Why Your Kids Should Be Journaling - And How To Get Them Started!
Journaling is an incredible habit for a child to develop early in life. One of the beauties of journaling is that it is an extremely versatile tool that can be tailored to the specific needs of your child!
Kids of all ages can use journaling for a variety of reasons, whether it be as an outlet to express thoughts and feelings, a tool for school success, or just a space to document important events and moments in their lives. Not only can writing be a creative outlet and a reflective process, but it also has benefits related to literacy and social development.
Here are five important benefits that journaling practice can have for kids:
1. Helps Children Deal with Big Feelings
Research has shown that holding in negative emotions is a major risk factor for depression, and can negatively impact both our physical and mental health. Being able to externalize these difficult feelings by getting them on paper is a beneficial process that can ultimately lead to happier and healthier children.
Kids of all ages are beginning to experience new emotions that can be challenging for them to process. Having a private journal where they can write down and work through these emotions can help them better understand why they feel the way they do. This may be especially helpful for children who have difficulty verbalizing their internal experiences - writing them out can be easier and less stressful!
2. Strengthens Writing and Communication Skills
Just like any skill, the more you practice, the better you get! When children are journaling, they are simultaneously working on handwriting, spelling, sentence structure, grammar, and vocabulary -- all of which are important skills in school and in life.
In addition to these concrete writing abilities, children are also strengthening their communication skills when they journal. Some kids may find it easier to express themselves through writing versus oral communication. In addition, written communication is an equally important ability for all children to develop.
3. Stimulates Creativity
Journaling can be a form of storytelling that allows children to express themselves in whichever way feels most comfortable to them. In turn, this form of self-expression stimulates creativity. While some kids may enjoy guided journal prompts, others may want to use their journals as a space for free writing. This provides children with a healthy outlet to let their thoughts and emotions flow without obstruction. You never know what masterpiece your child might come up with when they are given the opportunity to write without structure or other motives!
4. Improves Reading and Comprehension
Reading and comprehension are important skills for everybody, but are especially critical for children to develop for school readiness. Journaling encourages kids to read more (as they are likely reading over what they are writing), which in turn helps them with comprehension and reasoning.
As children are working on their writing skills by journaling, they are improving their ability to recognize words more easily, read more quickly, and understand content at a higher level.
5. Increase Sense of Gratitude, Optimism, and Kindness
Journaling can be a very effective way to increase gratitude and optimism in children. Gratitude journaling is a specific type of journaling that encourages children to write down a few things that they are grateful for a day. This type of journaling is a very popular mindfulness tool as it allows children to stay present and focus on the good in their life. Journaling can also help increase optimism by putting situations and feelings into perspective in a way that makes them feel less scary.
In addition to increasing gratitude and optimism, journaling can also increase kindness. When children begin expressing and understanding their own feelings they can begin to recognize and understand those feelings in other people which can lead to an increase in empathy and kindness.
While discussing the benefits of journaling, I mentioned a few different types of journaling that can be introduced to kids. Depending on what your child wants to use their journal for, here are a few different styles that you can try out:
1. Daily Prompt Journal
If your child needs a little more structure to start their journaling journey, a great way to get started is with daily writing prompts. With this type of journaling, kids will use their journal to respond to a different creative prompt each day!
To get you started, you can try this great list of prompts from 3P Learning.
2. Free-Write Journal
This kind of journal allows kids to have free range with the topics that they write about -- it makes the perfect space for self-expression and exploration. Most of the time, these types of journals are used to explore thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They can also be an especially helpful way to help your child identify and understand their own emotions.
3. Gratitude Journal
This type of journal encourages children to express some form of gratitude on a daily basis, which in turn helps them become more mindful! There are tons of great online resources that you can use to help your child start their own gratitude journal.
To get started, you can try Exceptional Mindset's FREE printable:
Download it as a PDF here!