Everyone needs a little privacy ¿ especially for thoughts and dreams! A diary with a lock and key gives kids and teens a place to write out their thoughts while still providing some protection on their personal thoughts.
The Benefits of Journaling
The research is clear ¿ journaling benefits kids in their emotional development. It encourages a love of writing but also increases kids' awareness of their own emotions and how they process their feelings. You may even find that kids have an easier time explaining their feelings to you after they get into the habit of journaling regularly.
There are other benefits to journaling that are quite important:
Journaling can improve recall and memory retention.
Lower stress levels can result from regular journaling.
Journaling can increase goal-setting and personal reflection.
Writing about feelings helps kids deal with those feelings.
Should You Read Your Child's Diary?
The answer to this question depends largely on how you want your child to use the journal. Do you want them to feel confident that they can express their feelings ¿ some of which might be tough for them to process ¿ in the journal? If they discover you've been snooping in their private diary, they'll likely hold back on writing about anything private and lose some of the important benefits of journaling in the process.
If you just can't help yourself and need to read their diary, consider starting a dual journal with your child.
Start & Maintain a Dual Journal
Buy a journal that you'll share. Start by writing a question and leaving the journal in a shared spot where your kid can pick up the journal and start writing a response. Then it's their turn to leave a question for you.
What types of questions should you ask? Stay away from "yes and no" questions and try to ask things that will prompt a thoughtful response. Here are some examples:
"What was the best thing that happened to you today?"
"What makes you nervous?"
"What do I do that makes you feel loved?"
After your child responds, it's their turn to ask you a question. Set ample time aside to respond and give your writing as much effort as you want your child to give in their writing.
You may find that youstart to experience some of the benefits of journaling as you write the dual journal with your child!