Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hey, I Can Use That: Conversation Journals

Part two of useful things for summer! This post is aimed toward the older kids, since they are home with us for the summer. It can also be modified for the little ones. Enjoy!

It went like this:

Last year, when my boys were in 1st grade, I was having a convo with my friend, Melissa. She was talking about her daughter and how she was trying to incorporate writing into their home practice. She was asking my opinion about how to encourage writing while keeping it meaningful, purposeful & fun. I was giving her my ideas- my boys have struggled with writing & fine motor for years so this was right up my alley- when she gave me the best idea that I'd heard in a long time.

She said (I love to quote people, can you tell?), "My daughter has grown tired of her conversation journal so I need some new ideas."

That's how she said it, very matter-of-factly, like everyone has a conversation journal at home.

I had to know what a conversation journal was, as I'm racking my brain trying to figure out if this is something I missed. Sometimes I miss things. Happens.

She said, "Oh, it's something that we started a few months ago. She writes in her journal things she wants to share with me or things that she wants to keep private but wants me to know about. She leaves in my room & then, I read it & write her back."


So, I ran to Target & immediately picked up these little babies:


And the rest, they say, is history. The boys write anything they want to share or tell us. It's mostly "I love you's" or "can I do/have____" but every now & then something goes in there that wouldn't have come out another way. Sometimes it's an apology, sometimes it's something bigger. But it's always there, always a choice & always confidential. It's fun to see what they think is worth sharing. And they wake up eager to see what we said back to them. 

Writing to us is an option any time during the day but they tend to write to us at night. Sometimes, I'm sure it's a stall tactic for bedtime; I'm okay with that. A little extra reading & writing is worth it.

We did pick up another notebook for my son when he started kindergarten & he loves it too. If you have a younger child who isn't ready for writing words, encourage him to draw pictures. Pictures are extremely effective communicators. And you get to draw and/or write back- fun!

There it is: a quick, easy, purposeful way to incorporate more writing in your child's day while providing another method of communication for all of you. 

Encourage open conversations with your kids. You'll be surprised what you find out :)

I'd love to know that you're doing to encourage communication with your children! Please share!
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