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Collection: Help Your Child Start a Journaling Habit That Lasts a Lifetime

Creating a journaling habit with your child today will drive motivation and creativity that lasts a lifetime. Find out how to get started!

Do you want to start a journaling habit with your kids? Like most adults, you probably remember jotting down your thoughts in a diary as a child. But as you got older, that diary started to collect dust. Maybe you even lost the key. What you may not have realized at the moment was that writing down your thoughts, no matter how mundane it seemed at the time, was quite therapeutic.

Journaling takes your preteen diary to the next level. Our Doodle Hog journals provide thought-provoking prompts and plenty of freedom to freestyle. Curious about how to start journaling for beginners? Keep reading to discover how you can instill the value of journaling with your kids.

How Do You Start a Journal for Kids?

Sunshine Journal

First things first—you need a journal. The best way to get your child excited about journaling is to give them one of their own. And no, it doesn't have to be anything super expensive or flashy. Just look for something that reflects their unique personality. Having a journal with their name on it will make your child more likely to open it and start writing. Here are some types of journals you may consider for your kid:

You don't have to settle on a single type. You can always incorporate different styles into a single journal. Many parents begin with a daily prompt and let their children choose other directions to take their writing.

Many kids love journaling because it’s something completely new and different to them. Instead of introducing it as a "writing tool" (which it totally is), tell them it's a brand-new, innovative game. Offer stickers, treats, or other rewards for daily entries, and get excited every time your child shares what they wrote. You could even download a journal habit tracker app to help incentivize their new hobby further.

How often should your kid journal? Every day is the ultimate goal. Most children enjoy daily prompts, but others lose interest. A good rule of thumb is to encourage your child to write as frequently as they desire. To make journaling a habit, schedule a few minutes each day just for writing and reflecting. The more your child gets accustomed to jotting down their thoughts, the more they will learn to enjoy the process. Before you know it, your child will look forward to their daily journaling sessions!

What Are Some Good Journal Topics?

Journal drawing

Now that you have a journal in hand, it's time to start writing. What do you write in a kid's journal? Pretty much anything goes, but these daily journaling prompts are an excellent place to begin: 

  •       Describe the happiest day of your life.
  •       What animal do you want to trade places with for a day?
  •       What makes you laugh the most?
  •       What valuable lesson did you learn today?
  •       List 10 words that describe you.
  •       Which superhero power is the coolest?
  •       Why did you smile today?
  •       Tell me a story.

As you can see, you should encourage your child to write about anything. If they don't respond positively to a particular prompt, let them express their disdain. Life isn't always happy, and journaling gives kids a way to express their true emotions in a safe, non-judgmental way.

Girls Journaling

How Do You Make Journaling Fun for Kids?

Let's face it—if a child doesn't enjoy doing something, they'll find a way to avoid it. That's why it's so challenging to get kids to clean their room or eat their broccoli. BUT, if you can find a way to make a project seem fun and exciting, they'll keep at it for the long run. It's possible to get your kid to develop a lifelong journaling habit just by making it fun. 

That sounds easy enough. But you're probably wondering, "How can I help my child enjoy writing?" Some kids struggle with writing—they may even claim to hate it. Others would rather spend their free time doodling pictures instead of constructing sentences. What can you do to help? Try these tips:

1. Choose Their OWN Adventure!
The goal of raising kids is to prepare them for the real world. To do this, you need to start giving them some freedom now. Instead of telling your child how to write in their journal, let them develop daily journaling ideas independently. Maybe your child will discover a passion for writing fiction, or perhaps they will find joy in writing down their goals and dreams.

Encourage your child no matter which direction they take their journal. Give them enough space to be creative, but offer them guidance when needed. Journaling is about self-expression. It boosts confidence and enhances self-esteem. And when done habitually, it also teaches responsibility.

2. Stock Up on Office Supplies
Kids love bright, colorful, sparkly office supplies. Stocking up on gel pens, markers, and colored pencils is a great way to boost creativity. Let your child pick out a "special" pen they can only use while journaling. They'll look forward to journaling sessions knowing they get to play with their colorful supplies.

And the fun doesn't have to stop with ink! Consider rewarding your child's journaling skills with stickers or stamps. Put all the supplies in a journaling box and only pull it out to write. Having designated journaling supplies will make writing seem like a fun game instead of a chore. 

3. Get a Little Messy
All kids develop their own journaling styles. Some prefer to write between the lines, but others get a bit messy. And guess what? Both types are acceptable! Instead of furrowing your brow over some scribble, look at it as art. Kids are inherently creative. Fostering artistic expression will put them on the road to success!

Let your kid write on the lines or in the margin—anywhere they can fit a few more words. Applaud your child if they add pictures. Get excited if they develop characters. Empower them even if they illegibly scrawl their feelings on paper. Journaling doesn't always look pretty, and sometimes the magic happens on the messiest pages.

4. Schedule Time Together
Bonding with your child is one of the best parts of journaling. While you should respect their privacy and give them time alone, it's also essential to schedule time together. Writing alongside your kid will help create healthy journaling habits. It will also become a time to talk, share, and laugh together. And above all, always listen to what your child has to say during your joint journaling sessions.

The more exciting you make journaling, the more likely your child will continue it down the road. And it's alright if they have a bad day here and there—even the best writers need to take a break. Just continue to encourage them to be creative and put whatever they desire on paper.

How Do I Journal with My Child?

Child using her journal

Journaling with your child is an enriching experience. The time you spend together writing is something you both will cherish forever. But it may take a few tries before your child warms up to the idea when you first start.

When writing with your kid, treat them as your equal. Don't tell them what to write, and never criticize how they respond to a prompt. Instead, ask them questions and let them respond freely. If your child seems shy about writing, try drawing or playing a game to boost creativity.

If you have multiple kids, consider journaling as a family. How do you make a family journal? It's pretty easy. First, let everyone pick out a notebook together. Set time each day to sit down and write as a team. A daily journaling template will ensure you don't run out of ideas. In the end, it's the family bonding time that matters, not the prompt.

The Benefits of a Journaling Habit

Writing on the journal

As it turns out, journaling is more than just writing a few sentences each day. Unlike your old diary, a journal not only records events; it also explores ideas. It's a tool that will improve your child's life on both an intellectual and emotional level. Here's how your kid will benefit from keeping a daily journal:

Improves Emotional Awareness

Many children struggle to express how they feel. Some don't understand the differences between sad, angry, mad, or frustrated. Others may have difficulty recognizing social cues. Either way, journaling provides an outlet for kids to explore and identify emotions. They can examine what caused their feelings and learn how to cope with them. 

Promotes Problem-Solving Skills

Believe it or not, journaling can improve your kid's problem-solving skills. Your child can write down the pros and cons of something to determine the best course of action. They can also brainstorm possible outcomes before making a decision. This skill will help your kid make smart choices as they grow older.

Provides a Moment of Clarity

Journaling is a form of self-reflection. It allows your child to figure out why their behavior was either appropriate or inappropriate. Kids can also revisit past entries to learn how they've grown over time.

Improves Oral Skills

Although journaling involves writing, it also promotes better oral communication skills. Being able to write well will give your child an advantage whenever they need to speak to others. They will develop an extensive vocabulary and be able to express their feelings easily. Journaling may even help prepare your child for job interviews or public speaking engagements.

Better Spelling and Grammar

Those who write more frequently tend to excel at spelling and grammar. While you shouldn't hold your kid accountable for every misspelled word or misplaced comma, you should point out some mistakes. Your child will gain a better understanding of sentence structure, paragraphs, and punctuation. 

Reading at a Higher Level

Writing improves reading comprehension. There's a reason teachers assign writing assignments after finishing a book. Children who write more typically read on a higher level than their peers. And you can encourage even more reading by creating writing prompts based on their favorite book series or characters.

Journaling is one of the healthiest habits a child can have. It activates both sides of their brain and enables them to learn at a much faster pace. Even kids with learning differences will benefit tremendously from daily journaling. 

Writing on the journal (2)

Journaling and a Growth Mindset

Writing does more than just improve your child's handwriting skills. It also creates a growth mindset. What is that exactly?

A growth mindset is the opposite of a fixed mindset. Those with a growth mindset believe they can continue developing their talents through learning and effort. A person with a fixed mindset, however, feels talents are innate gifts. They are less likely to try new things or seek out learning opportunities. A growth mindset tends to foster success, but a fixed mindset puts up walls.

What does this have to do with journaling? Mindsets are fluid, and it's possible to change the way you think through activities and interactions. The person who doesn't set goals for themselves may inadvertently develop a fixed mindset. And if they experience a series of setbacks or failures, changing this mindset becomes trickier.

However, it's possible to prepare your child to have a growth mindset from an early age. All children want to learn. Journaling is a great way to activate young brains. The Five-Minute Journal became popular for this very reason. It's a gratitude journal that only takes a few minutes each day to complete. The layout answers the questions, "What do I write in a journal?" Each page features prompts for day and night, including:

Daytime Prompts

  •       I'm grateful for…
  •       What would make today great?
  •       Daily affirmations

Nighttime Prompts

  •       Amazing things that happened today
  •       How could you have made today even better?

While simple, these repetitive journaling techniques really make you think outside the box. And you always know what to expect. Kids thrive on routines, which is one reason why The Five-Minute Journal works well for them. It's also a great option for people of all ages who want to learn how to start journaling for self-improvement.

But journaling is more about feel-good prompts. You can also encourage a growth mindset by writing down goals and ambitions. What does your child want to learn today? Do they have any goals for the week? The goals can be something as simple as making the bed or feeding the dog. Letting your child check off items as they complete them will help develop good habits.

How Do You Start Keeping a Journal?

Journaling doesn't require any special gadgets or training. All you need is time. A few minutes each day is enough to write down your innermost thoughts. Even if you only write a few words, it's better than nothing. Store your journal in an easy-to-access place, like a nightstand, to ensure you never misplace it.

Kids follow by example. If you want your child to take up journaling as a hobby, show them how much you enjoy it. Share entries before bedtime, and encourage an open line of communication. Above all, let your child express themselves however they please, whether through words or art.

Doodle Hog has everything you need to inspire your child during their adventure into journaling. Our products are ideal for writing affirmations or just doodling pictures. No matter how your child decides to express themselves creatively, we can help. Get started with our Doodle Hog journals to empower your child's journaling habit.

Decorating the journal


♥ The Doodle Hog Team

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