How to Journal— Discover helpful journaling techniques that benefit pre-teens, teens, and kids of all ages in a variety of ways.
Getting kids to journal can be the beginning of a wonderful lifetime habit. One of the main benefits of journaling is that it gives preteens a healthy outlet to express what’s in their hearts and what’s on their minds. Indeed, this is the very essence of how to journal… self-expression in a safe environment free of judgment, rules, and limitations.
Often, especially when a child reaches their preteen and teenage years, parents are confused by their child’s “strange” behavior. For example, they may not understand why their child is so quiet sometimes, while other times the child acts out in a variety of ways that are baffling and confusing.
A primary reason (typically) for strange behavior from kids is that they have many feelings and emotions swirling around their minds and in their hearts, yet they do not have healthy outlets for them. This is the root of much preteen and teen “craziness.” It makes matters worse if a child feels like their parents are un-relatable, or that no one — including their friends — really understands them. Even worse is if they have been made to feel as if their feelings and emotions are invalid. This is why learning how to journal is so helpful for them, as it is the best tool for clarifying one’s thoughts and feelings!
36 How to Journal Writing Ideas
As kids learn how to journal, help them get in the habit of journaling by starting them out with some good prompts. We’ve put together a list of some great prompts for kids, preteens, and teens.
- What three or four things are worrying you right now? Write about why they’re worrying you.
- How have you changed in the last year?
- If you could change one thing about the country you live in, what would you change? How would you do it?
- What’s the best song you’ve ever heard? Why do you love it?
- If there was a story written about you, what would it be called? Why?
- What are three things in your life that you just can’t live without? Why did you choose those three things?
- If you could get rid of or change a rule at school or home, what would that be? Why?
- Write about someone you think is a real-life hero. Tell why you believe they are a hero in your eyes.
- Make a list of at least ten things that make you happy.
- When you are sad or angry, what things make you feel better about life?
- What was your favorite thing that happened last week? Describe it and why it’s your favorite.
- Write about 3-5 things that you’re really good at.
- If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you want to go? Why?
- What do you appreciate most about your parents? Write about why you appreciate it.
- Write about one of the most challenging days of your life and how you got through it.
- What’s your favorite activity to do? Why do you enjoy it so much? Who are you doing it with?
- Write about a person you really care about and why they’re so important in your life.
- If you could meet any character from a book or movie, who would it be? Why?
- What things make you feel angry? How do you deal with that?
- Would you like to be famous? Why, or why not?
- If you weren’t scared, what would you do?
- What do you want to be doing a year from now? What about ten years from now?
- If someone gave you $1,000, how would you spend it? Why would you choose to spend it that way?
- Have you ever mistreated someone? Why? What can you do to do better in the future?
- When you become a parent, what things will you do differently from your parents? Why?
- If you could have your own pet, what animal would you choose for a pet? What would you name your pet?
- Do you enjoy spending time with a lot of people, or do you prefer spending time alone? Why do you feel that way?
- Pick someone from history you’d like to talk to. Why did you pick that person? What questions would you ask them?
- If you could take one person with you to travel the world, who would you take along? Why?
- Do you prefer to spend time outdoors or indoors? Why?
- What is your biggest pet peeve? Why do you find it so annoying?
- What kinds of things do you think you might like to do as an adult?
- Would you rather have a job helping people or a job that made you a lot of money?
- If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? How would you use it to save the world?
- What if you could trade places with another person for the day. Who would you trade places with? What would you do for that day?
- Write about the best things about your family.
Journaling gives preteens a voice. It allows them to have an outlet to express themselves in a way that they can’t with anyone else. Here are some tips on how to journal that may be used by any child of any age, including preteens and teens, to get them on their way to a lifetime of journaling and healthy habits.
How to Journal– Tip #1
Encourage kids to pick a special, sacred place where they can go and spend time by themselves that is peaceful and quiet, and, yes, this means no TV, cellphones or computers!
Finding a special journal keeping space shouldn’t be too hard to do because most preteens and teenagers crave their privacy; it’s one of the signs that they are trying to become independent. It will be easy to encourage your child to choose a special quiet place to journal where she can think and clear her mind. The challenge will be to enforce the no technology or distractions in her journal space, but it is essential to do so as this help kids access the creativity that resides within them.
Next, encourage your preteen or teen to write whatever is on their mind and remind them that there are no rules to journaling.
Be aware that some kids might show the development of perfectionism and they might try to censor and edit themselves. In order for true journaling to emerge, it’s important that preteens avoid the path of perfection. Rather, preteens must be encouraged to express what’s really on their minds and in their hearts in a manner that suits their unique personalities and specific life needs. And, if this means journaling with spelling and grammatical errors, then so be it!
Finally, encourage kids (of all ages) to dream.
Journals are wonderful avenues to get preteens and teens to investigate their dreams and to explore more about their deepest desires. Again, since many kids in this age group may feel like few people really listen to what they have to say, or understand how they feel, it’s important for them to have a safe outlet to express their true feelings and thoughts. This is one of the greatest benefits of journaling!
And remember this: There have been many careers that have been built upon the dreams that have lived in the minds and hearts of children. The hope is that in time your tween will make her dreams a reality! Certainly, learning how to journal can help her get on her way in doing so.
With these three helpful “how to journal tips”, many issues can be resolved when preteens learn how to express exactly what’s on their minds and in their hearts. Now instead of writing in a way that errantly addresses how they think everyone expects them to, they will learn to be real. In fact, authentic, proper journaling addresses a child’s true thoughts and feelings, and it is this authenticity that makes it such a powerful tool for personal growth, insight, and expansion.
The bottom line is this — there is great value in getting your child to journal. You agree, right? YES. I knew you would! 🙂
Until next time, journal on…
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2 thoughts on “36 How to Journal Ideas for Kids”
Journal Writing for Kids has a special place in my heart. I was so glad to see this post focusing on tips for teens and preteens and kids of any age on keeping a journal. I love the idea of encouraging kids to dream in their journals, and how sometimes, it can be a catalyst toward their careers! What a fabulous benefit!
I have chosen your post, How to Journal, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day for all things journaling on Twitter on 5/19/11. I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my blog, Refresh with Dawn Herring.
My @JournalChat account on Twitter is for all things journaling.
Thanks again for such a great post on journal writing for kids! A Place for dreaming!
@JournalChat on Twitter for all things journaling
Why thank you so very much, Dawn!!! I am deeply honored you’ve chosen to share my post on #JournalChat and elsewhere. 😀
There are lots more kids journaling articles to come yet on JournalBuddies.com so stay tuned.
Author and Creator of the Journal Buddies books for kids
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