Why is Journaling a Good Idea?
One of the challenges of working with girls in their pre-teen, tween, and teenage years is their outward focus. At this age, social pressures are high, and it’s easy for girls to get caught up in a cycle of peer pressure and repeat beliefs that they’ve heard espoused by people in their friend group. With increased reliance on devices and more time spent in school and activities, it can be a real struggle for girls to take the time to listen to their thoughts, and engage in self-reflection.
This can lead to an ongoing struggle with emotional intelligence, which is defined as: “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions.”
To encourage greater self-reflection and improve emotional intelligence, many educators have started encouraging their students to journal. Let’s explore why this habit is so beneficial, and how we can encourage our girls to start today.
The Benefits of Journaling
Journaling is a fantastic habit for our girls to start, especially as they enter their tween or teenage years. A tried-and-true hallmark of these years is their strong emotions. It can be challenging to process these emotions, especially during a pandemic situation. When a person puts their thoughts down on paper, they naturally begin to process them as they write.
As well, once a young girl has been journaling for a while, they can look back on their writing, and begin to identify patterns. Maybe they feel stronger emotions during their period, or within certain seasons. Identifying and understanding these patterns can be very helpful.
Journaling can also make a meaningful impact on a student’s academic performance. Any type of writing, even journaling, improves overall language usage, spelling, grammar, and syntax. When they use journaling to think through problems and propose solutions, it can also help students become more adept problem solvers.
5 Tips to Help Students Get Started with Journaling
Getting your child or students involved in journaling isn’t as simple as providing a notebook and asking them to start writing. Here are five useful tips to help your student begin journaling.
1. Help them set a goal
We’re much more likely to stick to a habit when we set a concrete goal. This could be anything from “I want to journal for five minutes every day” to “I will write ten pages every week”. Help your student set a goal that’s both helpful and meaningful for them.
2. Find a method or material that they like
Help your student pick out a journal they like. If they prefer to type out their thoughts, help them find an app like Day One, or suggest a dedicated, password-protected Word document.
3. Set aside dedicated journaling time
Habits are much easier to maintain when they’re consistent. Help your student set aside time to journal every day. To make the habit even more foolproof, they can tie it to an action, such as: “as soon as I walk into the classroom, I will sit at my desk and journal for 5 minutes.”
4. Make the routine simple and easy
Another great way to make a habit stick is to make it as easy as possible to do. Encourage them to keep their journal and writing implements in an easily-accessible place. If they have to search for their journal, go to another place to find a pen, then settle into a third place to write, it can quickly discourage their new habit.
5. Don’t apply parameters
Whatever you do, resist the urge to tell your student what to write. Let their own feelings and needs dictate the terms of their journaling habit.