Monday, March 2, 2009

Bedtime Journal with Your Child

Bedtime Journal with my Daughter

Recently, I was thinking about a friend's wedding that I attended with my 9-year old daughter. When our bride friend walked down the aisle, my daughter turned to me with her face all lit up in happy wonder, and she exclaimed, "Mommy...She.....SPARKLES!"

I thought to myself, I hope that I remember that...the look on my daughter's face...what she said...and how our friend Michelle looked so beautiful in her wedding gown that she did indeed "sparkle." And, so often I think, I must do a better job of recording these moments in my daughter's life.

I do have good intentions when I start a new journal. I resolve that I will write something in it everyday. And for a time, I follow through on that promise. But then, the days turn into months before I pick up the book again.

I love the idea of keeping a journal for my daughter. I love to imagine us looking back at days long past to remember her funny sayings, her growth milestones, and our fun adventures. I know that his time with her will pass rapidly. As she now approaches the double-digit age, I know that it already is going by oh-so fast. As they say, "The days are long, but the years are short."

***COMMERCIAL BREAK: A short (2 minute) movie called "The Years are Short" will define this seeming oxymoron to you. It is beautiful and poignant, and you will remember it...***

More accurately, my memory has grown shorter through the years. My daughter will do something and I'll think, "I'll always remember that moment," or "I'll always remember how she looked on this day." But, I don't. Days pass, new memories overlay the old ones, and time marches on.

I recently read an idea of how to start small with a One-Sentence Journal. Every one of us can find time to write ONE sentence a day, right? If you start with one sentence per day in that (frighteningly blank) journal, you will have begun! Some days might just be the one sentence. That's okay! Other days you might be inspired to write more...Great! Just Start...really.

I thought about this idea a bit and modified it for use with my daughter. I have been thinking about writing a journal WITH her, because she can write, and that takes one-half of the burden off of me. (It's really always about me.)

Pre-thinking about what to write, can occur earlier in the evening. As a family, we share the best and worst parts of our day at dinner time. So, our bedtime journal becomes an extension of that discussion.

First, my daughter writes (yea!) about her day's events, as I'm tucking her into bed. She then passes the journal to me, and I write about the fun, or not so fun, things that happened in my own day. We tend to focus on the memories that we have made together in this journal. The conversation between us always lead to a warm and snuggly end to her day.

I suggest that you start a bedtime journal with your child today. The entries will reward you and your child for many years to come.

The movie, "The Years are Short," is associated with one of my favorite blogs, called The Happiness Project:

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