10 Great Writing Ideas For Kids

Writing in a journal about the ups and downs of everyday life helps children deal with their emotions, permitting them to enter a magical realm of self-expression that might otherwise lay dormant. Journaling also helps children to think creatively and develop a stronger grasp of the English language. Plus, journaling with your child can enhance the relationship you share.

Introduce the idea of journaling to your child by emphasizing how fun it would be to have a “memory book”&#151a place to write down stories, ideas and special thoughts. Explain to your child that it will be something that is his very own and will be kept in a special place in his room.

You can further interest your child by shopping together for the book itself. A spiral notebook with a favorite character might be a good selection for a younger child. An older child might prefer a fabric-lined, hardcover journal. It’s important you let your child make the final decision or she may lose interest before she even begins. Make it a fun experience!

Once you introduce the idea of writing to your children, however, the real struggle begins. How do you keep him writing in a journal on a regular basis? Try these tips:

&#149 Start your child’s writing habit off by writing about something humorous. What about siblings at the dinner table? The antics of a sibling’s eating behavior are sure to invoke laughs.

&#149 Tell a story with pictures. Younger children, those who aren’t yet reading and writing, can still be encouraged to “write.” Have your toddler draw a story with crayons or markers. Once she has completed her “story,” laminate and bind the pages together to create a book that you can read together.

&#149 Write about a family trip. Help your child remember the details: Where did you go? What was the most fun? What did you see? How did your child feel prior to the trip &#151 excited or nervous? What were the sounds and smells of the place you visited? Encourage your child to describe them.

&#149 Write about a moment when mom or dad was angry. This not only helps your child express his feelings, it also allows you to see yourself through his eyes.

&#149 Make a list of things your child wants to do or be. Let the creative juices run wild. Help her know that she can do anything she sets her heart to.

&#149 Describe a moment when your child was sad, mad or happy. Children need to express their feelings, so make sure not to criticize the emotions they feel. Simply let your child write. You can talk about the feelings he expressed later on.

&#149 Write a story pretending to be something else &#151 an inanimate object like a favorite toy or even the dishwasher (strange, yes, but it could be a lot of fun). Or pick something in the yard like a bee, a flower or the dog. Ask your child to describe what the “something else” is doing, seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling.

&#149 Vary your child’s writing experiences by helping her write a letter or poem. Ask her to write to a friend, a grandparent or the Tooth Fairy. Or have your child write a greeting card for someone special.

&#149 Rewrite a favorite story so that your child is the hero. Let your child read the story to you at bedtime.

&#149 Sit in front of a window or mirror and help your child describe his reflection. Try to do this at times when your child looks different, like when he’s dirty from playing or after just waking up.

With practice, encouragement and a little patience, you can help your child develop a lifelong love of journal writing and healthy self-expression. Help your child keep the pen on the page!

This article appeared in the April 2001 issue of Personal Journaling.

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