelling, grammar and sentence structure. The more your child writes, the stronger their writing skills will be. They will be able to apply their learnings from school in a way that doesn’t feel like homework, encouraging them to re-read their masterpieces and catch mistakes on their own
- Journaling improves storytelling skills. As beginner story tellers, we adopt a lot of the same techniques and mannerisms as our teachers or perhaps our favorite authors. Frequent journaling will aid your children in developing a writing and storytelling style of their own.
- Journaling boosts their confidence. Writing makes people feel good! A journal is a happy place, completing an entry provides a sense of accomplishment (not just for kids) and makes them feel good about themselves.
- Journaling can be done anywhere. One of the greatest things about journaling as a hobby is that it can be done any time, any place. Journal entries can be a short thought, a thought provoking quote from a teacher or an in depth expression of emotion. If your kids have a pen and paper, a tablet, a smartphone or if they’re on the computer, they can write and document those thoughts.
- Keeping a journal fosters appreciation. The day starts and they’re up for breakfast, out to school, then it’s time for homework, time for dinner and it’s off to soccer practice. Their days (as well as ours) can get so busy, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on outside their routine. Journaling offers a break from the madness. Teaching our kids to slow down and appreciate their surroundings and observations is a tool that will also come in handy later in life.
- Journal writing contributes to a deeper understanding of themselves. Personal development is a lifetime process but it is particularly crucial in the early stages of life. Documenting who they are, how they think and how they feel can give them a stronger sense of self.
- Keeping a journal helps in the long run. Journaling is a habit that supports the concept of time management, doing things that make you happy, creative thinking, problem solving abilities, self-awareness and effective communication. The skills they learn and practice as children will continue to benefit them as adults.
- Writing preserves their journey. So much happens throughout childhood and adolescence, it’s impossible to remember it all. A journal is a tangible snapshot of who your children are today and is an invaluable memory for them to reflect on as they get older.
There’s no ‘right’ way to journal. One of the glories of journaling is that it is entirely flexible to meet the needs and wants of the author. The benefits of journaling are most apparent when practiced every day. However, it’s not necessary to commit to writing a whole page, writing a couple sentences will do the trick. Often times our children will have the motivation to write but are not sure where to start. Keeping a journal jar is a fun way to decide what to write about either individually or as a family. A journal jar is fun and easy and can be made into a family activity of its own.
Creating your journal jar:
- Find a jar and decorate it if you’d like
- Print or write topics on pieces of paper
- Place topics in the jar
- Pick a topic when you’re ready to journal
- Let the writing begin!
- The best thing to do on a snow day is…
- My hero is…
- If I could create a new creature…
- The best joke I’ve ever heard is…
- If I was invisible I would…
Their journal topics for teens include:
- Do you think the town you’ve grown up in has influenced the person you are?
- What is the most inspiring thing you’ve ever been told?
- What privilege of getting older are you most looking forward to?
- What is the best choice you ever made?
- If you could do anything, what would you do?
Discover additional writing prompts, share journal entries with your child and encourage them to write journal entries of their own by signing up to JRNL today for free.