After I wrote The Power of Journaling I got this response (see http://www.motivation.com/posts/48/the-power-of-the-journal)
Hi Lori, I read your blog on motivation.com regarding keeping a journal for your children. I absolutely this idea so much! I have a few questions though: How often do you find that you have time to write in it?
Sometimes only a few times a year. Other times daily, maybe even more than once a day- not because I have the time, but because something pressing needs to be said and I can’t trust myself and my voice to say it in a way that will be well received. Ideally, if you wrote twice per month and didn’t even start until they were almost 3, by the time they turn 18 you could have 365 entries. As they leave for college you could hand them their own personally written devotional of sorts.
I feel so stumped at times and not sure what to write about? How do you continue momentum?
I love sharing sharing glimpses of life- here’s what happened to day, or this little thing she said or did, or a story she told me about something at school. When you get in the habit of writing these things down, you’ll start noticing them more, and running for the journal. Writing has a way of creating its own momentum and excitement. They can can be quick snapshots- you don’t have to tell the whole story. Strung together they give an insider view of how you see your child on any given day and how that changes over time.
I try to journal with my 8 year old daughter especially if she’s had a bad day or feeling blue but every time I bring the journals out she runs the other way and completely rejects having anything to do with writing in a journal… how do I make his more appealing for her to want to do it?
I hardly let my kids even see their journals until they were much older. I did most of the writing, and sometimes asked my husband to write something, or one of their siblings, but most of the writing is mine- its my gift to them, my view of who they were and what our lives were like together as they grow up (which also makes it a record of my growth as a parent). It’s so different than the photos and videos you have- but it can go hand in hand with them. If you feel you want to “catch-up” on past times, pull out a video or pictures from that time- birth?- and start there. Let’s say you were too busy to finish the baby book- now you can go back, even though your distant view is different from it would’ve been then. You can try to recapture your thoughts and feelings. Any writing and recording of memories is better than none. Imagine if you had this from your mother or father—what would it be worth to you?
I’ve tried different forms of art journaling and using art books as prompts but she never wants to write anything? Any tips in this area?
I collect the drawings my daughter gives me, then sometimes write about them (See: Better Than an Alien Mom http://mamomemo.com/2018/04/better-than-an-alien-mom/), but I don’t think I’ve ever asked her to write anything specifically for her journal. I see this as my project, not hers. If you want more experts from her, use the special papers she brings home from school or church, or any notes she leaves around, or cards she makes for you. You might need to be a bit surreptitious, but we moms are good at that, right?!
Thank you so much for your inspiration Lori, I’m excited to dedicate a journal solely for my daughter.
Thank you! Do you have questions about writing for your children? I’d love to hear them. We can write together during May- May is Motherhood Memoir Month. Share your comments or questions on my Facebook Mamomemo page.