How to Journal—
Discover helpful journaling techniques that benefit pre-teens, teens and kids of all ages in a variety of ways.
Getting kids to journal can be the beginning of a wonderful lifetime habit. One of the main benefits of journaling is that it gives preteens a healthy outlet to express what’s in their hearts and what’s on their minds. Indeed, this is the very essence of how to journal… self-expression in a safe environment free of judgment, rules and limitations.
Often, especially when a child reaches their preteen and teenage years, parents are confused by their child’s “strange” behavior. For example, they may not understand why their child is so quiet some times, while other times the child acts out in a variety of ways that are baffling and confusing.
A primary reason (typically) for strange behavior from kids is that they have many feelings and emotions swirling around their minds and in their hearts, yet they do not have healthy outlets for them. This is the root of much preteen and teen “craziness.” It makes matters worse if a child feels like their parents are unrelatable, or that no one — including their friends — really understands them. Even worse is if they have been made to feel as if their feelings and emotions are invalid. This is why learning how to journal is so helpful for them, as it is the best tool for clarifying one’s thoughts and feelings!
Journaling gives preteens a voice. It allows them to have an outlet to express themselves in a way that they can’t with anyone else. Here are some tips on how to journal that may be used by any child of any age, including preteens and teens, to get them on their way to a lifetime of journaling and healthy habits.
How to Journal– Tip #1
Encourage kids to pick a special, sacred place where they can go and spend time by themselves that is peaceful and quiet, and, yes, this means no TV, cellphones or computers!
Finding a special journal keeping space shouldn’t be too hard to do, because most preteens and teenagers crave their privacy; it’s one of the signs that they are trying to become independent. So it will be easy to encourage your child to choose a special quiet place to journal where she can think and clear her mind. The challenge will be to enforce the no technology or distractions in her journal space, but it is essential to do so as this help kids access the creativity that resides within them.
How to Journal– Tip #2
Next encourage your preteen or teen to write whatever is on their mind and remind them that there are no rules to journaling.
Be aware that some kids might show the development of perfectionism and they might try to censor and edit themselves. In order for true journaling to emerge it’s important preteens avoid the path of perfection. Rather, preteens must be encouraged to express what’s really on their minds and in their hearts in a manner that suits their unique personalities and specific life needs. And, if this means journaling with spelling and grammatical errors then so be it!
How to Journal– Tip #3
Finally, encourage kids (of all ages) to dream.
Journals are wonderful avenues to get preteens and teens to investigate their dreams and to explore more about their deepest desires. Again, since many kids in this age group may feel like few people really listen to what they have to say, or understand how they feel, it’s important for them to have a safe outlet to express their true feelings and thoughts. This is one of the greatest benefits of journaling!
And remember this: There have been many careers that have been built upon the dreams that have lived in the minds and hearts of children. The hope is that in time your tween will make her dreams a reality! Certainly, learning how to journal can help her get on her way in doing so.
With these three helpful “how to journal tips” many issues can be resolved when preteens learn how to express exactly what’s on their minds and in their hearts. Now instead of writing in a way that errantly addresses how they think everyone expects them to, they will learn to be real. In fact authentic, proper journaling addresses a child’s true thoughts and feelings, and it is this authenticity that makes it such a powerful tool for personal growth, insight and expansion.
The bottom line is this — there is great value in getting your child to journal. You agree, right? YES. I knew you would!
Until next time, journal on…
Journal Buddies builds writing skills in boys and girls.