Expressing ideas, emotions, and feeling in a constructive way is therapeutic. Being able to convey these thoughts and feelings in an open and uncensored but safe way is beneficial not only for adults, but for for children too.
Self-expression can help release stress and help build self-awareness and confidence in kids. Research has long supported the idea of helping children to identify emotion and express how they think and feel.
It makes them aware of not only how they feel but also makes them sensitive to the feelings of others. A creative, fun and helpful way to encourage the expression of how your young ones feel is to have them keep a journal. Here are a few ideas to help you and your young one get started!
How to Get Started
To begin, have your child choose a book or journal in which to write. Allow them to pick something that reflects their personal taste or preference. Some may prefer to write on lined pages, while others may like blank paper.
Whether your child wants a classic book with lock and key, or a notebook where artwork, stickers and drawings can be housed, be sure that they love their selection. This will ensure that they will want to write, draw and ultimately express themselves in their new journal.
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The next step would be figuring out what to write. To begin, and taking the child's age into consideration, have them write about their likes and dislikes. Other topics of interest can include hobbies, activities or people they know and their feelings and ideas in regards to these topics.
Older ones may choose to write about music, movies or other things they feel a connection with. The sky is the limit here. Others have found asking a young one to write about their future, to be revealing too.
Once they become used to writing, their creative juices may start to take over and it may become a more natural process. Writing, drawing or other means of expression kept in a journal, will help your child express themselves better outside of this exercise too.
To reap the full benefits of keeping a journal, it is important that your child not feel judged about what is expressed in the pages of the journal. This allows them to be completely honest and be free in their expressions.
If there are things that come up that concern you, talking to your child in a calm and understanding manner will help maintain open lines of communication so that issues and problems can be properly addressed. Your child should feel open to express their true feelings, ideas, thoughts and emotions without being judged in this space.
For a child keeping a journal means having a safe outlet for what is inside them. They can be honest and open. Looking back over what they have written in the past can help them see progress, growth and also where there may be room for improvement.
Encourage your young one, no matter their age, to keep a journal and see the benefits that come from it!