If you want your children to be in touch with what they think and who they really are, then encourage them to write. Diving into the experience of self-expression is a way to pay attention to the world, within and outside themselves, and to experience what Natalie Goldberg calls “wild mind.” It’s about finding their voice.
If they’re game, then ask them to have fun answering these simple questions on paper:
What makes you laugh?
What makes you cry?
What do you say to the people you love?
What thoughts keep you up at night?
What thoughts help you fall asleep?
What do you know to be true?
What is evil?
What is beautiful to you?
What do you respect most in others?
What makes you curious?
If you ruled the world, what would you do first?
(Adapted from Mary Pipher’s Writing to Change the World)
Encourage them to draw a picture to go along with what they write, too. They’ll love that.