This Benefits to Kids Keeping Journals post was created by Carrie Anne Badov from EverythingMom.com.
Over the summer the kids have enjoyed their letter-writing project. As they receive replies I hope they continue writing throughout the year. Unlike letter writing, journals aren’t reliant on a recipient and can contain ideas and thoughts that your child doesn’t necessarily want to share with anyone.
Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador Valerie Deneen from Inner Child Fun wrote a great post on creating a color journal, but I’m looking at more of a traditional “what has happened to me today” type journal. A Dear Diary.
Forget the stereotype that a journal is just a place for the love-struck preteen to keep her thoughts, there are many benefits to having the kids create a personal journal:
Fine Motor Skills
I guess this is the most obvious benefit. Whether it’s drawing a picture or writing words, the act of holding a writing instrument and recreating a thought takes skill that can only be obtained through practice. Journaling also helps with formatting thoughts onto paper, either in the structure of words and sentences or the elements shared in a picture.
Finding activities that siblings of varying ages and skills can do together can sometimes be a challenge. Like letter writing, journaling is something all kids can get into. Whether your child is just learning to form letters or she is comfortable with writing pages in cursive, a journal can still work. Melissa & Doug Storytelling Paper is perfect for younger kids, giving them guidelines to print their thoughts and a blank space to draw. They can choose to write and draw or just do one task, depending on the day.
You can use notebooks, journals or Melissa & Doug Storytelling Paper as the basis of your child’s journal or he can customize his own. Give the kids a choice of paper types and let them choose what today’s entry will be. They can use a blank page for a picture of their walk in the park, a lined page for a written description of their day at school or even graph paper to outline their boat design idea after a visit to the museum. You can even get creative with the tools used, such as coloured pens, stickers or even the Melissa & Doug Alphabet Stamp Set (we loved using them to make secret codes this summer). Make sure to date each page and insert them into a folder or binder in chronological order.
Capture a Moment
The kids will probably remember the big events like their birthday party or a family trip, but the every day feelings and encounters are just as important. Getting the kids to take a moment to reflect on the day, what they did, what sticks out in their mind, how they felt, it can all be captured and recorded on a page in their journal. Tomorrow they might not remember how amazed they were to hear the sound of the wind through the trees but their journal will remember for them.
If you ever kept a diary when you were younger you probably know how great it was as an outlet for sharing your feelings, even the ones you didn’t really want to share with others. Young kids have to deal with varied emotions. A journal is a great way to explore those feelings, record them, and look back on them (when they’re older). They can share how scared they were when the power went out or how sad they felt when their friend played with someone else. Life is full of varied emotions and kids should understand it’s okay to feel them. A journal is non judgmental.
You can add journal writing as part of your homework schedule, fit it into your daily evening routine as a way of remembering the day or if space allows set-up a journal station providing the materials for your child to use when the mood strikes. Not only will they be working on building key development skills but also they’ll have a little piece of themselves preserved for all time.
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