Journaling with Your Kids
Last year, I started a journal with my 8-year-old daughter and it has been an amazing experience.
There are a few reasons why I decided to start journaling with my daughter. The first, is that she is an introvert. Introverted children tend to keep their thoughts to themselves and have rich inner worlds. Lucy is an introvert and my son Zach is an extrovert. Zach loves to talk and this means that I don't get to hear as much from Lucy. She is not one to share unless asked. For more on whether your child is an introvert or extrovert click here. I figured a journal is a way for her to communicate directly to me without any little brother interruptions.
The second reason, is that sometimes it is easier to discuss things in writing. Lucy will be entering puberty soon and she will have many concerns and questions. I remember being much too shy and embarrassed to ask questions aloud. My hope is that starting this practice now will allow us to keep going through her teens. The journal symbolizes open non-judgmental communication. She doesn't have to see my reaction and writing gives me time to process and think.
The third reason and most important, is to be closer to her. I love my daughter. I want to know her and this journal allows me to ask questions I wouldn't normally ask. I plan on keeping all the journals throughout the years and giving them to her when she is older. They will be a nice snapshot of who we both were in the past.
Does this sound like something you would like to do with someone? You can start a journal with your child, your partner or your best friend. It is a wonderful way to really learn about the other person and become closer.
Here is how:
Buy a journal and write the first entry. I like to start each entry as "Dear Lucy" with the date. Then outline the rules for the journal. Our rules are: 1. Must answer all questions asked. 2. Must return within a week of receiving.
Then explain to the person why you have started the journal. I was upfront with Lucy and told her that I know her brother demands a lot of my attention and this journal is a way for us to learn about one another, share ideas and have fun.
If your child does not like to write, you can have them draw or let them give short answers. Some kids (and adults) will really have to practice journaling awhile before they feel confident enough in sharing. You may find yourself asking all the questions for a while but don't give up. Some people need a lot of time to process.
Make sure to let the other person know you don't care about spelling or grammar. I told Lucy that I am not her teacher and if I can't understand something, I will just ask her to clarify.
To make it fun, you may want to buy your child new pencils or pens and find a really cool journal. Ours is pink with a gold unicorn.
You may want to find a pre-made journal. We are currently working through Fearless: The Confidence Journal for Girls. We split the answering pages in 2 and each answer the prompt or do the activity then share. I highly recommend this journal. It is super cute, has great quotes and the activities are great for building confidence.
If you don't want to buy a pre-made journal, visit some at your local bookstore. This is a great way for you to get some of ideas on what to ask or how set up your journal.
We have been journaling now for over a year and it has become a routine. We usually journal before her nightly shower. She really looks forward to the journal and brings it out for us each night. I think she knows this a great way for us to have some girl time together. I have learned a lot about her journaling. She asks more questions and has let me in on what is happening at school. It has been great for me as well. It causes me to share more about my life as well as my past. I think we both learn something new about one another every time we journal. I hope you are able to incorporate this into your relationship(s) in your life as well.