Dear Diary: Top Tips To Help Your Child Start A Diary

A young boy writing in his new diary.

Get your family fixed up with these cool diary tip and tricks. This could be exactly what you need to get your children to properly process the situation and create more family bonding time.

Keeping a diary is a useful tool for relieving stress and anxiety and is good for children of all ages. The act of physically writing your thoughts and feelings down has been proven to be a very effective form of stress relief. You should be encouraging your children to keep a diary, especially if talking about their problems isn't always an easy option. There are lots of benefits to keeping a diary, not just for your kids! For younger children, this could be the perfect way to understanding their thoughts and feelings during this time if they haven't been able to fully explain them to you and for older children, this is the perfect opportunity to establish boundaries and give your child the privacy they deserve, that they may not be getting in lockdown, in the form of a diary. Use these useful tips to help get your kids started with their diary journeys.

Explain What A Diary Is

There are many ways to keep a diary; either keep a journal of thoughts and feelings that you write in when you feel like it or you can keep a diary as a record of all the things that they are doing during lockdown (and after if they enjoy it). It's important that you pitch diary writing to your kids in the right way, so it's important to know what the purpose is that you want your children to write a diary. If it's a stress reliever then tell your child that this is a good way to connect to their feelings. Maybe tell them that this will be an easier way to cope with lockdown or fill their time. Explain that their diary can be something they make or something they do in a notebook they already have. Explain that this is something entirely personal to them and they can choose to share what they write or not and that if they would prefer that you (their parents) didn't read it then you won't. Also, explain that they don't have to write in it every day. Putting words to a page about their thoughts and feelings could also be great inspiration for poems, stories or even lyrics, if your child is a bit of a writer. Tailor your explanation to your child's needs and interests. There is always an angle to why they should write in a journal.

person writing in diary

Why We Keep Diaries

There are also many reasons why people keep diaries; as mentioned before it could be as a form of processing and has proven to improve mental health in some cases. People also keep diaries as memorabilia of the things they do in their life - we are currently living during an important moment in history so it could be important to remember what you and your family were doing during lockdown. Creating a positive during this time could be a really important coping mechanism for your children so explain how it may be nice to take note of all the things they have been doing during the days.  Tell them that they can even stick things into their diary that they want to keep safe or to show what they were doing e.g. pictures, drawings, etc.

Alternatives To Words

You might not have considered diary writing for your little ones but who says that you have to write in a diary! Why not encourage your young ones, or the kids who don't love writing, to keep a pictorial diary or journal. There is that you can put into words that you can't draw so get your kids to draw their thoughts, feelings and activities from the day. If you want to make this a family event at home then you could always caption your kids' drawings yourself, if they will let you, so that in years to come they will know what their drawing was for. There are also some great resources online for print-outs that your children can fill in and stick into or make into a diary for themselves. This will give your kids prompts so they don't have to do all the thinking themselves and will make their journals more full and worthwhile.

graphic design on lined paper with ballpoint pen

How To Make A Diary

Experiment with all these different ways to construct a diary; you can simply recycle an old notebook by ripping out the pages you don't need anymore or re-cover it by sticking a folding a piece of card or paper over the front cover so that your child can freely decorate it. Alternatively, you can create a makeshift diary by sliding pages into A4 punch pockets and adding them to a folder as you go or even by just hole-punching separate pages and tying them together with string or treasury tags. If you consider yourself a family of eco-warriors then you could create a virtual diary on a computer on a simple word document or PowerPoint that you can add to and save the trees!

Decorating Your Diary

Diaries do not have to be boring with just writing on a lined page. You can decorate a diary however you would like so give your kids these nifty ideas to decorate their diaries and make them more exciting to look at and add to!

- Stick pictures and drawings in them of your activities.

- Cover your diary with stickers, glitter and any other fun crafty things!

- Create borders around your diary entries with drawing, colourful tapes or pipe cleaners to give it the picture frame effect.

- Use bottle caps, wrappers and other recyclable goods to spruce up your diary - whether it's to remember a specific meal or something you cooked save that packaging and stick it in your journal!

- Use post-it notes to add some colour (and extra comments) to your writing!

- Mix it up with some coloured pens and pencils when writing or drawing your entries.

- Doodling is always fun and adds something special to your books so feel free to doodle away in the empty spaces.

Remember that there is no necessity for your diary to close - sometimes having a bulky book that doesn't shut gives your journal more character and makes it a spectacle to look through. Bulk it up!

Create an Event Out of Diary Writing

Needless to say, diary writing is something that can be beneficial for all ages. So why not create your very own family event at home based around keeping your journals. Every member of your family could be keeping their own diary in different ways or you could keep one big family diary. You can each take a different thing to write/draw for your entry or you can all do your separate accounts of the day and collate them into one big book. You could even distribute jobs e.g. one child on cutting out pictures, one on drawing the best activity of the day, parents on captioning or writing etc. Alternatively, simply create more family bonding time with 30 mins or so of your day dedicated to writing your own personal books with some chill music in the background as a means to relax. If you want this to be a good way to improve your family's mental health and keep the morale up then produce a big event out of it and get the family together.

A woman and two children writing together.


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