My girlies are growing up fast! In fact, they’re growing much faster than I prefer them to. I’m wondering where the time has gone. Because the years are zipping by so quickly, I want to enjoy the moments we have together. I want to create lasting memories that we’ll look upon with fondness in the decades to come.
One of the ways I have managed to create parent/child memories is by using journals to communicate with my girlies. The concept is simple. Take a single journal and write a note to your child. Have your child write back to you in the same journal. Continue journaling back and forth on a regular basis.
Journaling has become a fun activity here. The girlies and I write notes to one another. We share silly jokes with one another. We ask trivia questions of one another. We share scriptures with one another. We add stickers and stamps to make the other person smile. Journaling is a way for me to create and maintain positive relationships with my children.
Have I piqued your interest? I hope so! If you’re interested in starting a parent/child journal here a few tips to help make your joint journal a success.
Select a journal your child will like. Though you can definitely use the traditional bound composition book for journaling, I recommend choosing an attractive journal your child will be eager to use. Does your child have a favorite color, a favorite sports team, a favorite musician, or favorite cartoon character? If so, purchase a journal that features one of his favorites.
You go first. Initiate the journaling writing process by being the first person to write a dated entry. This is where you tell your daughter why you’re looking forward to journaling with her. Consider asking a question or two to prompt a detailed response from your daughter. At the end of this first entry, ask your child to write back to you.
Keep the journal in the same place. You definitely don’t want a special treasure like this to get lost. I recommend keeping the journal in the same place so that both parent and child know where to find it. After I write to Sweet Pea, I always leave our journal on the desk in her bedroom. After she responds, Sweet Pea leaves the journal on the nightstand beside my bed.
Write regularly. The regular back and forth interaction between parents is what keeps journaling fun and interesting. Writing everyday may not be possible, but consider striving to write 3 times a week. You’ll soon find that journaling has become part of your routine and you’ll be excited to read what your child has written.
Don’t focus on grammar and spelling. Journaling is not meant to be a chore or an additional schooling activity. Your child will make spelling and/or grammatical errors as he writes. Don’t sabotage your efforts at connecting by nitpicking over errors. As your child learns more, those errors will decrease. In subsequent years, I think you’ll both enjoy looking back at some of those funny misspellings! They’ll become precious memories for the future.
Allow your journal to reflect real life. Life is full of ups and downs and so our journal entries often reflect that. We write about the highs, but we’re not afraid to document the lows every now and then. Be sure to use your journal to offer praise to your child for a job well done. Likewise, lovingly encourage your child to do better in an area of struggle. This real life reflection often includes a bit of vulnerability. Ask your child how you can be a better parent. You may get silly suggestions about ice cream for breakfast, but you may also learn that your child wants more one on one time with you or would love get additional hugs. You may never know if you do not ask!
Don’t exclude younger children. Just because children aren’t fluid readers and writers doesn’t mean they can’t share a journal with you. You can interact with them using short sentences and pictures. Younger children will enjoy drawing pictures for you and will look forward to drawings you share in return! Remember when journaling, it’s the interaction that’s most valuable not how perfect the entries are.
Journaling is a fantastic way to connect with a child of almost any age. It’s a great bonding activity you can use to show your child your love in a personal way. You’ve been blessed with wonderful children! Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with them. Document your relationship over the coming years by beginning a parent/child journal today!
© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.