If you are a young person or teenager, please keep reading.
If you are a parent, please skip to the bottom to learn why this could be the best thing you're going to give to your child for a long time to come. No, really. It could be that good.
We've got something rather special to share with you. It's the first in our MYOW (pronounced meow) collection. It's totally different to anything we have produced before. It's intended for children, teens and young people.
It's a journal planner like no other - it has a Kraft cardboard cover, which is entirely plain - intentionally so. It's ready for glitter, glue, stickers, crayons, inks and even paint should you want to put it on there. It's a blank canvas - there's no pre conception of who you are, what you like, your style or your outlook on the work. It can be decorated as much or as little as you want it to be.
Inside, the front cover is also blank, ready for you to customise it again. The journal planner itself is just as unique as you are. Starting on a Monday, on any week or month of the year, you can use your planner to document anything you want to. One week you might want to write about the dreams you've had. The next you might want to write homework in it. Perhaps you want to use it to keep track of sports results from your favourite teams? Or maybe you'll want to use it to write down the things you don't want to share with others. The things that you're not sure of. The things that you want to mull over. Half baked ideas can come to fruition safely in your journal planner.
The journal planner is even more special because each double spread has the days of the week on the left AND a page of lined paper on the right. This makes it perfect for free flowing ideas, rants and rambles.
Use it. Don't use it. It's up to you. The opportunities are endless. We'll start you off with around 50 different stickers in a range of sizes and styles. Mix them up. Use them for things that you wouldn't normally associate them with. The whole point of this Journal Planner is to make it truly yours - unique - just like you.
You don't have to commit to using it for any one thing - in fact - we recommend you use it for lots of different things - let yourself explore different ways of looking at your week, your plans and your life. Use it as a place to write positive phrases - read them out loud every morning and evening. Be your own cheerleader! Pom Poms are optional though ;))
Here's the bit for parents / educators / anyone is involved with young people....
The idea for the Journal Planner has come from conversations with a number of parents who want to encourage their children and teenagers to write. To write anything. Something. To find ways to process their thoughts, feelings and things that they can't put into spoken words. As a teenager I found my journaling to be a huge source of solace and in a world that is increasingly filled with selfies and over sharing on social media, fostering a love of writing, in private, can only be a good thing.
I'm joined in my thinking on this by Dr Amanda Gummer - Psychologist, Founder of Fundamentally Children who is herself a Mother to two teenagers. She said:
"Children are full of thoughts and feelings that they can’t, or don’t, always want to share with someone else. A personal planner they can confide in and truly make their own is brilliant for increasing their sense of self and encouraging independent, constructive evaluation of emotional situations - like fall-outs with friends."
Having seen our Journal Planner, Dr Gummer had even more to say:
"Journal writing offers a wonderful world for children where there are no rules and no adults watching over their shoulder! Kids and teenagers can bring the pages to life with marvellous pictures and colours, let their thoughts and feelings flow out through their writing, or express themselves in any other way that feels right to them. This pure outlet for personal exploration is an ideal way for children to discover and communicate who they are as an individual, strengthening their sense of self at a time when they are trying to work out who they are and where they belong.
The absence of pressure also means that children can safely vent their anger and express their anxieties, whatever they may be. In doing so children are not only getting these thoughts off their minds, but also getting a chance to revisit and more objectively evaluate these experiences with a clearer head.
In a fit of anger they might have hated their teacher for giving them a poor mark, but looking back they might realise that it helped them improve the next time. They might worry that a friend doesn’t like them anymore, but seeing it in writing they might realise that they themselves need to make more effort. This insight helps children learn how to deal with emotions constructively, which is a very hard skill to teach!"
So, if you're looking for a way to help your child with their increasing levels of self awareness, why not buy them a Journal Planner and encourage them to make it truly their own?
We'd love to hear from you with how your children are using the Journal Planners - we have ideas for more things - some aimed at younger children, some for older ones. It's all very fluid and we'd love for this to become a truly collaborative range. It really does take a village, so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and feedback.