Keeping a Journal with Young Kids

Eliza Clark
April 28, 2010

Young children have a tremendous desire to learn about themselves, and an almost limitless capacity for introspection. They are just enthralled with their own small selves -- and, developmentally, they are supposed to be.

At the same time, we, their lucky parents, desperately want to keep as many reminders as possible of these ever changing little ones as they are now. We want a record that will make us sigh and smile all the way into our dotage.

These two purposes converge beautifully in the idea of keeping some sort of journal of these early years. But what sort?

We think the key, here, is to choose a form that seems fun and easy for you and your preschooler. (Yes, some of us are still feeling pangs of guilt about baby books that were never filled out, but this is totally different -- you get your kid to do most of the work!)

A few of the wonderful parents who are part of the Savvy community have shared their ideas for chronicling little lives. One suggests a brief Daily Journal with a drawing or a few lines composed together with your child each bedtime. And if every day seems like too much, another proposes an All About Me Book full of questions for a child to answer about himself, that could be revisited periodically. Another great thought is to do an on-camera interview with your little star every few months -- we think she'll be glad to answer Twenty Questions if they are all about herself.

These do-it-yourself ways of journaling with your child may not be fun and easy enough, though. Never fear, we know what is: the ready-made and delightful My Book About Me by Dr. Seuss or the updated, sleeker but still charming This Is Me Journal (that we first spotted on Design Mom).

Once your child gets going, you may feel inspired to start (or restart) your own journal as well. These days with young children are so rich that there's always plenty to write about, and plenty you'll want to remember down the road. But time is limited too, so we especially adore an idea found at The Happiness Project -- Gretchen Rubin's inspiring blog about her quest for increased happiness. She proposes keeping a one-sentence journal. That's it -- one sentence a day. Easy, right?

From the Parents

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    over a year ago

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    over a year ago

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    over a year ago

  • Parent # 16

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    over a year ago

  • Parent # 17

    Thanks for sharing !!!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 18

    Hi, cool site, good writing ;)

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 19

    For those who have trouble keeping up with a journal, make a note on your calendar or set reminders on your computer to take a digital photo of your children once per week. Take them at different times of the day and on different days of the week each time, to capture many different aspects of their lives. At the end of the year you have 52 pictures worth 1,000 words each! Not only do they capture your child's activitiesa and interests, but also document their physical changes.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 20

    Thanks for the great ideas! I have started journals several times and never last more than a week or 2. I'm going to try the one sentence journal but allow myself to write more if I want. I'm also going to purchase the the This Is Me Journal and get my 4 year old involved.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 21

    Not being a journaler, myself, I've never been able to keep a good journal of my children's lives. Even the most basic one eventually fell by the wayside. However, I'm excellent at keeping a calendar, and I've found that if I make detailed notes on my calendar, I'm able to keep a pretty good record of our lives.

    over a year ago


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