“Dear Daughter” Diary

posted on October 21, 2011 by  |  posted under Family Time, Girls, Parenting  |  60 Comments

Dear Daughter Diary

Do you have children? Grandchildren? Nieces and nephews? Do you ever wish you could take a peek into the inner workings of their young minds? I do. A lot.

A bit of personal history (bear with me). I am a girl. Shocking, I know. I was never what I would call a “girly” girl growing up. I rarely wore makeup, I didn’t enjoy dresses, I was more concerned with school and grades than boys and gossip. I remember thinking “I just don’t GET girls!” Fast forward 10 (okay maybe more like 15) years and I am the mother to FOUR girls.

Dear Daughter Diary

I adore these little ladies, but sometimes I really don’t feel like I know what is going on in their heads. I worry that I’m not communicating with them very well, and I wonder if I am doing a good job teaching them to become young women. While browsing the web one day, I came across an idea that I knew I had to implement. The article was about writing letters to your kids, but I knew that I had to do something more interactive and something that would KEEP for years. So, let me introduce…the “dear daughter” diary.

Dear Daughter DiaryThis may look like an ordinary notebook, but it is like a magical passageway into my child’s mind. For the price of a journal (be sure to get a good quality one that is meant to last) you can gain a close and lasting relationship with your child. Here is what you do. Take turns writing letters to one another. This can happen as frequently as you’d like! My girls write in it nightly and I reply the same day. I don’t want to miss a thing! The letters can be about absolutely ANYTHING that you want – from secret crushes, to questions about geometry, the sky is the limit. The idea is to get communicating…regularly. The idea is to have a safe place for your child to pour out their heart, and for you to do the same. Here are a few ideas of what you might write/ask:

  • “Tell me about some of your experiences at school today . . .”
  • “Who is your favorite teacher? What do they do to inspire you?”
  • “Tell me about your friends . . . what do you like about them?”
  • “What was the nicest thing someone did for you today?”
  • “Who do you most admire and why?”
  • “What was your happy moment today?”
  • “What made you smile today?”
  • “What do I do that you appreciate and would like me to carry on doing?”
  • “Where might you like to live and why?”
  • “What would you still love us to do together?”
  • “If you were granted three wishes . . . what would they be and why?”
  • “Is there anything you would like to change about yourself or your life?”
  • “Tell me about your goals and aspirations”
  • “What can I do to help you achieve what you want?”

What have I gained so far? It’s kind of unbelievable. My children have come out asking me questions that I would never have guessed were floating around in their heads. They have shared personal experiences and included me in the fun moments in their day – especially the ones I would have otherwise missed, or even (shudder) brushed off. And in turn, I get to take a few precious moments to sit and reflect on my feelings for that child that day. It helps me remember the little things that might have slipped my mind, and allows me a medium to express my appreciation for them and show them that those little things are not going unnoticed. It is also the perfect venue for sharing bits of wisdom when you feel prompted to do so :)

Dear Daughter Diary

To share a small example, I wrote in my daughter’s diary how touched I was that she took the time to read to her little sister before breakfast. I commented on the wonderful big sister she is and how her little sister would remember those moments and grow to love and admire her. Another daughter made dinner while I was at a photo shoot, and I was able to express my admiration for the cook she is becoming and comment on the wonderful wife and mother she is training to become. They shared fun thoughts and asked great questions…everything from “Can I plan a Halloween party before Halloween? I’ll only invite 1-5 friends. PLEASE?” to “How old do I have to be to wear a training bra?” SO FUN!

Dear Daughter Diary

This is an idea that takes a very small investment in money and time, but pays out HUGE in so many ways. Just imagine the piece of family history you will be creating, and how meaningful this journal full of letters will become to your child in times when they may feel alone or in the future when they are mothers/fathers themselves. My children feel loved, special, and HEARD which is so very, very important. It is a great place to jot down counsel or guidance, to express love, to laugh and be human together. And you are creating a priceless piece of family history that will be meaningful for generations to come.

Dear Daughter Diary

This is a small and simple thing, but I try to remember: “There is NO WAY to be a perfect mother, but there are MILLIONS of ways to be a GREAT one!”

Dear Daughter Diary

I don’t want to ruin the magic in this post, but I have to break in here and tell you about something exciting we have coming very soon because it fits too perfectly with this post. Mark your calendars for the second week of November when HowDoesShe turns TWO! Happy Birthday to us!


We will be giving away FREE gifts to EVERYONE and it just might include a beautifully bound  journal that can be customized with your own pictures. :)

Stay Tuned.

    1. October 21st, 2011 at 6:06 am
      Joanna says:
      Great idea! Do you have a separate diary for each daughter? Think my girlie and I will go do some journal shopping! :)
      • October 21st, 2011 at 4:06 pm
        Shelley says:
        Wait! We've got free journals coming in 2 weeks!! :)
    2. October 21st, 2011 at 7:18 am
      Jennifer says:
      LOVE this! I, too, am the mother of four girls ... we just may have to give this a try. To clarify, though: you have a separate journal for each child, correct? Or do you share one? Thanks so much for sharing this!
      • May 24th, 2012 at 11:46 am
        Bobbi says:
        Yes, I have a separate journal for each daughter - completely separate and private for each of them :)
    3. October 21st, 2011 at 7:19 am
      Heather Lynne says:
      I LOVE THIS!!!!
      Thank you so much for sharing this idea!
    4. October 21st, 2011 at 7:40 am
      maureen m. says:
      Awesome!! Communication is so important and I especially loved your questions...many of those were us in the car coming and going:) How lovely to have an even more comfortable way to share things you might not want to say out loud (or in front of siblings). I hope lots of moms take advantage of this great idea!
    5. October 21st, 2011 at 7:42 am
      Dawn says:
      What a fantastic idea! There are so many times my daughter and I just pass each other and don't say a word. And like you, I wonder what's going on with her on a day to day basis. At the same time, I miss having a close relationship with her. She was never that kind of baby...didn't like snuggling or playing with me...she just wanted to do her own thing...ALL the time! Now she's settled down more and I think I've just gotten used to how independent she is, which is wonderful, but I also think she's still needing some Mom guidance and inspiration.
      I could do the same thing with my son...it's so hard to get into his head sometimes, even though he's more open with his feelings.

      I think I will give this a whirl and see where it takes us! :) Thanks!
    6. October 21st, 2011 at 7:58 am
      Peace Love and Rainbows says:
      LOVE THIS!!! we have something similar a blog that is private and my oldest and I write back and forth :) I'm going to download it and make it into a book :)

      My youngest and I have a notebook where I'll ask her something and she tells me what to write and now she is using her best guess spelling (what a great memory for her to have)

      Off to buy more notebooks!! I think 1 for each girl with notes from me and 1 for them to have to write to each other sounds great!!!

      thanks for this wonderful post!!!
      • October 21st, 2011 at 10:20 pm
        Julie says:
        Hey, I like the additional idea of a journal for the sisters to write to each other. My girls actually had come up with a similar idea of writing notes to each other, leaving it on the bathroom counter, but my 6yr old sort of ruined that by writing less than nice things (she can have a bit of a potty mouth sometimes). I bet if they have a *nice* journal that they know they will keep, they'll be inspired/motivated to keep it nice.
        Thnx for the idea!
    7. October 21st, 2011 at 8:58 am
      Missy says:
      BOBBI. wow.
      Thank you for sharing this. It is magical.
      And these pictures of you and your girls...priceless. You have them captured on film beautifully, now you are capturing their hearts on paper. Love it.
    8. October 21st, 2011 at 9:47 am
      Mandy says:
      Definately going to do this with my girls. Thanks for the great idea.
    9. October 21st, 2011 at 10:41 am
      Alison@howdoesshe says:
      Love this and love the pics! Thanks Bobbi!
    10. October 21st, 2011 at 11:15 am
      Julie says:
      I saw this idea on Pinterest a while back and pinned it - I think it's a WONDERFUL idea. Now I just need to remember to do it when my lovies are big enough to read and write back!
    11. October 21st, 2011 at 11:32 am
      Nesleirbag says:
      Every now and then you guys come up with something profound. This is one of those times. I LOVE all of HowDoesShe's posts. They enrich my life.
    12. October 21st, 2011 at 12:31 pm
      Shelley says:
      so so so sweet. melts my heart.
    13. October 21st, 2011 at 3:34 pm
      Katie says:
      I absolutely melted! My baby is only 18 months but I cannot wait until I can share this with her! Thank you...what a wonderful idea!
    14. October 21st, 2011 at 5:15 pm
      Bobbi says:
      Yes we have a separate journal for each child. That way it is private and special :)
    15. October 21st, 2011 at 6:10 pm
      Sanny says:
      Wow this is very wonderful. I have two daughters, 4 & 1, this is something that I definitely plan on doing. :)
    16. October 21st, 2011 at 10:23 pm
      Julie says:
      I am another mom of 4 girls (10,8,6 & almost 4). I LOVE this idea as well! I know my girls will too. I love Peace Love & Rainbows' idea too of another journal for the girls to write notes to each other.
      GREAT ideas!!! I don't know if I can wait 2 weeks to implement this idea (I'd probably forget), so think we'll go journal shopping tomorrow! But imagine the journals will fill up in time, so extras would always be good, right? :)
    17. October 24th, 2011 at 9:20 am
      Anonyvox says:
      Oh, that's lovely. I definitely want to do it. When my daughter was born, I started a "Letters To" her column on my blog with a montly post. I've since had to re-start at a new blog, but have saved all of those previous posts and plan to get them bound in a hard-back copy for her some day.
    18. October 24th, 2011 at 11:08 am
      Sallie says:
      I have a 16 year old daughter (17 in a month!) and we did this a couple of years ago. It was really helpful and a great way to learn more about one another. enjoy. They grow up way too fast. (-:
    19. October 24th, 2011 at 2:09 pm
      Caley says:
      My husband and I have a love journal that we write in and leave on each other's pillows or suitcases when we have to be apart! I love the idea for daughters! Definitely going to try it someday! ;)
    20. October 24th, 2011 at 3:01 pm
      Angie says:
      I love this idea! Thank you for sharing! I have 3 kids - two of which are boys. I think my 10 year old son would enjoy this just as much as his twin sister!

      Love your site and am glad I found it!
    21. October 25th, 2011 at 12:29 pm
      Shauna says:
      I love this idea. I have a son (who is only 3 right now), but I think I will start now by writing to him and as he gets older incorporate him writing as well. It would be cool if I could get his Dad involved too - I totally bet he would, he's a good Dad like that;)
    22. October 25th, 2011 at 12:59 pm
      Julie says:
      WOW! I LOVE this idea. I have had an empty journal staring at me for about a month and I have been trying to get motivated to start it and this is absolutely PERFECT for it. Thank you so much for posting! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
    23. October 25th, 2011 at 3:57 pm
      Krissy McLean says:
      I love this!! I am also Mom to FOUR girls (ages 10, 8, 3 and 2 months...and we have ONE boy smack in the middle at 6 year!!!). I often find that life is so busy that i don't really get to talk with them in meaningful ways. The journal idea would be such a blessing for my two that are readers and writers!! Might even do this with my fella as well. Thanks so much for the post!
    24. October 26th, 2011 at 12:18 am
      Sharon says:
      Hi Ladies,

      Thank you so much for all your wonderful ideas! This journal for daughters sounds amazing. I have a book about different stages of my life i have made for my daughters, who are 25 and 18, I feel good about starting a journal for them at this moment, as the one is going through difficulties in her life and marriage, and the other ready to graduate from High School...thank you for this wonderful site and suggestion.

      I must tell you, not living in the USA sucks when it comes to all the freebies etc, i get so excited, and then realise, its only for those that live in the USA....so ladies on this site, be very grateful! :)

      Thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas!
    25. October 26th, 2011 at 8:44 am
      Laura/Readerwoman says:
      I only have one daughter - the light of my life - and when she was a teenager we did this very thing! Our journal wasn't as lovely as yours, I admit! I would write notes, leave the journal under her pillow, and she would respond. Sometimes she would initiate the conversation, and write notes to me. She is almost 32 now, and the mother of two boys - but your post brought back lovely memories!
    26. October 26th, 2011 at 10:11 am
      The Scrapbooking Housewife says:
      That is such a fantastic idea! I have kept a journal since my youngest was 27 months, but never thought that it could be a two-way communication tool!! Fabulous! My daughter is struggling with learning to read, so this may be a great little incentive for her. Thank you so much for the inspiration! :)
    27. October 26th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
      Marty says:
      Thank you for this post. How amazing this idea is. And what a great way to get my daughter to express herself! We have a great relationship but sometimes things get so hectic that i wish we had more time in the day. This will also get her writing. She's self conscious of her abilities to express herself on paper. She's only seven and I know that, aside from the great relationship we can develop through this, it will help her expand her writing.

    28. October 26th, 2011 at 5:45 pm
      Alecia says:
      thanks for the awesome idea! as of right now we have no kids and will not be having them until a couple of yrs from now till we both are out of college. i as of right now just start writing a journal about big events to my future child i guess you could say. i want them to know its okay to make mistakes and other things like that and that yes mommy was just like them once upon a time
    29. October 26th, 2011 at 6:01 pm
      Monica says:
      i am running behind on reading blogs that i follow but so glad that i had time today to read yours! i absolutely love this idea. i only have one child left at home-16 yr old daughter-and we are experiencing lots of happy/sad moments this year with the passing of my dad and some illness with my husband. i have been worried about how this is all effecting my daughter as she is not one to open up about her feelings but she is a writer and this would be right up her alley (so to speak). thank you so much for sharing this and i think i will be shopping for tomorrow!
    30. October 26th, 2011 at 6:50 pm
      Petina says:
      Oh how I wish I had a girl now...what fun it would be to share the girly things of life! Maybe my 7 year 'son' will go for this, being a single mommy is hard, and this is a GREAT idea in order to communicate with him better, thanks for the idea, I am LOVIN it!!
    31. October 26th, 2011 at 7:25 pm
      L2L says:
      Oh wow, this is perfect not just for girls but I'm going to start this with my son as well!!!!! Oh to wait 2 weeks, can I can I?!?!?!
    32. October 27th, 2011 at 7:07 am
      Vilmarys says:
      This is such a great idea and I can't wait to get started with my daughter. And I was just thinking the other day that I should get a journal. Now I have a reason why...it's going to be really hard to wait 2 whole weeks, lol.
    33. October 27th, 2011 at 7:31 am
      candy says:
      This is a wonderful idea! I have a granddaughter that I don't see as often as I would like, and I think this may bring us closer! I want to start today!
    34. October 27th, 2011 at 1:33 pm
      Kate Chavez says:
      That is a great idea. I have been writing a journal for my two girls since they were born, but what a great idea to write letters to each other every day! You guys are such a great site! Thanks for all your super ideas!
    35. October 27th, 2011 at 2:30 pm
      sugarlips says:
      This is a great idea!! It will be so fun to look at years later, and a good memory.
    36. October 29th, 2011 at 6:31 am
      Tania says:
      I love this idea thank you soooo much for sharing!! Sometimes it's easier to share things in writing than it is to talk face to face and think this can open up so many doors of communication especially during the hormonal pre-pubescent and teen years! Can't wait to do this with my own daughter!!
    37. October 29th, 2011 at 4:32 pm
      Megan Williams says:
      I love this idea! I have a step daughter who is 19 and she went through some rough things before we finally got custody of her and I often wonder simply "Are you ok" or "do you know I am here for you" but it's hard to say those things without actually scaring her off. To top that off, I have a 10 year old who has witteness all of the things that finally got her big sister HOME to us and I wonder what she knows and what she wants to know. I also wonder if she has a boyfriend and if she really understand what a period is and that it's coming anytime now. Silly to think I am a mom and have a hard time talking about these things, but when something huge changed in my house I think we all loved each other more, but we also started walking on egg shells. This could be a great tool to get us all talking and maybe laughing again!
    38. November 4th, 2011 at 11:08 am
      Michelle says:
      I love this idea! My girls are old enough to write what they feel, but young enough where we'll be able to see the history of their childhood and keep some beautiful memories.

      Thanks for sharing this!
    39. November 16th, 2011 at 1:06 pm
      Natalie says:
      This is so wonderful- I'm doing it! At what age did you start this? My oldest daughter is 4, so she can't write yet. Is there a way to do it without having to write? Maybe she could draw a picture instead? Hmmmm....
    40. December 6th, 2011 at 9:55 am
      Lauren Simms says:
      EXACTLY what I wish my mom had done with me, and what I hope to do when my girlie is old enough :) Thank you!!!
    41. December 29th, 2011 at 12:51 am
      Janferay says:
      I am giving this to my 9 year old for her birthday tomorrow. Thank you for this.
    42. January 27th, 2012 at 5:12 am
      Debbie says:
      I absolutely love this idea. I have become only too aware of how quickly my girls are growing up and how I have become way too busy to enjoy them as much as I should be. I am implementing new ideas to improve in these areas of my life, I will most be starting this idea over the next few days (need to find time to buy the journals) - thank you for a wonderful idea.
    43. February 23rd, 2012 at 6:59 am
      Audrey says:
      I am so thrilled about your post. I began a letter book to my child for her to have later on in life but I love the incorporation of your daughters in the book as well. Really special. Touched my heart. Thank-you.
    44. September 11th, 2012 at 11:01 pm
      Helen B. @ Blue Eyed Beauty Blog says:
      This is such a wonderful idea. I had already planned to write a journal of sorts for each of my future children, but this idea is so perfect for when they're a little older and can write! Thanks for sharing!

      Blue Eyed Beauty Blog
    45. January 27th, 2013 at 4:01 pm
      amy says:
      What age was your youngest when you started this? I have two girls, 4 & 2, and I'm wondering how I can adapt these ideas to start this with my four year old since she can't read or write on her own. Maybe I'll recite a question to her and have her draw me the answer as a picture?? Just curious when you started this and if there are any rules. I feel like girls have so many questions that can be embarrassing for them, but being able to write it down and NOT have to TALK about it, can help them in communicating those embarrassing things. With those topics, do you let them know that the communication can stay on paper? I'm so nervous and so excited about having two girls, I just want to keep our communication strong and open.
      • January 27th, 2013 at 9:55 pm
        Bobbi says:
        I would say...there are NO rules. You can decide what will work best with YOUR child, and go from there. I think with younger children, who aren't yet able to write their thoughts - prompting them to draw pictures is a wonderful idea. I bet they would love for you to draw pictures in reply, as well! I didn't begin this with my girls until they were about 8 years old. I made it very clear that no one but Mommy would see these journals, and no topic was taboo. I hope that helps!
    46. March 22nd, 2013 at 10:53 pm
      Amanda says:
      Love this idea.
    47. March 23rd, 2013 at 5:22 am
      Beth says:
      What a wonderful idea. It is so easy to let the day slip by without really discussing important moments or worse still moments when our children need our help but don't know how to ask! I can't wait to go and buy some journals for my kids tomorrow. I love it!!!
    48. April 7th, 2013 at 6:49 pm
      Stephanie says:
      This idea is truly magical. There is nothing better than connecting more closely with the ones we love most. Thank you for providing a useful tool to help us all do just that!
    49. October 27th, 2013 at 3:02 am
      Joke says:
      This post is just what I needed!
      Just wondering how you keep the sisters from snooping around in their sisters journals?
    50. November 12th, 2014 at 1:16 pm
      Samantha says:
      This is wonderful! My daughter isn't quite old enough for this yet (she's only 4) but you have inspired me! I'm thinking of writing a dear daughter journal, telling her of the great things I see or we do, and the silly little quirks she has. Also I'll let her "write" in it, she write me notes all the time, of course she has to read them to me lol. Thank you so much for sharing! I am so glad I found this page!
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