App Review: My Good Grief Journal for Kids
Author: Cheryl Kreutter
For both children and adults, writing and drawing are useful tools for unpacking grief. The “My Good Grief Journal for Kids” app for iPad, a digital grief journal created specifically for children, provides children both space and structure to record memories, thoughts and feelings about a loved one who has died. While an adult is required to provide guidance on the app, it is the colorful pirate-costumed parrot who prompts a number of “remembering activities” to which children may respond through writing, drawing, typing, video and audio recording as well as importing photographs and music.
One page asks the child to type what the loved one “liked doing best” and import a photo showing “the one thing he would rather do than anything else in the whole world.” The child is encouraged to type responses to the prompts “What I like most about this picture…” and “When I look at this picture…”
On another page, the parrot observes, “The day someone dies becomes an important part of our life story. That day marks the end of our time with them. Because we love them so much, the day is filled with many memories, thoughts and feelings.” In response, the child is prompted to record a short video of one memory, thought or feeling. Throughout the journal, the child might even choose to respond through emoticons.
Beyond the first two pages where the child identifies the loved one and his or her relationship (mother, father, grandmother, etc), the child is not required to respond to a particular prompt nor does he or she have to respond in a particular order. Having choices such as these makes the journaling more appealing for the user.
The journal may be saved on the iPad at any point in its creation, allowing multiple opportunities for adding and editing content. The content is entirely self-contained on the iPad, and deleting the app will result in all journals being erased.
Before using with a child, the adult should be able to navigate the app with ease. To build this expertise, adults might create their own journal. Not only will adults build confidence through hands-on experience with the app, but also they will have entries to share with their children. Through their guidance and sharing, adults can open conversations about grief with children. On the Welcome page, app creator, grief specialist and pastor John Lemasters notes, “Adults often don’t know what to say to their kids and fear saying the wrong thing. Whether from fear or inability, children can also find it difficult to give expression to their grief.”
My Good Grief Journal for Kids provides opportunities for expressing grief and opening these difficult conversations between children and adults.
Find My Good Grief Journal for Kids on the App Store for iPad or visit mygoodgriefjournalforkids.com.
From the pen of…
Cheryl Kreutter, Ph.D., holds her degree in Reading/Literacy and is on the faculty of SUNY Geneseo in Upstate New York. Through her teaching and research, she advocates journaling and book discussion to gain insights about oneself and others. She is the surviving parent of Navy Lt. Jason P. Kreutter.