Open Communication Journal with Kids
Proper communication is something that people can learn over time. One way we openly dialogue with our kids is our open communication journal. Before you get all upset about this concept, realize that I said ONE WAY. Of course kids need to learn skills in verbal as well as non-verbal communication. However, the written word can be another positive way to express oneself and open up communication with your children.
This method isn’t for every child. Some children don’t like to write, and this would feel like a chore. My daughter loves to write. She has pads of paper everywhere, and I see her drawing, writing lists, creating stories, and writing us notes about how she feels. A friend of mine started a communication journal with her daughter, and I thought it was a great concept. The other thing about my child is that she feels deeply. This, of course, can be a very positive trait. However, where there is a positive, there is always the flip side to parent through. When emotions run deep, I want to give her a number of tools for identifying her emotions and expressing them in a productive way. Things can easily become very dramatic around here, and I have had to find techniques for navigating the storms effectively.
This journal is a dialogue we have back and forth. It is tucked away in a place that only she and I know about. When she is feeling emotions deeply but doesn’t feel like talking verbally at the time, she can go there and write. I can write back to her about what she is feeling. This has been going on for quite some time, and I have found that giving her the opportunity to write things down has helped. I also think it helps when I respond that I understand how she is feeling and then further discuss the situation. Empathy can be such a powerful tool in parenting.
The journal entry you see above is a entry I have been given permission to share by my daughter. I would love to share more entries, but I want her to feel safe in this space we have created. The entry above related to a situation we talked about. She had misunderstood what someone was asking her to do, so she felt unjustly in trouble for her choice of behavior. She became upset about the situation. I sat down to talk to her about it. I like to try and help her label her emotions. After she explained the situation and still seemed super sad and frustrated, I taught her a new word for her – “misunderstood.” She immediately identified with that word but still wanted time to herself. I then saw her sneak out of my room, where we had the conversation, and grab her communication journal and slip back away. She was still processing.
Here’s another excerpt of one of my responses to something she had written:
We communicate in a lot of ways around here, and I just want to give my kids a variety of tools to see if there is a particular method that resonates with them so that they can really navigate their emotions well.
You could also make your own journal with your kids by following this simple craft.