We’re so excited to have you here at Journali! As we welcome you to our community, we thought it would be the perfect time to sit down with Rawan Awat, whose son is behind the origins of Journali. Learn how this journal for kids was born, how daily journal prompts for kids can help them get in touch with their emotions, and how incredibly transformative mindfulness for kids can be.
So how did journal prompts for kids turn into Journali?
Truth be told, it was my son who inspired Journali after struggling with depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. We used journal prompts for kids as a way to help him understand his emotions.
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our son started to feel anxious and depressed. Nothing would make him happy, and of course this was hard to cope with as parents.
As a parent all you want is your child to be happy. We thought that writing might help him process and release his feelings, and that it might even reduce his anxiety. So we sat down and created our idea of a journal for kids, which at the time was merely focused on asking him to write down how he felt and reflect on his own thoughts and emotions.
How did journaling affect your parent child relationship?
It was a difficult time during all of the COVID-19 lockdowns, where everyone became so isolated and the social spaces he was used to were no longer operating in the same way. And in addition to all of it, nobody tells you how to be a good parent during times like these.
Everything from interacting with peers to attending school changed overnight. And for a 7-year-old you can imagine how scary that would be. Adolescent mental health wasn’t focused on, so we began journaling at home and made it part of our family routine. And it not only helped him become aware of his emotions and start processing them, it also helped us understand what he was thinking and feeling.
Once schools reopened we discovered that he was anxious to go back, and when he did return he struggled with concentration in class. That was a tough time regardless of any parenting styles one might follow. At the end of the day, we just wanted to make sure he had the tools he needed to transition back to learning while also feeling safe and understood.
From your experience, how does journaling help anxiety in kids? Did you continue journaling when he went back to school?
Yes, we were also meditating with him too. I think mindfulness and meditation for kids are often underestimated.
After several months of both journaling and meditation we began to notice a positive shift in him.
The combination of calming his thoughts through meditation along with writing down any anxious feelings seemed to be changing him for the better. He was slowly learning that he was capable of directing where his mind and emotions would go and how he would respond to them.
So how did this parenting style change your son?
By learning to be aware of his thoughts and feelings through emotional journaling, his concentration became better. In fact, he got really inspired by the power of journaling.
He wanted to make a business and earn money, so we thought together that he could make a journal for kids his age and we could turn it into a business. So in hindsight, it was actually his idea to create Journali!
Did you encourage his idea to make a journal for kids?
Absolutely! Our parenting style may sound rather unique, but we wanted to show him that thoughts can become reality and that nothing is impossible in life. We got to work on creating Journali and our son helped with choosing the questions to ask in the journal. Shortly after we had Journali drafted and printed, and now our dream is becoming a reality!
What benefits of journaling does your son experience today?
Today he is a great reader. At the age of 8-years-old he read the Harry Potter books and he is pushing himself to read even harder books. This wouldn’t have happened without the help of journaling! We’re really pleased that Journali can continue to be a presence in his life as he grows up and develops his identity. And we are excited to see how this practice can positively impact his child and adolescent mental health.
What do you say to other parents curious about a daily journal for kids?
I would say go for it! As someone who has seen firsthand how the power of journaling can change someone’s life, there is no better time to start. Any tool that can help your child become more in touch with their emotions—be it daily journal prompts for kids, or mindfulness for kids—is absolutely worth it!
Encouraging your kids to start journaling isn’t about entertaining them with something, it’s about teaching them to understand themselves on a deeper level so they can bring that self-knowledge with them into the rest of their life.