By Mayra Lopez, Registered Marriage Family Therapist Intern
Child Guidance Center’s Mayra Lopez, registered marriage family therapist intern, talks about encouraging children to journal. This is the third article in a three-part series.
After a busy day of school, children rarely have time to be reflective. Homework, social media, television and after-school activities grab their attention up until bed time. Journaling is a great way to end a busy day by encouraging children to reflect, develop their own identity, nurture their creativity, and build communication and writing skills.
As a parent, you can encourage journaling by reserving 15-30 minutes before bed time for children to write their thoughts, depending upon their age. While some children will want to keep a diary of their day, others may be more inspired by writing about a particular topic. You can provide a prompt to help stimulate creative juices. Here are a few suggestions:
- A person that I admire.
- My favorite vacation.
- You won’t believe what my pet did.
- My greatest strength.
- What I think about to make myself feel confident.
- A story about my (grandparents, parents) when they were growing up.
- A letter to myself on the day I graduate high school.
To make journaling time extra special, invest in a sturdy notebook or diary. Children who prefer using a laptop for their writing should be taught how to keep entries in a special file. You may also consider password protecting their work.
Although you can ask if children want to share their entries with you, it’s not essential. Or, you can simply ask them to share a paragraph that they are proud of writing. Most important is that they are taking some quiet time for reflection and self-expression. For many, journaling will become a healthy and much-loved activity they continue into adulthood.