Capturing Summer Memories

Helping your kids keep a holiday diary / journal
Author: Catherine M. Johnston 
After the intensity of the end of the school year and festivities, summertime is a welcome break for families. It is a time to slow down, reflect and be in the moment. Encouraging your kids to keep a holiday journal not only allows them to document their holiday experiences, but also provides them with quiet time and promotes mindfulness and creativity.
At the beginning of each school holiday, I give my daughters a new journal. Establishing a daily ritual of writing is something that can be done as a family and I write in my journal daily as well.
The hardest part about writing is knowing where to start. Some children don’t need any guidance but often kids benefit from being given prompts to initiate their writing. It is helpful to let them know that they have creative licence.
Kids are very excited by new things, so asking them to write about what they received during holiday celebrations can be a great way to start their journal. Writing about a much anticipated gift can help them express their excitement, joy and gratitude.
As the end of the year approaches, a great topic to write about is what they are hoping to achieve in the New Year. Some children like to write a list of things they want to do or achieve, while others prefer to focus on one particular goal. Creating these lists helps them to focus on a positive start to another school year.
Another great way to promote journal writing with your kids is to ensure that the journal travels with them on summertime outings. Journal writing can help fill in time on transport, at restaurants and is a great solution to the problem of boredom.
Printing photos from your holiday is fun and kids love to cut and paste things into their journals. Photos can provide them with great visual prompts that can initiate some detailed accounts of their experiences.
If you are traveling somewhere new, using a journal as a log of new things they see, eat and do can be entertaining for kids and will encourage them to be open to different experiences. I suggest that my children keep interesting items (tickets or other souvenirs) and paste them into their journals with some written notes.
As the end of the school holidays approaches, ask your children to write a letter to their future selves. In the letter they can try to predict what they will be doing in the future, or they can write about what they are doing in the present. Explain that they will read this letter in the future (6-12 months’ time) and make sure that you remember where you store the letters!
Hopefully by the end of the holidays your family will have a memorable collection of stories from your summer adventures. My family really enjoys looking back and reading our special stories and I hope yours will as well.  
Catherine is a former VCE English teacher and a mother of 2 beautiful girls. This year she started her own business, Write Here Write Now, running creative writing classes and school holiday workshops for primary school students. She writes and also provides private literacy tuition for primary and secondary school students. To find out more click the links below! 

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