Journaling is something that is popular for adults as part of their personal development, but it can also be a really valuable tool for youngsters too.
It’s not new – you may remember keeping a diary when you were growing up and your parents before you. You probably have memories of a leather-bound five-year diary, with a key to keep nosey parents out!
The difference with journaling is that it’s not just a record of ‘what I did today’. It’s somewhere to write down ideas, dreams, aspirations and plans.
What will a journal do for your child
It’s an excellent way to record your thoughts, writing things down often clarifies some of the more random ideas that come into your mind. Instead of a great idea flying in and flying out, capturing it in a journal can enable the writer to develop it.
Being able to write fluently is a life-skill and it’s one of those skills that, the more you do, the better you get. When it’s exam time and you have to write narrative answers, the experience of writing daily will make that a much easier process (as long as you know the answers, of course).
It’s also a good way to ‘download’ your day, so it doesn’t end up going round and round in your head and causing unnecessary anxiety. There’s something about writing your thoughts down that stops them continually buzzing about in your brain.
Much has been said about the skill of actually being able to handwrite. Whilst some people will prefer to use a keyboard, the outcomes tend to be better with a pen in your hand.
The left (process-driven) side of your brain is engaged by mechanical processes, while the creative right side is much more likely to be engaged when using a pen on paper.
A word about privacy
If your child does start journaling – you must respect their privacy. Their journal may not have a lock and key, but that doesn’t mean you should go and read it uninvited, regardless of how old they are.
Younger children are more likely to present you with their journal to read, but as kids get older, they acquire a sense of privacy that they don’t want their parents invading.
It’s important that they trust you, so don’t give in to the temptation to ‘have a quick look’, even if their journal isn’t very well hidden.
Get them off to a good start
Find a nice hard-backed notebook and a pen that writes nicely (it doesn’t have to be a fountain pen) and introduce them to the art of journaling.
It’s not just for kids either – it might be a great way for you to download your day and record your dreams for the future too!