What if your child could perceive, interpret, demonstrate, control, and use their emotions to communicate and relate to others in an effective and constructive way? Can you imagine how that would change your family dynamics, inspire focused learning, and impact how they communicate with other children?
Emotional Intelligence is doing just that; feeling, expressing, controlling, and maneuvering through emotions with awareness, whether they are your own or others’.
According to The Very Well Mind (an award-winning online resource for all things mental health) emotional intelligence is crucial for interpersonal relationship development—so think about how enhancing your child’s emotional intelligence from a young age could impact them positively for the rest of their life.
In this blog we will explore 5 ways that journaling can increase your child’s emotional intelligence for a life filled with connection, growth, and meaning.
1. Encourages Inquiry
Journaling gives your child an opportunity to reflect on how they feel or what they’ve experienced through the day. Having a sacred space to collect their thoughts, journaling invites self inquiry into your child’s life by encouraging them to make a habit out of reflecting on their emotions and thoughts. Reflection can also expand beyond your child’s immediate emotions, potentially initiating rumination on family relationships, such as those between parents, siblings, etc.
2. Builds Confidence
The act of journaling lays a foundation for confidence. With the space to write down their experiences, your child is sharing their voice, and their voice is heard even if not spoken. When each child knows their thoughts, emotions, and insights are valued, they become more self-assured and feel as if they can rely on themselves for understanding—perhaps even taking their first steps of independence in problem solving, emotional regulation, and relationship management between friends or siblings.
3. Embodied Self Awareness
Over time the habit of physically journaling will start to instill subtle habits of self-awareness and self-understanding, regardless of having a pen and paper in hand. Your child will know themselves to a greater depth, and be able to communicate their needs, wants, desires, and difficulties. As your child becomes aware of their internal thoughts and how they can create emotions or emotional outcomes, they will begin to decipher the difference between response and reaction; response being a choice, whereas reaction can result in explosive and impulsive behavior. In the long run, recognizing and processing emotions will give your child a sense of embodied self-awareness that they can take with them wherever they go.
One study in the Journal of Early Childhood Research examined how journaling could affect children ages 4-11 on both and internal and external plane, concluding that:
“Through these reflective practices, they were able to show how they used their embodied self-awareness to make sense of what they were experiencing and feeling. [...] Although the oldest children appeared to journal and write most frequently, even the youngest ones in the study seemed able to reflect on and express their experiences. The children demonstrated that they were able to use the sense of embodied self-awareness developed within the movement sessions to reflect on their emotions, their experiences and even the process of reflecting. The creative approach not only allowed the children to generate rich data that expressed their experiences but also helped to facilitate their ability to reflect on, process and learn from their experiences.” (Source: Using creative research methods and movement to encourage reflection in children. Authored by Jennifer Leigh.)
4. Inspires Creativity
Creativity requires imagination and a connection to our authentic and unique self. As your child generates a habit of journaling they will become more sensitive to their inner voice, establishing a strong relationship with the source of creativity from within. The very act of writing, expressing, depicting, even drawing in a journal, all sharpen your child’s ability to communicate from the inside out—sharing their creative forces with the world around them.
5. Elevates Communication
The habit of journaling can change your child’s communication with the world around them; with more space to receive others emotionally, as a result of regularly processing their own emotions in the pages of Journali. As your child becomes more aware of who they are, they will also be able to communicate their beautiful self without hesitation or fear, knowing that their unique perspective and vision are welcomed in the world.