Journaling has long been considered a beneficial practice for adults, helping to reduce stress, clarify thoughts, and improve overall mental health.
However, many people do not realize that journaling can also provide these benefits to children.
Why should we encourage and nurture journaling opportunities for children?
Let’s look at some of the benefits of journaling for kids!
1. Develop strong writing skills
Perhaps the most compelling is the fact that it can help them improve their writing skills.
The consistent journaling practice of putting words--or word/image combinations-- on paper, over time, can help them develop their vocabulary, sentence structure, and overall writing style.
There's not ONE right way to journal!
When students are introduced to a variety of creative journaling techniques, they're allowed the opportunity to explore. This process helps them find their unique voice while learning about and experimenting with their writing options.
Sampling different forms of writing, such as storytelling, poetry, persuasive writing, and visual image-making techniques helps them explore the options that best fit their style of expression.
2. Help children develop emotional intelligence.
When kids write about their feelings and experiences, they learn to process and express their emotions in a healthy way. This can help them develop empathy for others, better understand their emotions, and ultimately improve their overall emotional well-being.
Encourage journal entries that include prompts that help kids think about the positives in their lives.
Daily gratitude, “What I learned today”, or “What made me smile today?” type prompts help students identify the good in each day and celebrate even the smallest milestones along the way instead of only focusing on the BIG events in their lives.
3. Journaling can help children develop self-awareness.
By regularly reflecting on their thoughts and experiences, kids can begin to understand their own strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits. This can help them navigate social situations more effectively and develop a stronger sense of self.
Finding their voice through reflective writing will help them process their thoughts and communicate more easily and clearly with adults.
4. Journals become both a tool and a special creative space.
There’s something so special about handling your own personal journal.
It’s an extension of you, your voice, your language, your creative outlet. It’s a space that welcomes you whether you want to just doodle or you want to challenge yourself to a more intricate thought-filled entry. A journal invites your creative thinking and experimentation without judgment.
Journals are a special space to organize your ideas and brainstorm your plans, make lists, and share dreams.
Of course, it's never too late for you (adults) to start journaling either!
Even if you didn't develop the habit as a child, there are numerous benefits to starting a journaling practice as an adult.
In fact, journaling is increasingly being used as a tool for stress management, with many adults finding that it helps them process their emotions and stay grounded during challenging times.
Starting a journaling practice as an adult can be intimidating, especially if you're not used to putting your thoughts on paper. There are many strategies you could try and one is sure to inspire you. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a way to make journaling work for you. For kids or adults, the benefits of developing a regular journaling practice are many and worthy of the time you devote to it!
Once you get into the habit of journaling, you may find that it becomes an essential part of your self-care routine. Of course, it's important to remember that--just like with introducing journaling to children-- there is no "right" way to journal – everyone's practice will look different based on their needs and preferences.
So why not give it a try?
In fact, why not use journaling as a bonding/screen-free time with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, etc? You might be surprised at how much of a difference it can make in your individual lives and relationships.
Get all your senses involved. Put on some quiet background music or enjoy the sounds of nature. Consider diffusing a citrus or lemongrass essential oil. Gather your art supplies and favorite writing tools and enjoy the shared independent activity!
Want to know more? These two articles are sure to inspire you!