My love of writing is what lead me to blogging, but journalling has been a passion of mine ever since I was a little girl. As soon as I learned how to string a few sentences together on my own, I pleaded with my mother to buy me a small sparkly journal, with a lock, and a glitter pen. After some tough negotiating she bought me my first journal, and I was off to the races. Since then I’ve had dozens of notebooks, and I have yet to find a better outlet than with an open book, my favorite pen, and a great cup of coffee. My little sparkle journal ignited a life-long passion for writing, and, now that I have children, it’s something I want to share with them.
There are lots of ways to journal with your kids, no matter what their age, and here are a few of my favorites.
Having the time to journal daily would be fantastic, but, if you’re a busy mom, like me, that may prove difficult. A good way to make sure you journal regularly is to take a few minutes at the end of every month. You can reflect with your kids on what happened that month and work together to tell the story. If your children are very little you can always do the writing and let them have fun with a crayon at the end; however, if your kids are older, let them try writing themselves, and either way, you’ll end up with a great chronicle of your year together as a family. If monthly even seems a bit daunting, you can always employ the same idea on holidays, and create a lovely souvenir of all your celebrations.
I love to open up a blank book, get out their "special" pens, and let each child take a turn at doodling. My children are still very young, and I love the range of drawings that end up in our book. As you flip through pages, you can watch their skills develop and their interests change. I’ve been able to see scribbles turn into dinosaurs, and dinosaurs turn into machines. Going through the pages ends up being a visual time capsule of their little worlds, and a beautiful keepsake.
This is one might be my favorite because it's completely spontaneous. All you need is a designated book, and then, whenever the mood strikes you, take a few minutes to wrangle up your kiddos and jot some things down. A few good conversation starters might be, “What's your favorite book?” “If you could be any animal what would you be?” Or “What did you dream about last night?” If you were my daughter you might rather answer “Who is your favorite princess?” but whatever you talk about have fun with it. Write down their answers, mark the date and have them sign it. Watching their signatures progress from a squiggle to actual letters is one of my most favorite things to see in any journal.
Life today moves quickly. We lead busy lives in a fast-paced world. So often we’re bouncing from work to play dates to work at home, and I love that journaling presses pause to give us the chance to reflect and create. Journaling with my children is something I genuinely look forward to doing. I enjoy the activity, but I also really love the outcome. I can only imagine the gift it will be in twenty years when I’m looking through our old books after milestone birthdays, graduations, and weddings.
Jordan Schupbach of Lattes & Living (www.lattesandliving.com)