Pro Dad Tip: Journaling with Children

I’ve been doing something with my kids now for a good four years, and just the other day I realized that I haven’t told anyone else about it–despite the fact that I really enjoy it, and I think others would benefit from it. Not like it’s rocket science, or anything, but I help my kids keep a journal.

How it works for me is simple: about once a week, I sit down with my kids and ask them to tell me about their day. I transcribe what they say, word for word–obviously, this is easier if you’re a fast typer. The key to me is to capture exactly what they say and how they say it. I started with TRC back when he was in preschool and only four years old. I’ve started with DC even earlier.

This is a great thing on many different levels. First of all, it’s something I can do for my kids that I think they’ll enjoy in later years. I remember writing a journal when I was little (like 8 or 9). I’ve since lost it, and I have no idea what was in it. I would really love to have it back. For my kids, I store their journals in the cloud. No risk of losing them. They’re backed up.

Sooner or later, they’ll take over their journal writing on their own–although I might keep having them do the journal with me, even once they’re writing solo. I keep a daily journal. My blog is honestly a better depiction of my thoughts and actions, but I keep doing the journal because I’m never sure when I’m going to have something important to say. When I do, I know I wouldn’t write it down unless I’m in the habit of doing that every day.

My kids love to read what they’ve written before. They love it the same way they enjoy watching family movies. I love these journals because they’re practically a time machine for me. I can read them and be back at that instant, remembering writing them with them back when the entry was first created. I don’t know . . . something about it connects me with the past in a different way than videos and pictures. Maybe it’s because I write so much already.

The entries aren’t always long. And they’re not always on what was happening that day. Sometimes my kids would rather have me transcribe stories they make up. Other times, I have to ask a few questions to get them started talking. But it takes only a few minutes, and it all adds up over time.

Anyone else out there do this with their kids? Any questions about how I do it? Feel free to ask.

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