Simple Exercises of Therapeutic Writing for Children

Writing is a valuable tool for children to develop positive qualities and learn to manage their emotions from an early age.
Simple Exercises of Therapeutic Writing for Children

Last update: 22 April, 2021

With the advent of new technologies, children writing by hand less and less. But handwriting has great benefits for their emotional development, especially when used for the right purposes. If you want to know the benefits of therapeutic writing exercises for children, read on.

Therapeutic writing is a simple but valuable emotional management strategy. It can be difficult for children to identify, understand and process what they’re feeling at a given moment. However, writing opens a door for us to shape our thoughts and get to know ourselves better.

Therapeutic writing exercises for children

1. Gratitude journal

Therapeutic writing can have a variety of purposes. One of the most important is to help children develop an attitude of gratitude towards life. Gratitude is one of the strengths highlighted by positive psychology for a fuller and happier existence.

So, if we raise children to develop this quality, we’ll be giving them the gift of always being able to find the kind side of life, of people and of themselves.

To achieve this, one of the most useful and simple exercises is a gratitude journal. It consists of children keeping a diary or notebook where they can write down three things they feel grateful for every day. This exercise can be done in the morning, before going to school, in order to start the day with a positive attitude, or at night, before going to bed, to remember all the good things that happened during the day.

Simple Exercises of Therapeutic Writing for Children

It doesn’t have to be big things. They can be thankful for a sunny day, for a nice meal Mom made, or for the fun they had playing with their friends in the park. Recognizing the value of these everyday situations will promote optimism and a sense of fulfillment in children.

2. Managing emotions

Therapeutic writing can also help them process negative emotions. The coping strategies we develop to deal with painful experiences determine the degree in which they’ll affect us. Therefore, it’s essential that children learn not to run away from emotions, but accept and manage them appropriately.

When they’re going through an adverse situation, encourage them to write about how they feel for 10 minutes every day. Let them express in writing, without fear or limitations, everything they experience, what makes them angry, what scares them…

This will help them to accept all their emotions as something natural and not repress them inside. In addition, if they wish, they can share their writings with you so that you can guide them on how to act appropriately.

They can do this exercise every time they need to deal with an emotional state of sadness, anger, anxiety, frustration… For example, when they have a fight with a friend, when they fail an important exam, and even when they’re grieving the loss of a loved one.

Simple Exercises of Therapeutic Writing for Children

3. Other therapeutic writing for children

  • Each morning, write down two reasons why your day is going to be nice, special or enjoyable. Write down two events of the day that you’re looking forward to. This will encourage a positive and optimistic attitude.
  • At the end of the day, write down how the day went, twice. First focusing on the negative aspect, and the second time, writing down only the happy events. With this exercise, we encourage children to understand that there will always be something negative, but also something positive. It’s up to us to choose what to focus on.
  • Self-esteem diary. Here, children write a positive adjective about themselves every day, and accompany it with a narration of the situation. For example: I am a good friend because I helped Peter with homework he didn’t know how to do. Or: I am brave because I dared to speak in public in front of the class even if I was afraid. Let’s remember that self-esteem isn’t built on empty flattery, but on children taking on and overcoming challenges.

In short, therapeutic writing is a simple and very beneficial tool. We can use it to foster positive emotions, to develop healthy attitudes or to manage emotions appropriately. Finally, these exercises are a good way for children to adopt the habit of relating healthily to their various emotional states.

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  • Seligman, M. E. (2014). Niños optimistas. DEBOLS! LLO.
  • Fernández, E., & Bacon, F. (2013). Invitación a la escritura terapéutica: ideas para generar bienestar. International Journal of Collaborative Practice4(1), 27-47.