Journaling has been a trending topic among adults for a while now, especially thanks to such a rise in mental health awareness and self-care practices. Now, we find ourselves at the beginning of this trend being adapted for children, with the release of many fun, journaling-style activity books – which can only be a good thing! Author and illustrator of Collin’s My Awesome Year series, Kia Marie Hunt, takes us through the benefits of regular journaling for children, as well as giving some helpful hints and tips.
The threefold benefits of journaling
Encouraging children to journal can have a positive impact on many different areas of their life.
Let’s take a look at three key areas:
Children who journal regularly have been shown to advance faster than average when it comes to writing and reading levels, which makes a lot of sense! Writing in a journal naturally enhances a child’s ability to communicate complex ideas with words. The process of reflecting on events and selecting which details to record is also a fantastic skill to develop. Not to mention, the recording of such details that may otherwise be forgotten means that a journal is not just a tool for cognitive development, it’s also a keepsake that can be treasured for years to come!
What makes ‘journaling’ a little different from simply keeping a daily diary is that there’s a lot more creative freedom involved. Journaling allows for the recording of daily events, but children can also use their journal to express imaginative ideas, inventions, and dreams through various art forms. A journal isn’t just for writing, it can be a sketchbook, a photo album, a scrapbook, a story book, and a canvas all rolled into one!
Alongside providing a space for artistic expression, journaling is also a great way for children to process emotions. They can reflect on, highlight and relive ‘positive emotions’ as much as they want, as well as being able to safely vent ‘negative emotions’ in a cathartic way. Not only is this a healthy way to grow in emotional maturity, it’s also a great way to reduce stress!
Here are a few of my top tips for ensuring that your child can enjoy the threefold benefits of journaling to their fullest:
Make it spontaneous!
Many sources out there recommend setting a specific time for children to journal daily, which could work well if your child enjoys a structured routine, but make sure it doesn’t start to feel enforced. Avoid making journaling feel like homework. If inspiration strikes at random times, let your child embrace the spontaneous urge to create.
Make it fun!
The first rule of journaling is ‘there are no rules!’ Encourage mixing things up and trying new things. This could incorporate diary writing, creative writing prompts, drawing pictures, collecting keepsakes, crafting, collaging, paint and any other kind of freestyle fun!
Make it private!
In order to feel safe to express freely and without repercussions, a child needs to know that their journal is a safe and private space. Just one invasion of privacy is all it takes for the enthusiasm towards journaling to drop, so don’t risk it. There are plenty of ways to make this a sociable activity though – you could experiment with new techniques together, show your child your journal, maybe even create a journal spread together about an event or experience you shared.
The My Awesome Year books are a great gateway into journaling thanks to the way they combine an ‘activity book feel’ that children are more accustomed to with questions and prompts that develop the skills needed for journaling. As well as fun activity prompts and ideas, these books are also bursting with fill-in areas for reflecting, writing, drawing, and even sticking in photos. A blank journal might be a daunting place to start for a child that’s never tried it before, but after having so much fun filling in their awesome year, they’ll be overflowing with ideas for their next journaling project!
About the author
Kia Marie Hunt is an author, illustrator, and lifelong journal enthusiast who believes in the power of journaling for everyone, young and old. As well as creating the My Awesome Year series with Collins, Kia also shares her own journal art via Instagram @kia.creates , runs an Instagram journaling community @InspiringJournals , and has just launched a brand new podcast all about journaling, called The Journal Club.
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