(WGHP) — Your children and grandchildren are out of school.

Maybe they’re glued to their smartphones and computers, or maybe they’re looking for something to do.

Keeping kids occupied with a journal might be just what they need for that summer boredom.

Writing in a journal doesn’t have to be like a diary. It can hold thoughts and feelings, but it can also be a perfect blank slate to let creative juices flow.

Journaling also supports academic skills by providing access to the benefits that only writing by hand provides. Researchers have found that writing by hand helps with learning shapes and letters and may support the development of fine motor skills.

For older children, they can develop the skill of organizing their thoughts and ideas better.

When it comes to starting a journal, the options are limited only by your child’s imagination. Journals can be anything they wish – from a loose collection of thoughts or drawings to even a scrapbook. If your children have difficulty getting started, ask what they would like to journal about.  

Many journals created for children have writing prompts, questions, and engaging illustrations. Prompts cab allow children to reflect on themselves and the resulting entries can also provide a snapshot of who they were at the time of writing.

Journaling also sharpens memory. Research has found that writing down events as they happen preserves the memory, and children can better comprehend their lives.

Writing in a journal can also help address big feelings. Many children have difficulty verbalizing their emotions and journaling may help provide outlets for expressing how they feel. Writing about feelings is a healthy alternative for children who struggle with open communication.

Here are some ways to encourage kids to get started on their journal:

  • Keep it fun
  • Try out different books, pens, stickers and other things that personalize their journal
  • Make sure they know their journal is private
  • Set an example by journaling for yourself.