1. Make the Journaling Tools Easily Accessible
Take the kids on a fun shopping trip and let them pick out a journal that speaks to them. (Have them take a look at this one: Journal in a Box Kid’s Original Edition.) One that looks fun and inviting and is special to them will be more likely to actually be used. When you come home, put their special books and the writing tools (pens, pencils, crayons, markers, etc.) in an easily accessible place so that they can be used whenever inspiration strikes.
2. Let Them Draw & Doodle
Encourage your kids to not only write, but draw and even doodle in the pages of their journals. Drawing often sparks creativity (in young and old alike – so don’t be afraid to use this tip in your own journaling efforts.) Plus, if your kids are not yet writing, they can still have their own journal full of drawings and doodles. It’s a good way to get them into the habit.
3. Don’t Edit Their Work
Resist all urges to use this as a “writing class” tool. A personal journal is for personal reflection, creativity and enjoyment. When too many rules are imposed, it loses its natural appeal. (As above – don’t be afraid to use this tip in your own journal writing efforts. Resist the urge to edit your own journal.)
4. Make Reading Rules (And Stick To Them!)
Despite the above warning against rules, there is one rule that ought to be set when it comes to journaling. NO ONE is allowed to read anyone else’s personal journal. Ever. Unless asked. If it makes your child feel more comfortable, you can even write this rule down so that it becomes more official to both of you. Something like – “I promise to never read a journal entry in anyone else’s journal unless I am asked to do so.” And then you can both sign it. (Or your child can draw a picture of themselves or make an X if they are not yet writing.)
5. Write With Them and Make It a Priority
Kids aren’t inclined to think of anything as a priority in their lives if you don’t make it a priority, too. Like brushing your teeth, or eating healthy foods, your kids watch what you do and prioritize accordingly. Make journal writing a regular part of the routines in your house and take the time to sit next to them and write and they will soon see that you think of this as an important and valuable activity.