Encouraging Kids to keep a Journal
The benefits of keeping a journal are endless. In addition to being a great way to document a vacation or summer break, journals can help children get a better understanding of who they are. For many children, a journal can be a friend and a confidant. By encouraging daily writing you can help your child improve handwriting skills and improve a child’s thought process, sequencing and communication. A journal also becomes a memory book of the fun experiences or personal moments. List of Journals for Kids to Make.
- Why journal? What’s the point? The benefits of being a good writer may seem obvious to us as adults, but for kids it may just seem like more homework. This introduction page from The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book provides a cute little cartoon that may motivate and help them realize that their thoughts and feelings today will help to retain memories and interesting thoughts as they grow.
- The best way to motivate your children to journal is to set a good example. Make this a family project. Only a few minutes a day is all that it takes. Even younger children who can not write can express their thoughts through drawing. If you choose, parents and children can share their ideas – there are no wrong answers here, everyone’s thoughts are important. It’s all about individual, unique interpretation.
- Purchase a nice notebook for the journal, or let the children make their own. See 8 Cool Journals for Kids to Make.
- For a vacation or summer journal, a simple 3-ring binder and some paper usually works best. With a larger notebook, children can also include add ticket stubs, tour maps and even paper menus. Though, for carrying around, a smaller spiral notebook may be a better choice. Personally I like the 8 1/2″ by 5 1/2″ mini spiral notebooks where I can cut my own paper to fill.
- Start slow, make it a combination of sketches and writing after all it is their journal and only they can find the best way to express their thoughts and ideas.
- If the child is stumped, give them prompts like; I see …, I hear …, I smell …, I feel …, I taste …
- Have them include recipes. This will introduce children to flavors and encourage them to think about the texture, the presentation or the culture of the food. Perhaps there is something they would change about the meal.
- Visiting someplace new? Have your child write a review of the experience. It could be a restaurant, museum, park or movie. Talk to them about reviews that you read in the newspaper. Many people have the job experiencing something new then describing it to others. Explain the importance of this.
- The chronological order helps children understand the timing of events or activities. Always date the writing – it helps give a frame of reference on where, what and when the content is about.
- Even on days when nothing out of the ordinary is happening, continue to keep a journal. And always encourage positive thinking.