My teen’s newly discovered favorite activity, bullet journaling, may or may not be a miracle on paper. Bullet journals mix a planner, journal, scrapbook, sketchbook, and health guide into one individualized book. A good portion of the fun of these books is creating the content into something ideal for you. People can write, draw, chart, and copy whatever feels most important to them, in a way that is completely unique.

When my teen got off her phone and closed her computer to pull out art supplies, I held my breath. Then a few minutes later she asked, unprompted by me, “Mom, what would be a good habit for me to start?” I looked around, wondering if there was a ventriloquist in the room. She ultimately decided a good habit would be to pick up her things at the end of every evening. Seriously. I didn’t even have to bribe anyone!

Summer break is a tricky time when you don’t necessarily want to bog down your kids with extra worksheets or intense instruction. Of course you don’t want their brains to bog down either! A project like this that engages creativity, organization, emotional connection, and research holds the key to keeping the mind at work, while giving the schooling a rest. Even better, it is entirely self-lead and individual, so there’s no need for you to monitor what’s going on in there!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bullet journal: the “bullet” refers to the printed pattern on the interior pages. Instead of lines or graph paper, rows of dots guide any drawing or writing, but tend to disappear visually when looking at the whole. You can find these journals in many shapes and sizes online or in craft stores.
  • Markers and pens: Preference will play a role in what exactly your kids will use to write, but something thin and bold that won’t bleed through the pages is always a good idea.
  • Ruler: To help with chart construction.
  • Decorations: Extras like washi tape, stickers, and scrapbook paper can inspire pages or cheer up more dreary ones.

Ideas to Journal:

            Organization

  • Draw a calendar with space to write things
  • Keep track of money earned
  • Track new habits

Goal Setting

  • Create bucket lists for travel, summer, life, the current month, and so on
  • Make lists for what you want to read, watch, or do.
  • Reverse it and make HAVE Read, Watched or Done lists

            Mental Health

  • Use a mood tracker to look back on your overall emotions for a month
  • Keep a list of things that make you grateful
  • Write out reminders or strategies for when you feel depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed

There are more ideas than pages in a journal if you search Pinterest, YouTube, or Google. Kids can choose what is most appealing or inspiring to them. Just don’t forget to leave a few pages at the beginning for a Table of Contents. All of the amazing work in the world won’t do much if you can’t find it!

Once you dive into the pool of ideas, or watch your kid voluntarily better herself with excitement, bullet journals become weirdly seductive … so much so that I went and bought myself one too. For the next few weeks, you can find me with my teen, scribbling my life into the pages of a book!