Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery Help Young Students Get to Know Themselves
If you were to ask most people how well they know themselves, most of them would probably answer “very well!”. However, as constantly evolving beings, there are always new lessons we can learn about ourselves—and deeper insights we can gain from taking a closer look.
Getting to know yourself is a lifelong process and it’s one that really should be started from a young age. After all, knowing yourself is the root of being able to love yourself for who you are. And a child who loves him or her self will grow to be more self-assured, confident, and well-adjusted as they prepare for the turbulent years ahead.
So, how do you teach kids to get to know themselves—and ultimately, to be proud of the unique people that they are? While there are many ways to do so, we believe journaling is an especially effective way to guide your students through the process of
3 Reason to Use Journaling for Self-Discovery
with Your Students (or C
1. Journaling highlights unique qualities. When students use journal prompts intended to aid in self-discovery, they may learn new things about themselves that they didn’t know before. If you encourage students to share their answers with one another, they’ll also have the chance to see how their answers differ from their peers—and that their preferences are unique.
2. The act of journaling shows kids that their ideas matter. Intentionally or not, kids often receive the message that their ideas are unimportant simply because of their age. However, when you ask kids to write about and reflect on themselves, you put the focus on them and the power into their hands—which shows them that their perspectives have real value.
3. Journaling encourages students to recognize their own thought processes. Regardless of age, sometimes you simply don’t know why you think what you think. However, to truly believe in and love ourselves, we must examine our beliefs and understand where our values come from. Journaling helps students break down this process so that they may know themselves better.
Journaling isn’t a magic wand that will instantly grant kids confidence and self-esteem, but it is an important tool you can use to better their chances of success and improve their self-awareness. Use the prompts below to see what it can do for your students.
31 Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery
to Use in Your Elementary or Middle School Classroom
Whether you’re looking to improve your students’ confidence or trying to teach them about the value of reflective thought, use these 31 journal prompts for self-discovery to guide your students in appreciating and loving themselves for who they are.
- What is your happiest memory? What makes it so special? Write about it with as much detail as you can.
- Who do you look up to? Write about a role model and why you admire him or her.
- What are some of your best qualities? Write about three things you really love about yourself—and don’t be afraid to brag a little!
- Write about a time when you were afraid you wouldn’t be able to do something that someone else wanted you to do. How did that make you feel?
- What is the most important lesson you ever learned?
- How do you know when you’re doing the right thing? What type of feeling do you get?
- What five words would you use to describe yourself to someone new? Describe why you chose these words.
- What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? What makes it so fun?
- Do you consider yourself to be more of a leader or a follower? Why?
- Write about a time when you learned a new skill. Was it difficult? Fun? Describe how you felt.
- Which person in your family are you most similar to? How are the two of you alike?
- What color best represents your personality?
- Write about a time when you were proud of yourself for something you achieved at school.
- What part of the school day is your favorite? What part is your least favorite? Why?
- Imagine yourself five years from now. What part of getting older are you most excited about?
- Do you come from a small family or a big family? What do you like or dislike about your family’s size?
- What is the coolest place in the world that you’ve ever seen? What makes it so special?
- Do you like to daydream? Why or why not?
- Write a poem about your most prized possession. Describe what makes it unique and how you came to own it.
- Write about something that irritates you. Then, reflect on whether or not there is something you could do to make it less annoying!
- Does your family have any special traditions? Use as much detail as you can to describe them!
- Have you ever wished you lived in a different country? Why or why not?
- What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you think you would like about that job?
- If you could travel to space, would you want to go? Why or why not?
- Write about something or someone that always makes you smile.
- If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would you choose to work on?
- From your perspective, what is the most important quality a person can have? Why?
- What is your favorite movie or TV show? Describe what you like about it and how watching it makes you feel.
- Write about a time when you did something that you didn’t really want to do just because it would make someone else happy.
- What is the nicest thing someone else has ever said about you? How did it make you feel to hear them say it?
- If you could give everyone in the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Why?
Until next time, write on…
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Links & Resources
- 26 Writing Prompts About Yourself
- Confidence and Self Esteem Journaling & Prompt Ideas
- Self Discovery Questions
creator and curator
The following article first appeared on Journal Buddies in Sept, 2011 and may be of interest to you today.
Preteen Journaling for Self Discovery
One of the greatest benefits of journal writing is self-discovery. And self-discovery most definitely will have a positive effect on your pre-teen’s confidence and self-esteem. When we write in a journal we are taking a journey into the depths of who we are. Who we are is composed of many different aspects, and it is these aspects that the pre-teen is exposed to through the journaling process.
Part of self-discovery is the identification of our values. Most young people have values of one form or another, but many are not yet crystallized as life guiding principles. For the most part, they know what is good and how to behave. Values, at this young age, are more of what society expects and less of a possession of their own person. Through the journaling process, your preteen gets the opportunity to identify and solidify both cultural and personal values.
Associated with our values is the expression of unformed inner impulses. All young people have unformed impulses. Perhaps your pre-teen has unformed anger impulses.
“Our inner impulses are related to our thoughts, feelings and behavior. If we are thinking we have been offended then we are going to feel anger and will react to that feeling in one way or another.”
The journal can help the pre-teen discover these unformed impulses and explore appropriate ways for their expression. In fact, a favorite journal may even become a place where your child expresses their anger, thus directing it in an appropriate way.
Journal Writing for Self-Discovery
Part of self-discovery is identifying what we are thinking and feeling so that our behavior reflects our values. When your preteen writes their thoughts into their journal they can gain the clarity of what is really going on within themselves and develop means of coping with it.
Another part of self-discovery is the revelation of how we process information. How we process our thoughts will determine how we feel and our behavior.
If we process information in a positive way and with confidence, we will feel good about ourselves and act in an energetic and optimistic manner. The journal affords your pre-teen the opportunity to observe their thought process and identify those areas that can be shaped in a new direction.
Most of us feel better about ourselves when we discover things about ourselves on our own rather than from someone else. All parents know very well how a pre-teen can react when they identify a behavior in their child. However, the response is completely different when a pre-teen discovers their behaviors themselves through the journaling process.
Journal writing shifts the pre-teen to an observer and recorder position, and because they are being objective rather than subjective they can more easily counsel themselves, again through the journaling process, and make changes if necessary.
When your pre-teen has this type of control over their lives they will develop more confidence and this will feed their self-esteem.