A question I often get from parents is, "Daily journaling is a great idea, and I can see how it could benefit my child. But I can’t even get them to brush their teeth every day, how do I help them get started with this daily journaling habit?”
Like all great questions, there’s no simple answer. Every child is different, every parent is different, and every family situation is different.
With that said, there are general principles that seem to work well for kids. Here are three simple ideas that you might find helpful.
- Make it easy and fun...with guided prompts.
There are different journals available, and one can even use a blank piece of paper, with no prompt. I don’t recommend using this approach for kids, as anyone who tried to write knows what a daunting task it is.
You can use journals with a generic prompt such as, ”Today, I am grateful for…” This might work for some kids, for a little while, but based on what I have seen over the years, that’s not enough. Kids need something with more guidance, especially in the beginning. That's why all our journals have guided prompts that change every day...to make it easy and fun.
- Do it EVERY day.
The key to success here is to do it every day. Yes, that includes weekends and vacations come rain or shine. It’s essential journaling becomes a daily practice. In fact, the words “journal” is derived from the French word, “jour,” which means “day”.
What this means is...don’t worry about how much time kids spend journaling. If it’s five minutes, great. If it’s thirty seconds, that’s great too. Building the habit (the process) is what's important, not the outcome.
There will be days they write a lot because there are things inside of them that want to come out, and some days, they might only write two words. That’s all perfectly okay as long as they do it every day, mission accomplished.
- Set up a routine.
For the first few days, many parents found it useful to do the daily journal together with their kids, to encourage, support, as well as answer any questions kids might have.
I highly recommend parents incorporate the “daily journal” into their kids’ bedtime routine. They know it’s the end of their day — wind down, reflect on the day a bit and go to bed.
If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. In this day and age, children crave simple, laid-back, and quality time with their parents. This is a great way to spend a few moments together, in a relaxed manner, as a family.
So, there you go. A few simple tips that seem to work really well for many parents and their children. Thank you.