Journaling is a practice that has been used for centuries by adults and children alike, and it's no wonder why: journaling helps us to see ourselves more clearly.
When we write things down, we're able to work through our thoughts and feelings - good or bad - in a safe space.
Plus, when we look back on what we wrote months or years later, it can provide perspective on how much the world has changed since then.
A lot of adults will recognise journaling as a tool that they use to help them be their best selves. However, a lot of children will not have been introduced to the practice of journaling at all - and this is where you come in!
Journalling can be a wonderful way for your child to explore who they are becoming as a person - the experiences they've had, the things they've learned, and what truly makes them happy.
It can be used to aid self-discovery, or simply to express yourself through writing; either way it is both fun and beneficial.
The benefits of keeping a journal - for both children and adults
A journal is like an open book; it's a nonjudgmental space where you can be completely honest, and it provides you with a safe means of self-expression.
As children move through the stages of life, they often develop various opinions about themselves - some positive, others negative - which may make them feel as though they don't fit in properly.
Journalling can help to build a child's sense of identity and place in society by allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of how others might respond.
Journalling can even aid social development, according to this study on journal writing levels among preschoolers.
The study shows that kids who choose to write about themselves "fairly frequently" have better communication skills than their peers, and that kids who do not write about themselves "rarely or almost never" show lower levels of communication skills.
Keeping a journal can serve as an educational tool too; engaging in academic writing - like essays - helps children develop strong reading comprehension , which is key to academic success in school.
As you can see, journaling has both mental and physical benefits for your child.
Not only will it strengthen the bond between you and your child (by allowing them space for self-expression,) but it will also help foster creativity, boost confidence, provide a non-judgmental environment for emotional expression, and improve communication skills.
To get you started with journaling with your child (or children), below are 30 prompts to get them started - perfect for an art journal, or just writing some thoughts down on paper.
Remember that there is no 'right' way to journal - it's simply about getting your thoughts out into the open:
- How do you think you are perceived by others?
- What is one of your most treasured memories? Why is it so special to you?
- What are some of your favourite things to do at home?
- If you could have dinner, conversation, or a chat with anyone in history - who would it be and why?
- Describe what makes YOU unique.
- Draw yourself as an adult! Where is your ideal home? What do you want to be doing?
- Write down some goals for yourself - both long-term and short-term goals.
- Who are your biggest role models in life, and why?
- How do you bounce back when things get tough? (Remember, there's no 'right' way to journal - do not worry if you are unable to answer!)
- How would your best friend describe you?
- What is the greatest thing that has happened to you in the last year? Why is it so important?
- Think of a loved one, whether family or friend. What do they love most about you?
- What do you think will happen to the world in the future?
- If you could sit down and chat with someone (real or fictional) right now, who would it be and why?
- What are some of your favourite books/TV shows/movies? Why are they your favourites?
- What makes you feel the most comfortable and happy?
- How can you change the world around you to make it a happier place?
- If you could create your own language, what would it sound like and why?
- Describe a time where you overcame a personal fear.
- What do you wish to accomplish within the next year?
- How much do you love your family members? Why are they so special to you?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
- What is something that has changed about yourself recently? How has it changed you?
- What is something you are proud of yourself for?
- How do you feel when your parents tell you that they love you? Do you think that they love each other too? Why or why not?
- Describe a time where someone really helped to lift your spirits. Who was it and why did they help?
- Draw a map of your home - where is everyone's favourite place to sit, and what kind of decor do you like the best?
- What was school like today? How does this compare to how you used to feel about school when you were little?
- Write down ten things that make you happy right now.
- Describe all the places you've been lucky enough to go - from your bedroom, to outer space!
If you are looking for a way to help your child navigate the early stages of their lives, consider encouraging them to journal.
Not only will this give them an outlet for self-expression and exploration, but it may also serve as a coping mechanism in times of stress or confusion.
You can find many different styles of journals that work well with children depending on what they enjoy doing most - from colouring books to diaries. The best part is there’s no wrong answer!
Whatever your current journalling adventure entails, we hope that you continue down this road together.