Journaling with Kids
Last week we talked about journaling for us parents. This week, we’ll be talking about journaling for kids.
Benefits of Teaching your Child to Journal
1. It gets them writing. For many of our children, writing isn’t the activity they bound of bed, clamoring to do. However, I think that we can make writing more fun for kids by allowing them to write on their terms. Writing, even at very young ages, is great because it helps with hand/eye coordination and fine motor development.
2. It helps them to slow down and think about their world. How often do our kids just get to sit and reflect? It seems like something is always trying to grab their attention- a game, a toy, a person, a tablet. Creating time, space and the resources needed for a child to journal can be a huge gift to them in teaching the art of slowing.
3. It will be fun for your child to look back on their journals and remember the fun times, events, places, and adventures! I still have my journals from middle school and high school, and I love taking a peruse every now and then. How cool would it have been to see journals from even earlier than that.
Introducing Your Child to Journaling
Aly is in 4K and her teacher has them journal on a regular basis. Each student has a notebook where they can draw, write, color- whatever they feel like doing!
Create a routine.
For my daughter’s class, they journal after lunch. For my son’s class, they journal on Monday mornings as a reflection on their weekend activities. The journaling doesn’t have to happen everyday– but happening on some sort of regular, predictable routine will make it easier for everyone to remember to do it!
Spice it Up.
No need to narrow the journaling method at a young age. Introduce a variety of topics/methods and see what your child seems to really enjoy.
- Nature: Take your journals outside and collect items to sketch. Or write about something that you like about the outdoors. What did you see on your nature walk? Simplehomemade has a good one about introducing nature journaling.
- Feelings: How are you feeling today? Use colors, drawings and words to describe whatever you’re feeling.
- Prayers: Write or draw something that you would like to pray about to God. A couple years ago, we did prayer journals with the kids. They weren’t beautiful, but the kids loved them and used them up pretty quickly.
- Ideas: Have a good idea for a game? Think up something to build? Want to redecorate your room? Write it down! Sketch it out!
- Art: Artful Parent has a helpful post about introducing art journaling to your children.
- Picture prompts. Print a picture from an event and have your child write a couple sentences about it. Use the 5 W’s to guide writing if your child doesn’t know how to get started.
- Question Prompts. Here are some fun ones from Journalbuddies for summertime! While not questions exactly, The Princess and the Tot shares some fun prompts to get our creative juices going.
- Make lists. Apparently I rub off on the kids, because they like lists. Things to do lists. Idea lists. Lists of names (what are they for? I don’t know :)). What about having your child list 10 things they want to do this summer? Or list as many ice cream flavors that they can think of?
- Bitstrips. Create a character (self-portrait?) online and then write a story!
I think this is a slow process. Learn a little, try a little, learn a little, try a little. No need to learn it all before starting! But, if this is something that is of interest to you, here are a few articles/books/etc that could be useful to you as you start journaling with your child.
- Journaling for Pre-writers from No Time for Flashcards
- Journals for Kids from What Do We Do All Day?
- Gadanke Journal idea for those who don’t mind spending more money on this. I’m more interested in making my own using some of her ideas! 🙂
- Travel Journaling is a bit different- a bit more like a scrapbook, but still a form of journaling that could be fun for those of you on the road or in the skies this summer.
- A couple books in regards to prayer journaling with kids: Praying in Color (Kids edition) and Writing to God (Kids edition). If you are looking for a colorful printable, here’s one for kids from Mother’s Niche.
The summer is a perfect time to start. Jake and I are looking forward to doing Summer Journals with the kids. Asante, Aly, and Ada will each get their own journal to write in each weekday while Anaya takes her afternoon nap! We found some fun ones at a teacher supply store that are blank– including the cover– that we’ll probably use.