One of my goals every year when January first rolls around is to be more present with my kids, and to spend more quality time with them.
It’s a constant challenge for me with five kids who are twelve and under at home, especially with sports schedules and homework and well, you know… life.
About a year and a half ago, I read this blog post about journaling with your kids to develop deeper connections with them.
It was just the thing I needed, because even if I can’t physically connect one-on-one with my kids each day, this is a way we can still connect.
So I started this with Number 4 and Number 5 in May of 2016. I didn’t attempt a journal with Number 3 because he wasn’t interested. Number 6 and 7 were too young.
The journaling didn’t really stick with Number 4. She kind of lost interest. But we always have a few minutes of quality time together on the ride home from swim practice.
But Number 5 loves the journal.
So for about eighteen months now, we have been writing to each other.
What I have found is that this can be a way for Number 5 to acknowledge her behavior (and for me to acknowledge mine) and reflect on it.
This is especially helpful at times when she may want help but doesn’t really want to or know how to talk about it.
You know when you lose your shit on someone, and afterward you feel bad, but you are also a little embarrassed or just wishing you could have a do-over but you don’t really want to talk out loud about it?
We were able to “talk” about it in our journal.
And I was able to give Number 5 some suggestions and help her find a solution to a problem, rather than making her feel even worse.
(A couple pages from May 2016)
I am sorry for getting so MAD on Friday. Maybe I could sit in a spot where no one is and take some deep breaths.
I just love that.
(Number 5 loves kittens, so if I have extra time, I’ll throw in a kitten picture for her 😉 )
So sometimes we write about issues or problems.
Other times, we just write about whatever happened that day.
(An entry from a couple weeks ago)
This has been a great way for me to be “present” with Number 5 when life gets a little crazy.
We don’t write to each other every day. Sometimes we’ll write a few days in a row. Other times we’ll skip a few days. But when we write something, we put the journal under each other’s pillow. When Number 5 writes to me, she puts the journal under mine, and when I write to her, I put the journal under hers.
It’s not for all kids, but for some, it’s just the right thing.
In addition to sharing this with Number 5, I love just seeing how her handwriting has changed over time. And I think when she’s older, this will be a fun thing for her to have and to read.
If you are hoping to spend more quality time, to be more present, or to develop a deeper connection with your kids in the new year, you might want to consider starting a journal with your them.
It’s been great for Number 5 and me, and it has given us a quality connection that we didn’t have before!