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Must-have skill for children #9: journaling
Children can have a hard time putting their thoughts to words, and this can get even trickier as they experience new things as a teenager. However, there is a great method for building up their communication skills and helping them understand themselves. That method is journaling daily, which can contribute to your child’s academic and personal growth! The benefits make it more than just a hobby—it’s a lifelong skill your child must-have.
Journaling isn’t to be confused with a diary, which is more about documenting days and specific events. A journal is about exploring thoughts, ideas, emotions. Both can be great for your child to keep, but journaling daily can specifically boost your child’s life in two major ways:
Greater Performance and Results
Director Julia of the JEI Learning Center in Livingston says, “Clear writing is clear thinking, so the better they can express themselves, the better they can share their ideas, opinions, and arguments. Good writing skills leave a lasting impact on children’s self-learning, school performance, and career.” A couple of experiments have proven just that. "The University of Toronto asked students to reflect on their past, discover what motivates them, and envision the future through writing. As a result, the number of dropouts at the school went down while the number of goals students reached went up.
In another experiment, senior engineers who had been laid off formed an expressive writing group, which was tasked with writing about their feelings on losing their job and looking for a new one in a journal. They wrote 20 minutes daily for five days. After three months, more than 26% of the writing group and less than 5% of the control group engineers who did not journal were employed full-time. After eight months, the numbers increased to more than 52% and less than 19% respectively.
These experiments prove that expressive writing can improve the quality of life and likelihood of success! Therefore, your child should organize their thoughts and visualize a course of action through the daily practice of journaling.
Improved Mental and Physical Health
Journaling daily is also a way to relieve stress. Because the senior engineers in the previous experiment did this, they gained clarity and applied to jobs more effectively. It is important to give your child some quiet time to write so they can understand and validate their feelings. Then, your child can grow and move on from negative feelings as well as take notice of and appreciate positive ones.
Better mental health also results in better physical health. Psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker asked patients to write for 20 minutes for three days about their stress. Four months later, 47% of them saw health improvements as opposed to only 24% of those in the control group, who wrote about their day like a diary.
Pennebaker saw that journaling helped reduce and manage stress, which then helped the physical body heal faster and work better. School can be a very stressful time for your child, which can result in lethargy, digestive problems, headaches, and other ailments. An outlet like a journal can help them stay mentally and physically healthy by keeping them company and soothing them everyday!
Now that you are aware of the benefits, you can try to encourage journaling by adding it to your child’s daily routine. They can write “morning pages,” meaning that one of the first things they do in their day is write out all their thoughts, or they can keep a journal by their bed as part of their nighttime routine. Buy your kid some fun notebooks and pens to up their excitement! Also, assure them that this is their private journal, so no one else will read their entries.
Prompts are a great way to start the thinking process, so your child can try these:
1). What is one area of your life that you would like to improve in?
2). Why is personal growth so important to you?
3). What is one way you have grown over the past year, and how did you accomplish this?
4). What are 10 things that make you happy, and how can you experience these moments more
5). Imagine that you are talking to your younger self. What recent accomplishment would make your
younger self the most proud?
Introspection is incredibly important for success, so start your child on this path of self-discovery as early as possible. Encourage your child to use their journaling skill daily so they can learn about themselves and fly toward a brighter future. For even greater results and for more goal orientation, pair journaling daily with creating a vision board, then watch your child shine!
To further improve your child’s journaling experience, they can practice writing vividly through our Common Core-aligned JEI Reading & Writing and JEI English programs. Contact your local JEI Learning Center today to learn more!