Many adults keep a diary or a journal, but have you ever thought of encouraging your preschooler to do the same? Believe it or not, it can be a rewarding experience for both of you! In this stressful time, keeping track of what you are doing and feeling may make things easier. And when this is all over, you will have a record for the future!
Journalling is actually a familiar activity for children who attend a Montessori school. It is mainly a language activity, but also a way for children to express their feelings as well as a tool for teachers to observe and gain a better understanding of each child. With a little bit of help, even a 2 year old can create a journal!
Despite the currently COVID-19 situation, doing a journal would be a very interesting way to see how our relationships with our children change as we spend more time at home and how they view this difficult time. This journal will be a record of them. If your child is at age 4-6, they could probably write it themselves with a little help from you in spelling and grammar – what a perfect opportunity for them to learn how to write a story!
And if your child loves drawing, why not have them illustrate the content they wrote? Make it meaningful for that day and that day only. Get their creative juice going. You will be surprised in 3 weeks the outcome of this journal.
What you need?
The beauty of this journaling activity is that you don’t have to go out and get extra supplies. Everything you need for this activity can be easily found in any household.
– Paper: It could be any type of paper you have on hand: line paper, blank paper, notebook, etc.
– Pencil and eraser
– Arts supplies: markers, colour pencils, stickers, stamps, etc.
Tips for Success
Getting children to sit down and write might sound like an impossible task. But how does Montessori professionals do it? Here are a few tips:
1. Let them choose
The most important aspect of Montessori education is follow the child and let them choose.
Let your child pick his/her favourite pencil, eraser, paper etc. If your child just started writing he/she might still need the red and blue dotted lines to help them write their letters.
Some children might prefer to have an actual diary or notebook so everything is in one place. Let them pick one that reflects their personality or something that they could decorate themselves and put a personal touch on.
2. Share your supplies
While it’s important for children to have their own journal supplies, older kids might prefer to have adult supplies. Having special supplies like mommy’s pens, stickers, and stamps or daddy’s rulers and erasers will help the child look forward to the journaling sessions.
3. Respect their journaling style
It’s tempting to prompt your kids in their journaling (and school, and sports, and life, and everything). Goals, daily to-do lists, dreams, self-discovery…those are your journaling topics. Let your kids journal their way. They might draw something fictional and describe it. Maybe they’ll simply draw. Or scribble.
Encourage them in whatever style they seem to enjoy. Older kids might want you to stay out of it completely; that’s ok, too. Maybe they’ll benefit more from solo journaling. Just because you’re not pouring over spreads together doesn’t mean you can’t bond through a mutual interest.
4. Never interrupt
If you’re particular about your own journal, you may have to sit on your hands to keep from interfering with your kids. Does it matter if they write the wrong date or misspell everything? Those childhood errors are a huge part of what gives kid journals their charm; you’ll look back at these little notebooks and cherish each little quirk. One thing you can do is that after your child has completed his/her journal entry, review their work together, and ask them if they would like to correct their letters ands spelling to make it “more perfect”.
Plus, kids love messes! Let them go a little wild and explore their creativity. We rarely encourage our kids to be untidy, but that freedom can light a fire in them. “Messy Journaling” will probably become their favourite part of the week.
5. Emphasize your time together
When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter if your child has produce a masterpiece of writing. What matters is that you spent time together. You created, laughed, and learned together.
Take care and think positive!
Parenting full time while being stuck at home can be stressful for many families. We at Inspire Montessori School (Markham) wish you good health (both physically and mentally)! Let’s try to enjoy this extra bonding time with our kids and stay positive!