Being a kid can be a rough deal. Not only are their huge hormonal changes going on all the time, but there's outside pressures like school and friends to deal with too. It can be a tricky process, and one that most of us never forget. Although journaling is often negatively stereotyped, encouraging children to start writing their thoughts and feelings down can have huge benefits. It's not just reserved for teens either - in fact, the earlier you can get your child to put pen to paper, the better. Here's why.
It can help your child deal with important feelings. That first crush, the first date, the angst they're feeling over not being invited to a social event - sometimes, kids don't want to talk to anyone about their inner most thoughts. Journaling gives them a safe space to work through how they feel, while getting it all out in a non-judgmental place.
It will help them write. Writing is an important skill, and although we may not physically practice the art as much in this technological age, learning how to form sentences is an important part of child development. Not only can writing in a journal help emotionally, but it can play an important part in perfecting the art of the written word. Maybe your son or daughter will discover a penchant for storytelling they never knew they had.
Communication can be improved. If you want to learn more about how your child is feeling but they struggle to talk to you, try starting a dialogue journal. Buy a journal or a notebook that you both can share, and start it off with a simple question, such as, "How are you feeling today?". You can go back and forth asking each other questions. Make sure that any important issues are vocally addressed too, but this could be an important starting point.
It's a great place to reflect. How many of us have kept our journals from years ago so we can open them up and have a look? Your child will probably do the same. Looking back at previous journals can give precious perspective, as well as remind us of precious memories.
Why not take your child to a store and let them pick out their own journal? You never know, they might keep it forever.