How to Start a Journal: A Guide for Parents

It’s pretty cliché, but as every mother knows, our children grow up way too fast! Before we know it, they have switched from crawling to running and 18 years are gone. Thanks to the new digital age, we are able to capture every minute of it on our phones. While pictures and videos are precious to have, they don’t always capture the heart behind the camera. And that’s why it’s important to learn how to start a journal and remember to continue writing in it.

Pen and paper journal writing offers an in-depth look into one’s soul, a true connection to another being. While it may not be as up-to-date and modern as Instagram, it is a time capsule, pass-me down through the generations, and cherish me forever kind of material, and in our book, that’s something worth starting!

Journaling is far from a new practice. Usually thought of as a teenage girl’s best friend, journals have been around for ages as a form of almost self-therapy and to review events and feelings from life while keeping the information private. Benefits from keeping a journal include helping to improve your mood by prioritizing your goals and desires and minimizing your fears and anxieties.

While it’s often thought of something we do for ourselves, to keep private — and to burn before anyone else sees it — journals can also serve as a great communication tool and a lasting memory book for you and your child.

How To Start A Journal: A Guide For Parents

Why You Should Keep a Journal for Your Child

Journaling offers you a moment of reflection. When parenting, every day is a trial. Some nights we go to bed feeling defeated, while others we feel somewhat as though we have succeeded. No matter what the feeling, journaling for your child allows for a moment of personal reflection, parental growth, and peace.

Journaling offers you the opportunity to record the little moments that you may otherwise forget. We often remember the big “firsts” – first smile, first steps, first day of preschool — and we often have a picture to prove it, but what about all those other firsts that we want to hold onto forever in that very moment, but so often forget: The first time your baby really looked into your eyes and you could feel her in every inch of your soul or when you said “I love you” only to hear it right back in the sweetest little voice for the very first time.

Read More: Why You Need to Buy a Bullet Journal, Like Today

It offers a form of support during times when you can’t physically be there. There will be days when our children are older and feeling every bit of emotion that the world has to offer, and whether they choose to reach out or not, a written journal can be a form of solace to them if they need it. Lessons, values, morals — all wrapped neatly into a book written by their parent and there for them should they need something to fall back on.

Journaling provides a history of your family and your child’s childhood that they can pass down to their children and beyond. Growing up, memories become distant, sometimes family members become distant as career paths take us in different directions, but a written piece of family history can be a great tool in reminding your children where they came from, and from whom they came. As adults, your children will enjoy getting to know their parents from a different perspective and a much different age.

How To Start A Journal: A Guide For Parents

How to Start a Journal

Beginning a journal, especially as a busy parent, can be taxing. What do I say? How do I start? When will I let them read this? How can I possibly fit every emotion into this tiny journal? Or, more like…Where will I find the time to do one more thing? Unlike scrapbooks or photo albums, journals are completely dictated by YOU.

Entries can be short and sweet (write about your day in four lines) or pages in length if you have the time. You can write daily, weekly, or even once a month. Journaling can be something you look forward to on a particularly hard day when you need to gather and reflect positive thoughts about your child.

Read More: 12 Tips For Positive and Peaceful Parenting

Or they can be done on days of celebration, like a birthday or holiday. In the end, your child will grow up to cherish the words on every page, whether they are memories of the distant past of their childhood or words of wisdom from their young mother. Sometimes, it’s simply the sight of their mother’s handwriting that makes everything reassuring and comforting. 

As a parent, topics will probably be easy to come by, as our little ones prove to be quite the characters and adventure is always waiting around the corner. There will always be emotions, trials, conflicts, celebrations, and most of all, love.

How To Start A Journal: A Guide For Parents

Journal Topic Ideas for Parents

  1. A funny or sweet remark
  2. Overcoming a fear
  3. Mastering a new skill
  4. “Firsts” (riding a bike, day of kindergarten)
  5. Showing an act of kindness
  6. A moment shared just between the two of you
  7. Dreams for their future
  8. Moments of guilt or failure as a parent (hey, we’re not perfect!)
  9. Moments of heartbreak
  10. Current favorites (food, character, book)
  11. Favorite moment from that day
  12. A favorite picture with commentary
  13. A day in the life of… (Complete on occasion to show the child’s typical day as they grow. Include pictures.)
  14. Guest journal (allow the child to write a post to themselves to read as an adult, or to the parent)
  15. Defining moment
  16. Current style (document your child’s current clothing choices)
  17. Share a poem or story that reminds you of your child
  18. “Read When You Need…” love, support, encouragement, or laughter
  19. Moments that made you proud
  20. Moments that made your heart melt

There are many reasons to start journaling, and once you master it, you’ll be able to explain to your children how to start a journal when they are old enough to write.

So, maybe you didn’t get around to finishing the baby book, or scrapbooking isn’t really your thing; creating a journal for your child can be an easier alternative. Pick up a bound notebook of any kind and a pen and follow our suggestions on how to start a journal.


Want to include a few pictures in your child’s journal? Check out our tips for capturing the best moments in Easy Ways to Capture Candid Moments of Your Kids.

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How To Start A Journal: A Guide For Parents

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Stephanie High
Stephanie High
Stephanie is a military wife, currently residing in North Carolina, and mama of two exceptionally curious little ones; a rugged pint-size princess and a mini Evel Knievel-in-training. When she isn't exploring the family's newest dwellings, running trails, and playgrounds, she spends her down time working from home, feverishly correcting "textspeak" in her college students' essays as an adjunct English instructor for a local community college. Her passion for writing and photography can be found on her personal blog Living Our High Life.