- 3 mins
The Benefits of Journaling for Parents and Kids
Everyone experiences big emotions regularly, regardless of their age. As adults, we’ve (hopefully) learned how to properly process these emotions and proactively manage them. For our kids, though, big feelings are a whole new world and experience that they’ll need some guidance to navigate through.
Our children won’t necessarily grasp how to openly talk with their caregivers about what’s troubling them or even about the positives that are happening in their lives. This is why it’s important to give them a judgment-free space for them to explore their emotions through whatever medium works best for them.
One of my favorite mediums for expressing and grasping emotions is journaling.
Benefits of journaling
When used effectively, journaling is a great tool for kids and adults to better understand and cope with their emotions, because:
- The emotional release received during and after expression can lower feelings of anxiety and stress
- The release of anxiety and stress through journaling can make it easier to fall asleep and can increase the chances of a great sleep
- When written down, the extreme emotional reaction to an experience can seem less than how it initially felt, which allows you to have a more unbiased view
Outside of emotional benefits, journaling also helps kids with communication and writing skills which can help them academically in school.
How to help your kids start journaling
Even though there are obvious benefits to journaling, we can’t expect our kids to pick up a blank sheet of paper and get started on their own. So, why not try journaling with them?
Sharing a journal with your kids is deeply rooted in connection and can help you both grow closer. Writing back and forth, either with an open invitation or through prompted questions, can also be fun! As you both get into the habit, they’ll feel more comfortable and open up more and more. The key to this, though, is to ensure the shared journal remains a safe space – free of judgment. The last thing you want is your child to feel worried about their feelings being hurt. Or worse, to be made to feel like their emotions are wrong.
Allow them to express their feelings within the journal through whichever means works for them. This means that doodling isn’t off-limits! To keep them invested, the activity has to be focused on them and their needs. If they find it boring, then they’re less likely to do it.
It’s important to not force them to respond in a timely manner, either. Sharing a journal shouldn’t be a power struggle. It should be a fun, and open way to connect with your child. Gentle reminders are okay but don’t give them a deadline. You’ll know it’s your turn to add to the journal once it’s given back to you.