How old should kids be before starting a blog?
Should kids even have their own blogs?
What should kids blog about?
How should kids even set up a blog?
Is blogging safe for kids?
Maddy has been asking me to help her start her own blog for months now.
Months and months and months and months.
And just like the awful parent I was when she asked me to let her join the dive team five years ago, I gave her the Um, well. . . let’s just think about it a little, okay, sweetheart?
Dive team meant early–early!–practices and lots more on our summertime to-do list. It meant schlepping Owen and Cora around the town even more than we already did.
After a year or so of asking, I signed her up.
Now? Dive team has come to mean year-round training and has become one of Maddy’s–and Owen and Cora’s–most coveted activities.
Who knows if the situation will be the same with Maddy’s blogging, but after asking and asking and asking, we’ve finally got her all set up with her own blog. After all, blogging does get kids reading, writing, thinking and creating. So we thought we’d give it a go.
She’s ten, and she’s blogging.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Help Kids Start a Blog–Get Them Reading, Writing, Thinking, and Creating:
You can totally use any device for blog writing, but Maddy has really stuck with our Acer C720P Chromebook.
This spring we were asked to try out the Acer C720P Chromebook, and so far, my kids love it.
It’s small, it’s quick, and it’s light. And? It’s touchscreen which makes it a cool combination of a laptop and tablet. It’s a paired down version of our Intel AIO–which they also totally love–but which isn’t as portable as the Chromebook.
Anyway, here’s how I helped Maddy start a blog. . .
1. We looked at examples of strong blogs. I’ve talked about the importance of modeling before, and with blog writing, it’s no different. The best advice I can give to parents with kids who want to blog is to start a blog themselves.
The big thing with student blogs is that the turnover rate is super-high. Kids are busy. It’s hard for them to keep up with things, so it’s hard to keep up with blogging.
There are a few great ones to look at as examples, though:
- Call Me Hannah
- One Kid’s Life
- They Call me T
- Tolly Dolly Posh Fashion
- Kristin and Kayla
- For the Kids: Weblog of Elliot Mast
- Explore With Spunk
- Balsamic Camel
- Treehouse City
- The Crazy Cool Life of Miss Bossy & Miss Glossy
We also looked at this blog (ours, teachmama.com) and we looked at some of my good friends’ blogs. These are the women whom Maddy has grown to know over the last few years and whose children have become her good pals:
- Justice Fergie: Life is the Party
- Tech Savvy Mama
- A Parent in Silver Spring/ A Parent in America
- Teen Lit Rocks
- Live Do Grow
- Pink and Green Mama
We talked about how these blogs were alike and different, how they covered different ‘niches’ and how they used things like layout, text, and photos.
2. She and I sat down and filled out the blog brainstorm teachmama.com.
I created this handy little packet for a blog writing workshop I led at Digital Family Summit last year, and I have honestly handed it to a ton of friends and family members.
Essentially, it’s a quick guide for people who want to start a blog.
It has people reflect on a few blog-focus questions:
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What do you know a lot about?
- How can you help others with your blog?
And it covers some logistical and safety questions as well:
- Who will read your blog?
- Do you want to include your name? personal photos? your location?
- What adult will support you in your blog writing?
These questions are ones that the family should answer together, especially if your child is 13 or younger. Every family is different, so every family’s decisions will be different.
The blog brainstorm sheet also includes an empty calendar so soon-t0-be-bloggers can start an editorial calendar and a sheet filled with thought-provoking questions and topics which will (hopefully) help with blog writing.
If you want to download it and use it, go right ahead: blog brainstorm teachmama.com.dfs
Please, if you use it and share it (yay and thank you!) I’d appreciate if you shared from this blog post and not the pdf itself. Thank you!
3.We went to wordpress.com to set up her site.
Though this little bloggy blog here started on blogger.com, I’ve since moved to wordpress.org and am much more familiar with this platform.
I knew that if Maddy really began to take her blog seriously, we could quickly and easily move her from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Though there are differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, essentially blogs on wordpress.org are self-hosted so you end up maintaining more control over content and design.
And, even though wordpress.com’s Terms of Service clearly outline that users must be at least 13 years of age, I registered the blog under my own account. That means that I will always have editing control over Maddy’s posts, photos, and content.
Other sites that are worth checking out for hosting kid blogs:
- edublogs.com: no age limits with terms of service because it’s designed for students
- kidblog.com: great for a classroom or very large family
- Edmodo.com: incredible for connecting students in a class
If you know what you’re doing and want to head straight to buying your own domain name, try GoDaddy.com.
You may want to show your kiddos the video below from Edublogs:
4. She started designing, writing, and creating.
We’ve explored and played and created on picmonkey, which is the platform I use to create all of my photos. It’s easy. It’s intuitive. It’s fun for kids. (And adults.)
And that’s that. I have always been right there, helping her upload photos and talking her through decisions, but really, she’s done it all on her own from there. She goes in waves, like most kids with most things.
One month she’ll be nuts writing, taking photos and writing posts. Other times, she lets it go for a few weeks.
I have a feeling this summer will be a blog-busy one for one 10-year old in our house–which is fine with me!
Having second thoughts? Want a few beginner steps for your digital kid before they take on the blog? Check out:
- kids and texting
- kids’ reviews: speaking, listening, and planning
- online safety for families
- family media agreement
- tech-healthy family
- screen time cards
fyi: I am in a partnership with Intel AIO . Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value. Affiliate links are used in this post.