As we’ve navigated such a weird, difficult year, one of the top recommendations I’ve seen for adults is to start journaling as a form of self-care. But have you ever thought about how journaling might help your kids as well?

Here are just a few of the benefits journaling gave my son, and I know they can help your kids too!

Journaling allows children to spend time with their thoughts.

Kids are usually much less introspective than adults, and that is often a good thing. It allows them to live in the world and follow their instincts. But it is also important for kids to try to understand their emotions when they feel them, which is why writing in a journal is a huge benefit. My son could write down what happened on one of his bad days, and realize that it was bad because he felt disappointment, or anger, or sadness. He had a personal, private space to explore his thoughts.

Journaling allows children to explore their creativity.

I asked my son to write down stories in his journal, to live in his imagination for a few pages each day, and to not second-guess what he was writing down. Having the opportunity to make up stories any way that he wanted, knowing he wouldn’t be judged for whatever he wrote, was instrumental in growing his creative side and making him dream bigger than a lot of other kids his age.

Journaling improves children’s literacy skills.

Sitting down to write a few days a week, every week, gradually helped my son become a better reader and writer. He was using skills learned in the classroom in his own way at home in the journal, and his Language Arts grades in school improved astronomically as a result. Kids don’t realize how much they’re learning by writing, to them it should become as much a part of their home life as watching TV, but every word they put down helps them become better students.

Journaling will help preserve memories most children lose as they grow up.

It’s fun to go back and read journal entries you wrote from years past, but it’s even better to read back through childhood memories. I hardly remember what it was like to be in elementary school, but if I had kept a journal I could travel back into my head at that time and see what I thought about the girl who sat next to me in class, and about my parents, and about sitting with the nerds at lunch. These are priceless memories that your child has the opportunity to remember forever.

Did you keep a journal as a child? Would you pass that tradition down to your children? Let me know in the comments below!