As they move into their tweens (age 8-12), girls exponentially expand in creativity. Their imagination takes flight, adding complexity, detail, richness and variation to their writing, games, art and learning, along with their choice of books, music, clothing, decor and activities.
She’s developing a vivid imagination. Help her use it to reflect and pray.
During this time when imagination is flowering, think about introducing your tween girl to mental prayer--the prayer of the imagination and heart. Fill her imagination with the beauty and richness of God.
She may love to read Gospel stories and imagine herself in them. What would she do in that situation? How would she act and feel? Who would she be in the scene? What would her reaction be to Jesus’ words? How does she think the people in the story feel?
Is your tween a visual person more than a reader? Encourage her to meditate on religious art like the Stations of the Cross to help feed her creative imagination with faith.
She’s learning how to reflect on her feelings. Give her tools to process them in a healthy, God-centered way.
Gone are those toddler days when your girl would simply act out in the moment! You may not have enjoyed those tantrums, but at least you knew what she was feeling.
Tween girls are learning how to keep their immediate feelings inside and express them later. They can feel impatient at church, but remain quiet in the pew anyway. They can get a really ugly birthday gift, but still smile and say “thank you.” This newfound ability is a double-edged sword, however, making it more difficult for adults to perceive what’s going on inside of her.
Tweens are also learning how to process feelings more maturely; how to reflect on past events and decide consciously to alter future behavior based on experience. They take pride in learning things “on their own” and then sharing their knowledge with adults.
This is a perfect time in life to give girls books, journals and other resources that help them to reflect on and express themselves, their experiences and feelings, faith, ideas, virtues, role models, etc. in a guided and safe way.
Once they have internalized what they have learned, they can be encouraged to share their newfound knowledge with caregivers who can guide and encourage, fill in any blanks, provide food for thought, and recognize trouble areas that need loving attention.
Build this trust-based communication with your daughter early on, and it will last a lifetime.
We developed our Love, Kindness and Joy Devotional Journals on these principles. We hope they serve as a special “place” where girls can encounter God through imaginative activities, art and creativity. We hope too that they serve as a springboard for parents to talk about prayer and faith with their girls, guiding them into maturity with a loving and gentle hand.