Excellent communication skills, in speech and in writing, are amongs the greatest a person can have, greatly valued even by employers.

How can parents help their children develop such skills in a fun way that will keep the young learners engaged for the long run?

One very effective way is to keep a journal with them.

Journaling, or keeping a diary, is an ancient tradition that, in the Western world, dates back to as early as the 2nd cetury a.D. with the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, but that was also widespread in Middle Eastern and Asian cultures from the 10th century.

Although the terms journaling and diary are used as synanoms, diary is more of a daily activity, while journaling is adjourned less frequently.

Journaling with your child is an excellent way to introduce her to the beauty of the written word and to encourage her to keep a record of her life, her growth, her emotions. As an adult, many years later, she will cherish the opportunity to go back to those journals and revisit her dreams and memories. She will also be able to bind them and give them to her own children as a most precious gift.

Journaling also has many psychological benefits; it gives your the opportunity to disentangle your emotions, as if putting them down on paper helps clarify thoughts and feelings; it also allows her to synthesize inner emotions with the external reality, to explore her spirituality, face her fears, and exercise her mental muscles and the ability to express herself clearly. Finally, it gives her a chance to see events and emontions from a new perspective, which broadens her horizons.

Keep a journal for both you and your child. You can first write an entry, then pass the journal to your child; she can write her own ideas and pass the journal back to you.

Here are a few ideas you can implement:
  • Discuss a Bible verse and its meaning;
  • Write about your and her day;
  • Have a trait such as patience and discuss how you think the other does well with that trait;
  • Have your child build a story with you; you can start the story by writing two or three paragraphs; she can then write two or three paragraphs, and so forth;
  • Have your child write the story about a real or fictional child who did the right thing in a hard situation;
  • Research an animal on Wikipedia and write a short synopsis about it;
  • Write about her recent vacation;
  • Write about a time when she did the right thing in a hard situation;
  • Write about her perfect, ideal day;
  • Write about her favorite Bible character and why;
  • Write about an invention that does not yet exist, but that she would love;
  • Use a new vocabulary word she just learned in her journal entry;
  • Write a poem.