Diaries may be simple composition notebooks, feature covers embellished with decals, or take the form of digital journals. You may remember keeping a diary when you were young, but should your child keep a diary, too? Writing in a diary offers kids an outlet for creativity and communication. For example, children who participate in our Crème de la Crème art, music, and theater programs reap the benefits of these skills, which you can see demonstrated by visiting a Crème de la Crème school near you. Discover the role diaries can play in children’s self-expression and understanding of their world.

Do Children Still Keep Diaries?

A young girl on a porch, writing in a diary next to a large teddy bear.

Girl drawing outside on a porch by Drew Perales is licensed with Unsplash License

Children’s literature such as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and the Tom Gates series are among some of the most popular diary-style book series for kids. In an era dominated by AI and smartphones, diaries and journals still resonate with kids. In 2022, a National Literacy Trust research study found that about 30% of children and young people ages 5 to 18 had a diary. 

What Are the Benefits of Keeping a Diary?

Writing in a diary or journal offers children some of the following benefits.

Developing Written Communication Skills

Learning how to write clearly and effectively is an essential skill children of all ages need to succeed in school and their future professional careers. Journaling or writing in a diary continues the development of a child’s written communication skills outside of the school environment.

Fostering Creative Expression

Just as activities such as art, dance, and music performance promote creative expression in children, writing also offers children an outlet to express their creativity. Additionally, kids can extend their use of a diary beyond the written word alone. By doodling and drawing in their journals or diaries, children can bring ideas to life through artistic expression. 

Improving Penmanship

With children spending more and more time behind screens at school and in their leisure time, handwriting is becoming a lost art. Writing in a diary allows children to practice letter formation and learn how to write in print and cursive.

Offering an Outlet for Expressing Feelings

According to a National Literacy Trust survey, children who write in journals or diaries find that they can express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and imagination on the page. “Writing in a diary gives kids a safe, nonjudgmental place to put their thoughts and can help kids recovering from surgery or illness, or just support greater happiness,” said Sheryl Ziegler, a mother of three children and founder of The Child & Family Therapy Center at Lowry in Denver, Colorado.

Should You Read Your Child’s Diary?

Whether to read your child’s diary is a matter of motivation. Here are some factors that may compel you to access their diary.

You Want To Know What’s Going On in Your Child’s Life

Children don’t always tell us everything we want to know. Some kids may hold in their feelings, afraid of telling others what may be troubling them. Others may only share what they think their parents want to hear. Either way, getting a pulse on what’s going on in your child’s life can be a motivator for reading their diary.

You Believe You Need To Protect or Aid Your Child

Keeping your child safe is one of your primary concerns as a parent. Moms and dads may exercise parental protection as justification for exploring a child’s diary, such as in cases where parents believe their children are facing a threat or danger or might harm themselves or others.

You Seek To Understand Your Child Better

Well-meaning parents want to be present for their kids through life’s circumstances. As children grow older, they may not always be as open in their connections and communication with their parents as when they were younger. Parents who want to open dialogue with their children may view exploring a diary as a way to initiate conversations. 

Tips for Handling Diaries With Your Children

Just as creating an allowance involves trust — you trust your child to perform specific tasks in exchange for receiving a reward — allowing your child to keep a diary also communicates trust. Talk to your child about the reasons for keeping a diary and what trust means in the parent-child relationship.

Create a Balance Between Journal Time and Other Responsibilities 

As with smartphone, tablet, and video game usage, balancing activities and responsibilities is essential. Work with your child to set limits between fulfilling responsibilities, such as schoolwork and chores, and spending time drawing or writing in a diary.

Set Ground Rules and Boundaries

Discuss some ground rules with your child about keeping a diary. Talk about respecting your child’s privacy and satisfying your right to know. For example, you and your child can agree that you won’t open the diary unless you have a reason to believe that your child is withholding something important from you, such as a threat to their health or safety.

Consider a Public and Private Diary

Some children may have trouble verbalizing their emotions and feelings but still want to talk to their parents in written form. In this case, consider setting up a public and private diary for your child. You use the public diary to communicate with your child, and your child can use the personal diary for drawings or writing.

If you still have questions about diaries and kids, please get in touch with our Crème de la Crème team for guidance and support. We can help you discuss your concerns about having your child keep a diary while supporting your child’s desire for self-expression.

Explore Creative Enrichment for Your Child: Tour a Crème de la Crème School Near You

Learning to express themselves through writing is one of the many skills children learn at Crème de la Crème. We excel at providing children with a full scope of education and developmental programs, beginning with preschoolers. Schedule a tour at a Crème de la Crème school near you and learn more about how we nurture creative expression in every child.