What Tweens Learn from Journaling
It's Fun: Your child may resist your suggestion to keep a diary or a journal, but writing down your thoughts can actually be a lot of fun. To encourage your child, go shopping for a diary or a notebook together. Allow your tween to choose one that appeals to her, and then shop for an inexpensive pen to go with it. Remind your tween that journaling isn't at all like writing in school, in fact, children can draw, or doodle instead of writing, if that's what they prefer. If it makes a difference, you can even call it an art journal, instead of a diary.
Other ideas: have your child "interview" family members or friends, writing down their answers in the journal. Or, use the journal to make lists of favorite movies, books, hobbies, quotes, or songs. It's also fun to use a journal to keep track of gifts your child receives for a birthday or for Christmas, or even to track what your child achieved at school or through extra-curricular activities. On days when your child can't think of anything to write, encourage her to write down just one word that describes the day she had, or what she's feeling.
It Helps with Stress: Keeping a journal or a diary can help your child deal with the everyday stress that comes with middle school, friendships, family ordeals, homework and other potentially difficult situations. By writing down his thoughts, your child is actually working through problems, and maybe even blowing off steam. Encourage your tween to journal instead of yelling at a younger sibling, or worrying about whether or not he failed his math test.
It's Creative: Journaling doesn't have to be boring and there's no one right way to do it. Your child can journal, draw, create mixed media art, or use her journal like a scrapbook, keeping movie tickets and notes from friends in it alongside her thoughts and writings. Encourage your tween to be creative with her journal, and she'll look forward to writing in it everyday.
It Helps Problem Solve: If your child is dealing with a problem either at school or home, journaling can help. Encourage her to write down possible solutions to her problem, and then think about whether or not they will work. This simple act can offer your child options she may not have thought of before, and also help her develop her problem solving skills.
It Records Life's Events: Of course, one of the best reasons for keeping a journal or a diary is that they record life's events. The preteen years are a time of growth and change, and by recording special events, your child is making a lasting record of his or her life. When your child is older, he or she will enjoy flipping through old journals and reading the funny entries.
It Develops Reading and Writing Skills: You don't have to share this with your child, but journaling can help your tween develop and hone his or her reading and writing skills. By writing everyday, or several times a week, your tween is developing a story-telling voice, that will improve over time.