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Teach Your Child How to Keep a Journal

Journal writing is not only a good way to help your children with their writing ability but it is also a healing tool. Psychologists and therapists have used journal writing for many years to help those going through difficult situations to write down their personal issues and their feelings. They have found that this helps to clear out the negative feelings in individuals who have been abused, freeing themselves from the emotions that can cause personal abuse in the future.

Teaching children early on how to keep a journal will give them a great tool to use should unforeseen circumstances happen in their lives, or throughout their teen years when things become more confusing everyday.

Preschool
Many preschoolers don’t know how to write anything more then their names, so to get them involved in writing a journal have them draw pictures about their day instead of writing about it.

Get a spiral, or other type of journal book, and have them write in it nightly. Say, just before they brush their teeth for bed, you can have them sit down at the table and draw a picture about their day. Encourage them to write about their feelings as well. Therefore, if they went to the park that day, have them draw a picture of a swing and slide and a picture of how going to the park made them feel on the bottom of the page. Most children will feel happy about this so they could simply draw a smiley face.

Let them know they don’t have to be an artist, no need to get them frustrated over the pictures, just draw it how they see it.

Main points to address:

  • Have a consistent time of the day to write in their journals, make it daily or at the very least weekly.
  • Have them draw pictures about their day instead of writing about it.
  • Make sure they draw a face of how they feel as well as what they did.
  • Try to encourage them to draw as they see things, don’t worry about the way they draw.

Grades K-3rd
Once children learn to write, it’s time for them to add writing to their drawings in their journal books. Have your children write at least one line of text, to accompany their pictures. It’s okay to allow them to continue to draw pictures just so they write about their day as well.

This is a good age to begin to introduce journal topics. Journal topics can include everything from “What is your favorite thing to do? Eto “What would happen if everyone lived in space? EJournal topics can be anything that you can think of that will prompt children to write about something to expand their thought processes. Here are a variety of other topics you can have your children write about: http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/prompts.html

This is a good age group to give your children the option to keep their journal private or to share their journal with their family. Understand if they feel they would rather keep it private; in addition show excitement or interest if they would like to share their journal with their family.

Main points to address:

  • Have them add a line of text to their picture journal entries.
  • Begin Journal Topics, this will expand their thought process and writing process.
  • Allow them to keep their journals private or give them the opportunity to share that with the family.

Grades 4th-6th
Once children reach the middle of elementary school, they are more inclined to write about deeper issues and keep the content of their journal private. Be understanding to your child if this is the case, and do not pry. It’s very important that children feel they can trust their parents to not invade their personal belongings.

It is a good time to have you children provide a more detailed journal, this can include goal writing, plans, detailed thoughts and feelings, things to do, and additional writing prompts. Encourage them to write in their journal more often, presumably right before they go to bed. This is really the best time for children to write a journal, they feel more inclined to be honest and write without worry of someone looking over their shoulder.

Main points to address:

  • Have them keep more detailed journals.
  • Expand Journal Topics.
  • Encourage them to write in their journal more often.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

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