Anyone who knows us knows that my daughter is a talker but sometimes even I receive the dreaded “fine” or “I don’t remember” when I ask her how her day was. So I was totally intrigued when I discovered My Bright Journal by Irina Negovan, an interactive parent-child journal designed to encourage quality time together and a better understanding of your child.
We’ve tried daily activities before but always given up when other responsibilities get in the way. Somehow, having a structure which is simple and fun really helped us stick to this journal and even now, after 3 weeks Piper still loves sitting together to complete the daily page and find out what the next activity is.
The journal contains 84 page spreads, each with the same sections for observations – we all know how much kids love structure!
Each page spread contains space for:
Nature Observations, we drew pictures of bugs we saw on the way to school, talked about our pet dog and described the weather – we have had snow recently!
Food Notes, where you can write what food the child eats and then work out how those foods make them feel – this isn’t a food diary so we stuck to new things Piper loved or foods she has tried that she didn’t like!
Gratitude Corner, this is an area where children can note three things they are grateful for each day and I was surprised to find that it was the hardest part for us to complete. Even though she is not an ungrateful child, Piper struggled to come up with 3 things and would revert to family, friends and her dog each day. This was a brilliant eye opener for me and taught me to discuss what I was grateful for each day to help give her some more ideas and now we’re at “Toys, YouTube and This journal” – I hope this is something we continue even after we have completed the journal.
A topic of the day, this is where you can really open up and learn about your child, topics range from “what is love” to “think up a monster and describe it”. I loved learning how very creative Piper is and how emotionally insightful. Often simply discussing the suggested topic gave me insights into her day we otherwise wouldn’t have discussed.
Scientific Fact, these were fun, fun, fun, Piper loves science and even before we received the journal we would test each other with trivia so she loved finding out new bits of info to amaze her friends with. Somehow she seems to have retained all these facts and tells everyone who’ll listen that snails have 25,000 teeth – who knew!!!
Creative space, there’s also space on each page for your child to write or draw whatever they want. Sometimes Piper would, sometimes we left it blank
On the left of the spread, there is a daily activity, some pretty quick such as writing your name in doodles, some a bit longer such as a recipe for blueberry muffins (we didn’t have the ingredients but we made scones the next day instead). The activities are suitable for ages 5 – 10, even though it’s a pretty wide developmental span they can be completed with as much or as little detail as possible – I can’t wait for the surprise day where the activity is to make breakfast for your parents!
I recommend completing the journal at the table or in your child’s bedroom each day but didn’t stick to this religiously, we even completed it in the car on our way back from London the other day.
Make sure you read the instructions at the start of the book so you understand how it works, it gives you some hints and tips on starting the conversation.
If you love travelling like we do I think this could also make a brilliant travel journal, it’s small enough to pop in your hand luggage and I genuinely think you’ll get more out of it than some of the other travel activity books I’ve taken away with us in the past.
In all honesty, we haven’t completed it each day, (probably 5 out of 7), sometimes we just can’t and often when we’ve dedicated 20 mins to it, Piper has wanted to rush forward and complete another page. I think the beauty of the journal is that it can be flexible to suit your child.
One last point – this one’s a keeper, I can’t wait to go back through our journal in years to come and remember Pipers state of mind when she was seven!
In summary, I’m so glad we discovered My Bright Journal, it surprised me just how much we have got out of it as a family and how much more I’ve learnt about how Pipers mind works. Even though I was sent this one to review, I think I’ll be buying a copy for all my friends’ kids over the coming year. My Bright Journal is currently £13.50 on Amazon, a total bargain in my opinion!