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Keeping a basic memory journal can be something that your kids will cherish as they grow older, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
Journal writing can be helpful for you to be able to remember things that are going on in your life, and in the world in general. It can also be extremely therapeutic as a way to get your feelings out onto paper. Writing in a journal doesn’t have to happen everyday, but writing on a regular basis is a good idea.
What Should You Write About?
When I was younger, I wrote in my journal everyday. There is a period of about 3 years where I may have missed one day total in each year. Going back and reading my journal entries is actually kind of boring. While I know exactly what happened each day, I was too robotic about my writing - I was writing because I thought I had to, and so I couldn’t come up with important things to write about.
Writing in a journal shouldn’t be about how often you write things down, but rather about the need for you to write things down. Writing about what you ate the day before probably isn’t that interesting unless you’re trying something totally different or wild. Writing about what time you woke up also probably isn’t really that interesting or useful to anyone unless you’re waking up early for some type of special occasion.
Keeping notes about important milestones in your life, and the life of your loved ones is a great use for a journal. Perhaps your child has learned to ride a bike, or perhaps your child finally is sleeping through the night. Maybe you’ve finally started to read and have time to do so everyday now. Whatever the event or occasion, these are great things to write about - when you look back on these entries, you’ll be able to see how you were feeling or what was bringing joy or sadness to your life.
Beyond events in your life, writing down your thoughts or feelings is a great way to help you understand your feelings. If you’re going through a tough time, then writing about what your struggles are can help you to come to terms and potentially find a solution to your problem. At the very least, it should help you to eliminate some of the stress that you have.
If you are writing your thoughts and feelings, you’ll want to mark them in some way so that you can come back to them later and redact as necessary. There may be thoughts that you don’t want a child to read down the line, but that you needed to write down at the time in order to come to terms with it. Just keep in mind that others may read what you write at some point, so if it’s truly personal, then you’ll want to be able to take it out.
Where To Write In a Journal?
The simplest method for keeping a journal is with a pen and book that’s made for a journal. Writing something by hand can force you to think through what you’re actually feeling a little bit more than if you use the computer or record it. Of course, writing is likely the most time consuming way to keep a journal, but many people really enjoy this method.
Writing your journal on the computer is also a great way to journal. There are apps that are specially designed for journaling, but all you really need is a text editor, and a basic folder structure. I prefer to keep my journal entries in an online text editor such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word. This keeps my data online, and there’s no easy way for me to lose it. With a physical journal, it’s easy to either lose it, or if there is a catastrophic event, for it to be destroyed. As long as you keep your journal on the computer backed up online, then you don’t run that risk.
The downside to keeping a journal digitally is that it’s generally easier to mindlessly write in it - you’re not forced to think about what you’re actually writing as much. I’ve found myself writing things that I didn’t even realize I was writing. I’ll re-read it and wonder what I was actually thinking when I wrote it because it makes no sense. There’s also a potential of a security breach to a wider audience by backing up your entries to the web, so keeping very personal data in there is probably not the best idea.
Finally, if you’re really lacking on time, keeping a voice journal can also be a quick way to get your thoughts into a recorded format. You can either use your phone or your computer to record yourself talking about your thoughts and feelings. You’d then keep those recordings in a similar way that you keep a digital journal. You’re basically keeping a podcast for yourself, and for future generations.
The biggest benefit to this method is the speed with which you can record your thoughts and feelings. As long as you’re not trying to make it perfect, you’ll be able to knock out an entry in no time. Additionally, future generations will have the benefit of actually hearing your voice, and hear the emotion of what you were thinking and feeling at the time.
When To Write In a Journal?
Finding the time to write in a journal can be the most difficult part for many parents. Time is always something that is lacking when you have kids to take care of. You should work on finding a specific day and time that works for you, and spend that time writing. If you don't have anything to write about, then you can skip that day.
For example, I've found that Sunday mornings are the best time for me to reflect a little bit about the past week, and write down my thoughts and feelings. I don't spend a ton of time doing so, but if there were any big events that occurred that week, then I'll spend a few minutes and record those things. Don't feel like you have to spend hours writing in a journal to make it worth while.
Don’t be afraid to keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be long or lengthy, but keeping track of major life events is a great way to capture and remember the feelings that you had at the time. Find a method that works for you, and stick with it.