Journaling encourages your child to grow while discovering open-ended writing. Instead of writing one assignment and being done, journal writing allows your child to write daily (or more!).
Not only can it be enjoyable and reflective, journaling also has multiple benefits related to literacy and social growth. Plus, you might just spark a fire in your budding writer!
Here are three great benefits of journaling, including tips for your child's further development.
1. Help Your Child Deal With Big Feelings
Remember that journal you had when you were a tween? The padded one with a kitten on the front that came with a lock? It also had a special key that you hid under your mattress.
The tween years can be filled with lots of emotions and new experiences. A private journal can be a safe place to record those new and brewing feelings. Many kids feel better when they can express their ideas and thoughts in a safe non-judgmental place. A private journal can help your child process her feelings.
Tip: Let your child pick out her very own journal. Plan a special outing to a bookstore that carries journals. Have your child select a journal that feels special to her. Explain that it will be a place for her to record her thoughts and also keep them private.
2. Improve Your Child's Writing Skills
Journaling builds writing skills. Just like basketball players, painters, and guitarists, the more we practice the better we get. Spelling, sentence structure, vocabulary, and grammar can all be enhanced through a regular writing habit.
Writing in journals allows your child to feel in control of the content he chooses to write about and the length of his writing pieces. This control and choice make writing more appealing to your child.
Tip: A curiosity journal is an interesting place for kids to record their observations and wonderings. The journal can be a simple notebook or a journal with blank pages. You child can keep his journal with him when setting out on an adventure — whether it's the backyard or a trip to a museum.
Have your child jot down things that interest him, or questions he has about his experiences. He can also fill the journal with drawings and sketches. Encourage him to label his drawings too.
3. Enhance Your Child's Communication Skills
Journaling helps communicate ideas through writing. Sometimes kids find it easier to express themselves through writing versus oral communication. And, developing written communication skills will be an asset as your child moves forward.
Children have to draw from their vocabulary bank to select precise words to communicate their thinking. Plus, they practice handwriting skills.
Tip: Try a dialogue journal. Have your child decorate a blank notebook with stickers or pictures from magazines. Take turns writing back and forth in the journal notebook with her. (Note: For those of you with crafty children, find out how to create a homemade journal from recycled materials.)
Begin by jotting a note to your child and ask her a question. These can be as simple as, “What do you want to do tomorrow?” or more personal such as, “When was a time you felt scared?” Then allow her to respond in writing. She can respond to your question, share her thoughts, or ask you a question. Have her leave the journal on the counter and tell her you'll respond the next day.
Journaling is full of academic and emotional growth opportunities for your children. So, grab a journal and introduce them to this new tool. Soon enough, they'll be writing volumes!
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