More and more experts on early childhood education recommend that children begin journaling at a young age because it helps with reading and spelling skills, as well as expanding their creativity. While this sounds great on paper how can a child that is not reading or writing create a journal?
Obviously it is not going to happen without your help, but journaling can be just as valuable to the preschool child as to anyone else. Youâ€™ll need to think outside of the box and provide ideas to get your child started.
One way that young children can journal is through images. A sketch pad with a spiral spine becomes the journal and pictures become the way your child expresses his feelings.
You can help by asking questions like:
- Whatâ€™s the best thing that happened today?
- Did you see anything that was new to you?
- Draw a picture of something that made you happy.
- Draw something that made you sad.
- Can you draw a picture of yourself when you are big?
You can ask your child to illustrate his favorite part of a story or the dream he had last night. By drawing pictures in his journal, he is learning to express his ideas and feelings even before he can communicate them in written words.
Another way to encourage journaling in your preschool child is to have him tell you his story while you write it down in his journal. He can go back and illustrate the story if he wants to. Donâ€™t expect long paragraphs. A sentence or even a couple of words at the bottom of the page will still encourage journaling.
A journal should not be graded, corrected, or critiqued. Keep in mind that this needs to always be a safe place for your child to express his deepest thoughts, hopes, fears, and desires. As he gets older and learns to write and to spell he will naturally begin to use words as well as pictures to express himself.
Keep crayons, felt tip markers, notebooks, and sketch pads in the house so that there are always supplies ready to be used. Why not have scheduled times to journal? Sit down with your child and write in your own journal while he writes or draws in his â€“ seeing you journal will encourage him in his own journaling adventure.
Keep the journaling time short. Depending on your childâ€™s age you should plan on not much more than ten minutes of journaling. This gives your child a chance to journal without getting bored. As he gets older and more experienced you can stretch the time out a bit.
Talk about journaling and how it is a helpful tool to help people record things that they want to remember or express. Help your child to understand that everyoneâ€™s journal is just a little different and there is no right or wrong way to do it.
Creating journals will become a lifelong habit, benefiting your child in many different ways over the years.
photo credit: jimmiehomeschoolmom