| |

IDEAS for Journaling {Now} to Your Adult Children {Later}

ideas for journaling now

Yesterday I told you about the journal I write {now} to my adult children {later}, and I promised to share with you several ideas about which you could write in your own journals to your children. So… here you go:

Journaling Ideas

Hands: I outlined my hands, you know, like we used to do in elementary school to make a turkey?  Someday, when I am gone to be with Jesus, I envision my daughters, my grandchildren, and generations beyond placing their hands in mine to feel my love for them, unbound by time and unfettered by the grave.

Apologies: Like all parents, I snip or raise my voice or make a choice that I know hurts my kids’ hearts.  Of course I apologize to them at the moment, but sometimes, I also write about it because I want them to have a record of those times when I recognized my error and was sorry for hurting them. And sometimes there is more to the story… details they are too little now to understand, but that later they will appreciate.

Books: As an avid reader, I’d love nothing more than sharing some of my favorite books with the girls, so I include special titles and authors in the journal with the hope that someday they’ll want to read them and (discuss them with me), too.

Drawings: I pasted in a few little drawings my daughter drew of our family and of our cat; and later, I added a sketch she made of us having a snowball fight. I dated the art and described it using not only her words at the time, but my thoughts and feelings about the messages the drawings seemed to impart as well.

Advice: There are times I would love to provide guidance about friendship choices or spousal characteristics or parenting styles or reading selections – the list goes on and on! – but I know that little ears aren’t quite yet capable of understanding or appreciating this direction quite yet, so I include it in the journal.

Observations: At every birthday, I make note of how my kids answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I also write about the love language it seems they’re displaying, friends with whom they spend time, ways in which it looks like God is speaking to their hearts, and strengths I see in them.

Milestones: Birthdays, preschool, kindergarten, making the cast for the play, winning a piano award, getting published for the first time… these events mark time and growth, and sometimes (but not always) I include them when there is a lesson either they or I learned as we journeyed through the milestones together.

Quotes: When I come across a great quote – words that might speak to a particular circumstance or life stage – I jot it down. If there is a really good photo or image, I’ll print it out and paste it into the journal.

Profundities: These are rare, but you know it when they happen.  Once, my daughter told me that she could draw “forever,” and then she proceeded to draw a dot from which the line of a circle came out and met at the other side of the dot.  I pasted that drawing in her journal because I thought it was a profound and mature image of infinity!

Funnies: One daughter used to call snowflakes “snow-flags” and the other, when she was potty training, would yell as she was running to the bathroom that she had “peeps.” Because there are ten years between my daughters, the youngest nicknamed the oldest “Audi” and she calls herself “Eenie.”  These are just a few of our “inside jokes” that, when read later in life, should jog some deep memories of childhood.

Photos: I don’t do a lot of these, and what I do include is random.  I stuck a selfie of my daughter and me in there, on the day she turned 12, for example.

Verses: When reading scripture and I come across a verse that speaks to me about a child, I’ll jot it down and explain why I’m praying it over her now, or I’ll describe insights I gleaned from it that I want to pass along.

Incidents: Revelations from anything huge that happens in a child’s life is fair game.  One evening, for example, my oldest daughter had a frightening bike accident that required immediate dental care followed by a visit to the emergency room, an entire summer of regular dental visits, a root canal, and now braces.  I wanted her to know how many people came to visit her and how, when she was hurt, visits from loved ones really helped; I wanted her to know how terrifying it was to realize that even though I was with her at the time, I couldn’t stop the accident from happening and how very frustrating that was for me.

News: Sometimes, the news is incredibly impactful, and I’ll write about how it affects me or our family.  For example, my oldest daughter was born just a few weeks after 9/11, and so I included my insecurities about our country – and her future – during that time.

Lyrics: Occasionally I’ll come across a song or a poem that speaks to my mom-heart so deeply that I cannot help but to write down every chorus and verse.  I then explain why the words speak to me, and how I hope the sentiment will speak to her when she is a mom, too.

So those are a just a few of my ideas.

Like the one word for one year challenge – there may be weeks and even months that go by when you are simply not moved to write to your children, and that is okay!  I keep my girls’ journals next to my bed so that I see them in the morning and at night, and that way I keep mindful of them even if I don’t write in them for a long period of time.

Finally, keep in mind that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to write to your kids.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and prompt you; I am confident He will!

Happy writing!


I’d love to hear your process!  How do you journal to your kids?

Similar Posts


  1. I used to write a letter to each of my babies on their birthdays… But then life got hectic and planing birthday parties got crazy and in the mess of it all, I would forget.

    I’ve had the thought of writing to myself about grandparenting, to read when I am blessed with grandchildren. My oldest is 5 and it was a hard transition between my parents and I, so I wanted to make it easier for my children by reminding myself about what I wish my parents had done.

    Thank you for this inspiration… I will definitely be buying some notebooks.

    1. I’m so glad you’re inspired, Cynthia. I like your twist… to write to yourself about grandparenting. Happy writing!

      1. I have a problem… I’m so focused on the fact that I missed out on the first years of my children’s lives (5 years, 3 years and almost 1 year) that it paralyses me from jumping into writing for them right now…

        Any words to overcome that feeling? I feel like they need a complete history of their lives… I know it’s silly to feel that way.

        1. Oh Cynthia, I felt that way, too, at the beginning. I started my older daughter’s journal when she was about two or so, and getting a “late” start almost made me NOT do it. Here’s what I’ve discovered, though: the older the child, the more there is to write! I did actually begin my younger daughter’s journal right when she was born. She is two now, but I still don’t have nearly as much to write for her as I do for my now twelve-year-old. I find that the more life a child experiences, the more wisdom I have to speak. 🙂 All this to say… don’t let the “late” start paralyze you. Instead, just focus on the 5-year-old because if you’re like me, you’ll find quite a bit about which to journal.

          1. Thank you Rhonda! I never thought about how there isn’t as much to write a 1 or 3 year old… Thank you for the insight and encouragement!!

  2. This sounds lovely! I can’t wait to begin journaling for my child(ren). Right now I have a twenty-one month old daughter, and it would be awesome to use some of these ideas as a kickstarter! Thank you!

  3. These are great guidelines to follow. Thank you Rhonda for sharing. I will be ‘borrowing’ some of these ideas. I try to take pictures of my children at different stages in their lives and my husband even created a video about my daughter’s first year. However, time is passing by so fast I am almost forgetting what they looked like as babies. So, I purpose to start being more concise in the recording of their lives.

    Peace to you.

    1. It is crazy how quickly time flies, and when we mark the time with any kind of record – be it a photo or a journal entry – it helps us to appreciate the moments again and again. Thanks for your words!

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I had started a journal for my now 6 year old daughter shortly after she was born. We also have 2 year old twins and I never started a journal for them. These are some awesome ideas. Thank you for inspiring me again!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Grace! I’m so glad to hear that you’re inspired to starting writing again!

  5. Ok, mine is not necessarily writing for my children as it wasn’t the initial purpose at first but my writing which started almost 3 years ago is mainly about myself; MY EXPERIENCES AS I JOURNEYED THROUGH LIFE AND HOW IT HAS INFLUENCED AND CHANGED MY LIFE IN ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE-WITH MY RELATIONS WITH PEOPLE AND EVEN THE VERY THOUGHT CONCEIVED, THE VERY EMOTION FELT AS AT THAT TIME IS WRITTEN DOWN so that even if my kids are born, I’ll keep their journal as well but if in case they go a similar experiences as mine, I will be able to encourage using the very JOURNAL I WROTE ABOUT MYSELF. I think that will help them ESPECIALLY DURING THE ADOLESCENCE STAGE.(As the WRONG CHOICES WE MADE during that time will prevent them from commiting those similar mistakes OR THE RIGHT CHOICES WE MADE AS WE FOLLOWED THE LEADING OF GOD AND SOUND DOCTRINE will encourage them to:

      1. Ok, Thanks anyway because IT’S ALL GOD’S IDEA AS AT THE TIME I WAS POSTING THIS COMMENT. So let’s thank the Lord for giving us this knowledge for us to improve day in and day out and let’s also pray that the Lord will continue to give us MORE IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE AND MORE DIRECTIONS TO GUIDE US AS WE JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE IN JESUS NAME I PRAY, AMEN.

Comments are closed.