7 Ways to Start Journaling by Keri Smith, ‘Wreck This Journal Everywhere’ Author

Keri Smith has hit the jackpot with her journaling book called Wreck this JournalShe sold more than two million copies and has a cool app for that. Now she has a travel edition coming out called Wreck this Journal EverywhereBasically, she hopes you’re keep a diary and have a ton of fun doing it. Throughout the books, she uses funny art and prompts to get you writing.

Below, Keri writes 7 Ways to Start Journaling for You and the Kids. Throw away (totally trash) your old notions of keeping a diary. Keri wants you to mix things up, keep it simple and short, and fill those books up!

“Thinking back to my childhood I recall the urge to write my ideas down, to have a place to store my thoughts and to create a secret space that was just mine. I would begin writing things down in a notebook, but I often became overwhelmed and unable to finish a thought. As a teenager, I started dozens of journals, many with only a few pages written on. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I was able to successfully create a journaling “habit” for myself, something that would have been invaluable for my younger self. So what changed? Why did I regularly stop soon after I had began? Now, twenty-four thick journals later, I know a bit more about myself and my personality, and how as a child I set myself up for failure without knowing it by making the tasks too overwhelming, wanting to write chapters instead of point form notes, wanting to draw like DaVinci instead of doing two minute sketches. Here are a few tips for how to turn journaling into a habit, and more importantly, how to give your children the gift of a creative outlet that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives.

1. Make the tasks as easy and fun as possible.
When I was learning to journal again as an adult I challenged myself in little ways to just make marks on the page, setting easy tasks such as writing a list of everything I’d consumed in one day, or a list of five things I saw, heard, smelled, tasted or touched. Another favorite exercise was dripping a blob of ink on to a page and blowing it with a straw. It’s so simple but incredibly satisfying to make spidery, tree-like shape.

Write a list of small things that you would like to try. Write a list of silly things you would like to do (make 100 marks on a page, trace different body parts, glue your hair to the page). Write a list of colors to find (color bingo).

2. Quantity over quality.
There should be no pressure to make it beautiful or pleasing to look at. The goal should be only to fill it up. Kids need to feel a sense of accomplishment with the journal as soon as they begin. When they see that the pages are filling up, they will begin to have the sense that they are in fact creating something!

3. Carry the journal with you everywhere you go.
This ensures that journaling becomes integrated with your everyday life, even when you are out in the world. It also creates a bonding with the journal itself, it becomes a friend who you can sit with any time you wish. If needed, create a special journal bag.

4. Create collections.
Use what you find while out on your travels to use or add to your journal. Always carry some
glue or tape to attach things you find.

5. Try a variety of things.
Try making simple lists, tiny drawings, collages, collections of found objects, collections of colors you see in the world, what you ate, conversations, scratches made my different objects, torn paper bits, you name it.

6. Time it.
Give them five minutes to write down ten things that are right in front of them. No time to get bored!!

7. Make it fun!
Journaling should be fun, lighthearted and even a little mischievous (this is where the creative destruction comes in). If kids are given a safe place and permission to be a little destructive there is no limit to what they will come up with.

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Kid Lit: Find Out the Color of the New ‘Pinkalicious’ Book Here Next Week

Do your kids love Pinkalicious? Even my little boy does, though he won’t admit that to anyone on the school bus that takes him to kindergarten.

Pinkalicious is a sassy and sweet little girl who loves pink–and other colors. In her books, she learns a ton of life lessons, too. All of author/illustrator Victoria Kann‘s books center around a pretty shade with titles such as Goldilicious, Silverlicious, Purplelicious and Emeradalicious. 

The color and title for the next book will be revealed on this blog next Thursday, so check back. Also, there’s still time for you and your little one to enter the contest to help Victoria Kann choose. On the Next Color Sweepstakes page, you’ll also find a cute picture you can download and color.

Cute, right? Check back soon to see the color of the new book. And if your daughter colors the page, scan and email it to me. I’d love to run a few of them.

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Parents’ Happiness Ted Talk By Jennifer Senior, ‘All Joy and No Fun’ Author

Can I tell you how much I love Jennifer Senior and her newish book called All Joy and No Fun? We covered this important topic–that children’t don’t necessarily make our lives happier–when it came out in January.

It’s a fascinating topic. We all know raising kids is tough work with fewer rewards than challenges. But no one says it. And if we don’t talk about it, we can’t figure out how to make it easier and better.

Jennifer, because she’s delightful and brilliant, was invited to give a Ted Talk, one that has almost 1 million views. You must check it out. Her findings and aha-moments will blow your mind. But more than that, she will help you put words to feelings you’ve had so you can deal with them. Ultimately, being happy parents is our goal. So what is the first step to you being a happier mom? Watch this video and see if sparks any ideas.

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You Were a Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou had an uncanny way of deeply touching all women, especially those of us who have experienced racism, neglect, abuse, self-doubt and hardship. This beautiful, famous poet had a way of reaching into our hearts and heads and making us feel understood and supported. Maya Angelou created stronger feminine energy during her time on this earth. She sparked our thoughts, imaginations and, most importantly, gave us permission to be sad and to be strong. She celebrated the woman and the human experience and all of the richness that life brings.

As you may have heard, Maya Angelou died in her home in North Carolina this morning.

I had the pleasure of meeting her twice, and I felt honored in her presence. She had the aura of a great sage. She was so loving and strong and tall that I cried when I got the chance to say hello. And I will shed a tear today for this dear lady and role model who I loved so much.

My favorite lines of hers–and I have read and reread every single word she’s ever published–are these from the poem Phenomenal Woman. I take this to bed when I’m sad. I read it at my dear aunt’s grave. I share it with my daughters for no reason at all. I can’t wait until they are old enough to read I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings.

Goodbye, Maya Angelou. You were a phenomenal woman. Thank you for sharing your life and words.

May the Lord keep and protect you.

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
(first stanza)

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


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Take Back the Power in Your Family: Tips from ‘Permission to Parent’

According to renowned expert Robin Berman, M.D.–you have probably seen her on TV–parenting has become more of a profession than a relationship. She’s written a popular new book all about it called Permission to Parent. Her no-nonsense approach encourages adults taking back the power in the family. Kids have become the center of the world–and Dr. Berman believes we need more balance. She offers tons of tips you can take home and put into action right away. This book can make you and your child happier while improving your relationship.

For a taste of her take on parenting, Dr. Berman compiled a list of tips straight from her clinical practice for Mom Must Read. Keep reading!

5 Tips for Taking Back the Power in Your Parenting

1: You would not feed your kids junk food all day, so don’t feed them junky thoughts.
How we talk to our children is how they will one day talk to themselves. You are the voice in your child’s head forever on automatic replay.  I beg you to delete from your parental vocabulary, “You should be ashamed of yourself,” and “You are so naughty, what a bad boy.” Is this what you want to teach your child about themselves? Think of choosing language as a way of loving your child. Take a moment to make your comments constructive. We want them to internalize a loving voice, not a critical one. So much of mental health is how we talk to ourselves.

2: You can’t parent without power.
Don’t be afraid to take your rightful position as captain of your family ship. Make sure your “No” does not mean “Maybe.”  If you set a consequence, follow through. Not finishing an antibiotic grows resistant bacteria; not following through grows resistant kids. Have a parent firmly in charge makes children feel safe.

3: Instructions for childhood should read, ”Handle with care,” not “Fragile will break.”
If you treat a child like they are fragile, they will stay fragile for life. Parents need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You must be able to withstand your children’s disappointments and negative feelings without rushing in to fix them. If you can’t handle their charged emotions, how will they learn to?

4: When it comes to parenting, check your ego at the door.
If you are screaming play-by-play instructions from the sidelines and are devastated when your 9-year-old loses his flag football game, you have to ask yourself if this is really about your child. Children often learn best when no one is watching. Many children today are losing their natural instincts on the field, as they are so busy looking at their parents (who are living vicariously through them) for instructions. Always ask yourself: “Is this really about my child, or is it more about me?”

5:  Parenting is not a project, it is a relationship.
We are so busy running our kids from ballet to chess club. We forget best head start any child can have is a deeply loving connection to their parents.

Neuroscience research shows that a loving, safe connected relationship builds a more resilient brain.  So let’s slow down and spend more time just enjoying our kids. Childhood’s greatest legacy is how we felt loved.

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