Woman writing in a journal.

Benefits of Journaling

Written by Zalene Brant LPC-R, ATR, CSAC-S. Clinically reviewed by Jacqueline Mitchell LMSW.

For children, writing can feel overwhelming and tedious. Most learn from an early age the process of taking a blank sheet of paper and transforming it into a finished product through our teachers’ instructions. What if there was a place where children didn’t have to follow the rules? A place where children could practice communication in a way that feels right to them.

Journaling offers a creative space where children can express their thoughts and feelings without the limits placed on them traditionally in school. A study from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse found that Journaling was enjoyed by 94.74% of the students surveyed and they reported adapting the practice into what was most beneficial for their current needs. Participants also reported a greater sense of self-awareness over time.

What makes journaling so different from writing in school? Let’s look.

What is journaling?

Journaling is whatever you want it to be. It is a fluid process that the creator individualizes. It can be a place to revisit memories from an earlier time in life, a safe space to say the words that you would never dare say out loud, or many a place to figure out how to say best what you need to without hurting the ones you love.

Whatever the case may be there is a format that your child can choose to follow, or they can create their own. Several types of journaling include Gratitude, dream, stream of consciousness, ideas, and visual journaling. For more information on specific types of journaling that are best suited for your child’s developmental stage take a look at the journaling feature in the Hello Backpack app (You can read more about the app and download it HERE) or set up a counseling session with one of our Licensed professional counselors for help with individualizing your child’s mental health journey.

All children can benefit from journaling!

Benefits of Journaling

  1. Promotes creativity and self-exploration

    Journaling is a safe space with no limits. It can be a tool for children to explore their innermost thoughts and deepen self-awareness. Children having access to a journal allows them to plant their seeds for self-discovery to return to later. Prompts are wonderful to help children explore questions such as:

        • How would you describe yourself in five words?
        • What is your biggest worry?
        • What is one thing you can always talk about?
        • Where do you spend the most time? What about that space do you enjoy most?
        • Who do you trust most?


    These allow children to reflect on their dreams, beliefs, and values without judgment. The resulting entries can provide a visual reminder to children of where they were during a certain time and the ways that they have changed.

  2. Sharpens memory

    Not only does journaling give your child a place to record memories, it can improve their memory!

    Research done by Cambridge University on expressive writing indicated that those who wrote about their own subjective experiences showed improvements in their short- and long-term memory retention and cognition compared to those who wrote about neutral topics.

    A life lived is a life worth recording.

    Journaling is a place where children are allotted the opportunity to choose how they remember events that have happened and how they comprehend their lives. Stream-of-consciousness journaling and daily journaling provide recordings of thoughts and feelings during a specific moment in time.

  3. Helps address big feelings

    There is no defined age at which we start to develop feelings however current studies indicate that children start expressing their feelings as early as 6 to 9 months of age but they do not start to develop a vocabulary for feelings until much later. Therefore, they must have other outlets for expressing feelings.

    Journaling can be a judgment-free safe zone where your child sorts out uncomfortable and complicated emotions such as jealousy, anger, or sadness.

    Remember, it takes a while to learn how to vocalize these feelings positively. Give your child time to share their journal or feelings with you when they are ready to do so. Over time regardless, if your child chooses to share their journal with you or not you can help them develop trust and confidence through providing a place where they make the rules.

Journaling has many different benefits and looks different according to your child’s age, maturity, and life. It takes time and patience to learn what works and find a rhythm that best fits your child’s needs.

The Hello Backpack app is an easy and accessible place for your child to explore journaling.


Share Post

Keep Exploring

Share Post