Journaling is a great way to help kids sort out all of the feelings they have when someone they love deploys. The benefits of journaling are numerous. Not only do journals give children a place to write down and consider their thoughts and feelings but journals are private, they do not judge or criticize, they don’t talk back or tease, they keep a record of events and progress, and they can be used anytime of the day or night. Rachel Robertson, author of Deployment Journal for Kids, offers these tips for parents to help their kids get started with a journal:
Get a book with blank pages or simply staple blank paper together.
- Buy special crayons or markers just for the journal.
- Decorate the cover (have your child help).
- Have your child draw pictures and tell you about them. Write down their words.
- Buy them their own, private journal.
- Buy special pencils or pens for writing and decorating.
- Encourage your child to write in the journal daily or when they have strong feelings, both happy and sad.
- Respect your child’s privacy and read the journal only with their permission (if you are uncomfortable with this let them know you will be reading it).
- Include a scrap-booking element in their journal using pictures and stickers.
- Encourage your child to write down any questions they have. Make sure you help them find the answers.
- Give them focused categories or questions to write about, such as “What makes you sad?” “When do you feel proud?” “What is your favorite outside activity?”
- Let them pick out a personal, private journal.
- Encourage your teen to write in the journal daily or when they have strong feelings, both happy and sad.
- Respect your teen’s privacy and read the journal only with their permission.
- Encourage them to keep a record of daily events, accomplishments and celebrations in their journal.
- Encourage your teen to include art such as drawings, poetry or songs.
- Include a scrap-booking element in the journal.
- Remind them that spelling, punctuation and grammar does not matter.
- Give them focus only if they ask for it.Teens should be able to journal creatively following the flow of their thinking.