Writing a journal is beneficial not only for adults but also for children. A journal can be a powerful way for a child to express emotions, work on writing skills, and be creative. Understanding and encouraging journaling can help your child with emotions and imagination.
What is a Journal?
A personal journal is typically a record of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and reflections on people and places though you can write about anything. The word journal comes from the Anglo-Norman word “jurnal,” meaning daily. You or the kids don’t have to journal every day, however. Every few days, weekly, or even monthly is fine although a regular schedule helps to keep up with the habit.
Different Journal Types
While a journal seems like a simple recording of events and thoughts, kids can use journals for many purposes. These range from the usual journal use to being creative with journaling. Some suggested journal types are:
Children like tracking their dreams in a journal because they often believe dreams give them perceptions about life. To track their dreams, children can be encouraged to write every morning while they still remember the dream. Dreams can certainly provide insight, or they can simply reflect a case of indigestion!
With a sketch journal, a child can express feelings, thoughts, and ideas with illustrations, doodles, or sketches. Sketch journals are usually unlined paper journals, but they can also incorporate digital images, video, and audio in journal apps such as ByteLyfe.
A feelings journal can help a child process emotion. Younger children can draw pictures. Older children can write about their feelings.
Nature journals are a wonderful way to record observations about nature and the environment. Nature journals have created the careers of writers such as Rachel Carson and Beatrix Potter. Children can draw pictures of insects, animals, plants, or birds they see. Observing the beauty around them, they can develop a love of the outdoors and an interest in preserving the environment. A nature journal can even help them develop a career in STEM from what they observe.
A wonderful way for children to remember and learn from their travels is to keep a travel journal. The travel journal can become a scrapbook of mementos. Children can write their thoughts or draw, but they also can attach photos, ticket stubs, and other souvenirs of their travels. With a virtual travel journal, it’s easy to upload pictures of mementos so children can preserve these long after the ephemeral tokens are gone.
Emotional Benefits of Journaling
Journaling offers many benefits for children. If they’re experiencing a tough time, for example, journaling can help them cope. Putting their thoughts on paper or with an online app helps put life in perspective. Journaling can reduce stress and anxiety and help children work through solutions to their problems. Some children don’t feel comfortable talking to others about their experiences, but journaling gives them a voice they may not have otherwise. The process of writing a journal can help children focus their thoughts, allow for emotional self-discovery, get a deeper understanding of their strengths, and figure out how to interact with people or cope with the world.
Journaling and Confidence
Journaling, however, isn’t just about dealing with stress. Children can also find inspiration in journaling. Keeping a journal gives children the emotional space to brainstorm ideas and be imaginative. Sketch journals, for example, give children an ideal space for becoming artists. Likewise, journaling helps children who want to be writers. Writing or sketching in a journal can give children confidence in their talents and help them work on their skills. It also helps students understand themselves, analyze their lives, discover their talents, and keep them motivated to work on their craft in art and writing.
Journaling and Physical Health
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) shows that people who keep a journal are healthier. In the study, people struggling with chronic illness kept a journal and experienced fewer physical symptoms than patients who did not journal. Journaling helped these people have greater emotional resilience, less stress, and better social integration. While children who journal may not be chronically ill, the practice of keeping a journal has clear benefits for physical health.
Educational Benefits of Journaling
Children who maintain a journal improve their writing and communication skills. Writing, like any skill, improves with practice. When children journal every day, they practice their writing and improve their overall communication skills. It can also help children assess their writing and learn to revise their writing processes. Along with stronger writing skills, children learn analytical skills from reflection and viewing situations from different perspectives.
Journaling and Memory
Writing can improve working memory and even help children’s brains develop and function optimally. The simple act of writing something down reinforces memories and strengthens the ability to recall memories, remember the important events of their lives, and appreciate the world where they live.
Journaling, Privacy, and Safety
Children need to feel safe when they journal. Parents should respect their children’s privacy about what they write. However, an online journal is different from a paper journal. Internet safety is a concern, and parents should be aware of what information children are sharing online. Parents should talk with their children about internet safety and what information should remain private. A discussion about not sharing personal information such as phone numbers, email account details, passwords, and school or home information should be essential for children who have access to online journals. With these boundaries, online journaling can be an educational, emotionally rewarding, and safe experience for children.
The ByteLyfe microjournaling app provides an exciting journaling experience for both adults and children. Your or your child’s journal can be almost anything. You can write about your daily activities, feelings, and thoughts as you would in traditional journaling. Then take it to another level with selfies or recordings of sounds like the ocean or a storm. You can even add photos and videos of you and your friends, or your child can record her latest dancing moves. Liven up any memory! It’s a wonderful new way to journal.