More Than A Diary?
Growing up, I kept a diary, but it wasn’t just secret thoughts, struggles, and feelings. It was a way for me to deal with my changing self and the world around me. Journaling is so much more than a diary.
Journaling is a way to write down feelings and thoughts – to ponder and understand those thoughts more deeply. As gifted children deal with stress, anxiety or depression, keeping a journal can help them cope with their ever-changing emotions.
Intensity is a characteristic of giftedness. The emotions can feel overwhelming. Writing those emotions down by specifically labeling what those feelings are helps reduce the emotional weight. It’s a free, tangible, and most importantly, healthy outlet for self-expression.
Once A Day
Daily journaling can be as simple as writing one thing each day for which the child is thankful. This can be done as young as preschool by using pictures instead of words. Journaling can incorporate long and short-term goals, dreams, and aspirations. Putting those things into writing will help activate goal setting, as well!
For an older gifted child or preteen, who may be struggling with more emotional stresses, it may be a way for the child to watch for triggers and know to ask parents, a school counselor, a gifted teacher, or others for help if the emotions are feeling out of control.
When the child puts feelings on paper, he or she may learn to pinpoint what is causing the stress or anxiety. They may be able to see patterns such as: “When I don’t get enough sleep because I am over-scheduled, I feel more anxious, irritable, and restless.” “When I am spending lots of time on social media, I start to doubt myself and value what others think of me too much.” Journaling doesn’t have to all be serious. A child can use it as a creative outlet writing songs or poems or even a short story.
Set some goals with your child for journaling:
- Encourage your child to write for at least 5 minutes each day.
- Keep it simple. Have the child keep a journal notebook (doesn’t have to be fancy) and a pen or pencil. They can leave those things in a specific place for quick use each day.
- Tell them that they can write or draw whatever feels right for that day. It does not have to have rules or structure.
- They don’t need to worry about spelling, grammar, or sentence structure. It is a place for free-flowing thoughts.
- Don’t insist they share the journal with you. Remind them that you are always there for them, and they can always reach out to you.
The Time Is Now
No need to wait until the time is right, so why not have your child begin today? As a parent of a gifted learner, set a good example, and you set a goal to journal a few minutes each day. It’s that easy!