Kids of all ages can participate in journal sharing — but keep it age appropriate. If your kids are too young to read and write, draw pictures for one another, paste in photographs of a family outing or use the journal as a way to introduce reading and writing.
For young kids, use simple words and phrases, and read them aloud together. Sharing a journal with older children or more introverted children is a great way to communicate about topics that your kids may not want to talk about face to face.
Get the journal started by introducing the idea to your children and picking out a journal together. Then initiate the experience by writing a letter, jotting down a brief story about an experience or drawing a picture on the first page. Put the journal in a special spot when it’s your child’s turn (such as under her pillow).
When she’s done with her page, she can return it to the special spot for you to find. Decide how often you want to journal (aim for twice a week) and commit to keeping it going together.
If there is something specific you want to address with your child, make your page about the topic and ask questions for her to answer. This can be as simple and fun as writing a note to your child about your favorite part of a recent family vacation and asking him to tell you about his.
You can also use the journal to delve into more complex questions for older children, such as telling them about your career dreams as a child and finding out what they aspire to be. Encourage them to choose topics as well.
Sharing a journal with your child is a special way to communicate and a wonderful memoir to save forever. However, don’t limit conversation to the pages of a spiral notebook.
Encourage fun communication with your kids at the dinner table, while driving in the car… any chance you get! The more you communicate with your child, the stronger bond you will create. As children get older, it’s important for them to know they can always communicate with Mom and Dad about anything… even on paper!
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