Parents of younger school-age children will remember the first time their child said, “I want to write about that… ” Especially when children are first learning how to read and write and string sentences together, they start to show more and more curiosity about writing something of their own. A fun way to help children explore their desire to write is to teach them about journaling, or as it was called when we adults were younger, keeping a diary.
Journaling can be a fun way to increase literacy and a love for words, for both girls and boys, and is a pretty easy hobby to work into your child’s schedule, whether as a daily, weekly or bi-weekly activity. All you need is a good writing journal, age-appropriate pens or pencils, some cool erasers (kids love these, and they will need to erase from time to time), and a comfortable writing surface.
Many children, girls in particular, like to have journals with designs – flowers, princesses, or cute animals on them. If they have a writing journal they think is pretty and that they can get excited about, it will make them that much more excited about writing. Embossed journals with a little texture and rich colors are also nice.
The important thing about journal writing for children is that they feel free to write about whatever topic interests them. For many children, this may be as simple as writing about what they did at school on a particular day, or even writing about a dream they had, or a fun activity they enjoyed with their family. In many cases, once children discover the joys of writing out their thoughts and ideas, they will likely want to stick with it. Many parents find that children who have an active journal writing life, tend to also be more expressive when writing book reports and doing other school projects.
Another important writing tool for journaling is the right pen or pencil. Younger children who often make mistakes should use a pencil. However, given that journaling should be a fun hobby and shouldn’t seem like ‘schoolwork’, children often get a big kick out of being allowed to write in pen (especially if they always use pencil in school). Whether scented pen, pens with neon colors, gel pens or even erasable pens, each child should have a writing instrument that is comfortable for them and that they like.
Lastly, journal writing should be done in a comfy spot with good lighting. Some children are most comfortable sitting at a desk, while others might prefer sitting on the couch or in a lounge chair, with a lap desk or other portable writing surface on their lap. Either way, the important thing is for the writing process to be comfortable for them, so they’ll stick with it and see how rewarding journal writing can be.