Journaling is a great way to help children record their thoughts and feelings. It allows kids to explore their interests and express themselves, especially if they’re reluctant to write or talk. Insider.com adds that writing a journal can also yield numerous mental health benefits — such as calming anxiety and coping with trauma — by using writing to help you unravel and confront fears that cause negative feelings. This is true for children, too, especially if they struggle to articulate their emotions.
If you want to nurture a habit of journaling among children, here are some tips that can help.
Create a conducive working area
An uncomfortable space might distract kids, breaking their focus and leading to an unpleasant time that puts them off journaling. Since you want to foster interest in the hobby, you must provide an area conducive to working.
One of the best ways to do this is by making the space comfortable. PainFreeWorking.com finds that using ergonomic chairs can encourage proper posture, reduce pain, promote productivity, and enhance one’s overall health and wellness. To put your kid in the right mood to journal, you can also consider having them work in spaces full of natural light while their favorite music plays. Indoor plants can also enhance their concentration: WebMD.com notes they’re proven to help children perform better in class. A comfortable environment like this makes children feel relaxed, so they look forward to each writing session.
Provide loose prompts
Since children may have little prior experience journaling, they might approach the activity in a one-dimensional or limited way. One way to stimulate their minds is by providing loose prompts that allow their thoughts to get rolling. By providing writing ideas, you teach kids to expand their minds and challenge what they think should or shouldn’t be done when journaling.
Find prompts that interest the kids you’re working with and ensure that it’s loose enough to yield creative answers. These could be questions like, “If I had a superpower, it would be…” or “If I could spend time with anyone in history, I would choose…”. The key is leaving space for kids to interpret the prompt. By fostering engaging journaling sessions, you nurture their interest in the activity. If you’re wondering how to get started, our team at ImagineProject.org provides journals that you easily download for your kids to use. These are specially designed to foster creativity by providing prompts that encourage kids to have free reign over their imagination.
Allow children to have creative control
To foster excitement for journaling, allow kids to have creative control over what they do with your prompts. Although writing is an excellent way to express oneself, some children may prefer to draw or articulate their thoughts in another way. Encouraging them to do so can be empowering since it allows them freedom over their decisions.
Try this with your own kids by letting them choose the notebook and writing implements they use. Equip them with crayons and other coloring materials, as well. You can also have them decorate their stickers to maximize their enjoyment. Doing this helps them feel they have control over how they express themselves.
Give children privacy
One of the most important ways to encourage journaling is by reassuring kids that they can maintain their privacy. Some children may have trouble opening up or expressing themselves, and placing their thoughts somewhere others can see may make them feel vulnerable. VeryWellFamily.com thus points out that kids can only use journaling as an effective outlet when they feel secure in the fact that their journals are only for their eyes.
Allow children to choose where they hide their journals. If you need to keep it with you, reassure them you will not invade their privacy and stick to that promise. Most importantly, don’t peek into their journals — even if you’re tempted to. If they feel safe journaling, they’re more likely to take comfort in it.
Journaling helps children process their emotions and thoughts. By doing what you can encourage the habit, they can develop healthy ways to understand and express themselves. You can get started right away by going to TheImagineProject.org and downloading a journal for your child.
Article written by Renee Jessa exclusively for The Imagine Project, Inc.
Thank you Renee! Happy journaling,