Welcome back to monthly feature about all things journaling!
Last month, I challenged all of you to document your daily gratitude . . . every day, write down something that you are thankful for. I will be honest, I had a very rough start! With Armchair BEA at the end of May, I simply did not have the time to do much of anything outside of my Armchair BEA tasks, especially when my daughter had to go in for a last-minute surgery at the end of the month. However, I really wanted to make it a point to document my daily gratitude for a minimum of 30 days, so I started on the first of June. Since I am being honest, there are some days that I don't write and others that I make up for what I missed. I am about half-way through my daily gratitude of June and hope to continue with it at least through the end of the month. How about you? Have you been documenting your gratitude every day?
Now, for this month, I want to spend a few minutes talking about journaling with kids. I have had my kids write in a journal for quite a few years now. The first one started with my son when he was about 3 years old and we called it his adventure book. We (well, mostly me!) would document his adventures, include pictures and postcards, and his little scribbles. Today, my children are older and it looks a little different, but is still going strong. In fact, now that they are a little older, it has gotten to be so much fun. We tend to journal more during the summer months, to help decrease the summer slide and because we tend to have more to write about.
I often get questions from people about what I have my kids journal about. It varies and depends upon our moods, and I often give them choices about what they want to write about. Here is a list of ideas for the whole year:
- Adventures: This can include family vacations, road trips, field trips, and more. Have your child share his favorite parts about the adventure, something he learned, or draw a picture from his memory about the day/trip. Include pictures or postcards or even informational packets. Let the child take the lead. For example, my daughter is fascinated with cutting, so she likes to take the informational packets and cut out her favorite parts and glue them in.
- Prompts: Provide a prompt for your child. Examples can include writing five things that you are thankful for today, a summer bucket list, a list of favorites (animals, colors, songs, etc.), the day of firsts (school, snow, extracurricular activities, etc.). I actually had my kids use a printable I found online for the first day of school and the last (here's an example of one, but not the identical one we used this year). I even used this free printable for the beginning of a new year.
- Creativity: Who says that journaling has to be all nonfiction? Have your kids use their imaginations and write their own stories or poems. Easy ones are name or acrostic poems. My kids personally love the story starters courtesy of Scholastic.
- Books: We love to read books in our house and they often generate a lot of discussion, from how would we create our own monsters to more serious topics of how we would handle ourselves in different circumstances. These are great topics for a child's journal!
- Mail: Does your child want to save those special birthday cards or the first letter from a pen pal? Or, in our recent case, going away cards from the friends you will be missing after a move. Why not include them in the journal? She will love to go back and revisit them, especially on a more difficult day.
I leave you with a few parental tips for journaling with kids:
- Create a space. Make sure your child has plenty of space to spread out and be creative. You may even want to turn on a few tunes to accompany their writing process.
- Provide lots of supplies. This may include pencils, pens, crayons, color pencils, markers, glue stick, washi tape, etc.
- Record the date. This will be important for them when they go back to look at their previous entries. It is fun to see their progress from simple thing,s like their handwriting to more complex, like their style of writing and concepts of ideas.
- Be flexible. Your child's journal is not your own. It is his space and you should allow them to do with it what they would like. I tend to guide my children in certain aspects (i.e., recording the date), but really let them do their own thing from there.
My kids love their journals, and they love to go back and read previous entries. I do too! A child's journal is something to cherish, just like our own. It's filled with memories and can help them to process the world around them. Journaling could turn into a family affair, so why not pull out your own journal to model the writing habit?!?
Do you journal with children? What tips and topics do you recommend? And, for those who participated in last month's challenge, how did you do?