Some good reasons for children to keep a diary – especially during lockdown
This article is based on content in the book ‘Playing Smart’, by S.K. Perry.
The fact that we are living through what will become a major historical event isn’t the only reason why diaries will provide fascinating future insight to life during this period. There are other benefits for children too. Although there are various types of diaries (e.g. the ‘personal feelings diary’, the ‘what activities did I do today diary’, the ‘dream diary’), the process of committing to paper a permanent history of daily life provides these general benefits to almost any child:
- Catharsis, in having a safe place to express feelings
- Insight into growing up, and help in dealing with change
- Improved communications and trust between parent and child and increased self-esteem – as long as parents never belittle anything their child writes, or dictates (in the case of young, pre-school children). Parents should never invade their child’s privacy without invitation
- Better powers of observation and sharpened senses as the diarist turns not only inward to feelings, but outward to record actual happenings – smells, colours, changing seasons
- Capture of early memories before they fade
- The development of a writing style (a diary is a good place to experiment freely, without having to pay attention to grammar or spelling)
- Improved language skills
- A more active imagination, perhaps inspiring further nonfiction or fiction writing and other creative projects
- Pleasure in the act itself.
Writing a diary can be an art form in its own right, providing pleasure in the writing and greater joy in simply living.
Reading the diaries of other people, especially of other children, may be the best inspiration for your child to begin her own journal journey. Try an internet search with him or her to find examples.