What I'm about to share is one of my favorite family traditions we have in our home! For our family, it has been another fun way to strengthen the relationships I have with our children.
I have a shared journal with each of my children and my husband. We pass it back and forth when something comes up that we want to write about. My preschooler doesn’t have one yet because this is something I have always gifted their kindergarten year. Sometimes weeks go by where we haven’t written and sometimes it’s a nightly routine. We know when someone has written because the journal is then placed on the receiver’s pillow. I make it a point to write anytime someone has a special moment, and I also love writing about the simple pleasures in life.
Watching their excitement over the years, of something as simple as a handwritten letter, has made me realize how this tradition is teaching them to find joy in the little things.
I want our children to know the art of writing feelings. I also want them to have tangible letters/words that they can look back on. I have also learned over the years that some children express themselves better with words on paper vs verbally (which I shouldn't be surprised about because I'm one of those people).
I was inspired by this idea when my daughter was in Kindergarten and would write us notes in paper airplanes. She would fly them down to us from her room when she should have been sleeping. I wanted to save them, date them, and encourage her to keep writing her feelings.
If you’d like to start a journal with someone you love, here are my recommendations:
Ask them questions in your journal entry to help give them ideas on what to write next. The question I wrote last night was “What are the top 5 things you want to do this summer?”. Another I write frequently is, "tell me your favorite thing about this past weekend?" If your child can't write yet, a photo would easily answer these questions.
Encourage Dad to make some guest appearances in your child’s journals.
No pressure on how quick the journal gets returned. Sometimes I let a couple weeks go by before I pull it out from their nightstand. I'll give a gentle reminder to write back by writing something short and placing back on their pillow.
You can also encourage your children to write out their feelings in their journal if you can’t be there for bedtime or if you’ve already tucked them into bed a dozen times.
We've always started with a journal that has open space at the top for drawing like this. My daughter and I together decorated hers and still prefer this type of journal with space to draw.
I saved my best tip for last! Start a journal with your husband! The letters I wrote to my husband the day we found out we were pregnant again and again and again are in there - along with the letter I wrote to him as he was making the very last visit he’d ever have with his Grandpa is in there. I’m not sure we would have held on to these letters without this journal. It also keeps the story of our life in chronological order. I think a quality leather journal with a love letter to begin the journal would be the sweetest gift.