Does your child hate writing? You’ve spent an adequate amount of time explaining what they need to accomplish and providing them with the tools to be successful. However, they immediately shrivel up in a ball and start whining. Additionally, they will literally sit at the table and twiddle their thumbs for what seems like hours. Rather than just write out the simple paragraph that they need to complete. What do you do? How can you encourage your child to write?
First of all why is writing important?
Sometimes the fight to get your child to write just doesn’t feel worth it, am I right? Your mind may gravitate towards thoughts like ‘Why do I need to have them write anyway? The world is digital!’ Occasionally, it might feel easier to just to write it for them and pretend that they did it. However, it’s extremely important to keep your child writing and encourage them to practice their writing skills. Why? Because your child will likely need to write nearly every day in their life. Your child will need writing skills in order to complete tasks, like filling out a form at the doctors office. Writing a letter, filling out a job application, signing their name on an important document and more.
Yes, the world has gone very digital. Even so, writing is still a huge aspect of life. When your child reaches high school, there are some assignments and exams that require the student to write short or sometimes even long answers using paper and a pencil. When it comes to work, writing might be an important part of their job in the future. Taking notes, administrative work, taking phone messages. Obviously, all of these tasks require the ability to write.
Aside from all of the practical reasons why you should encourage your child to write. Writing can also be extremely therapeutic. Writing has been known to be an amazing outlet, and way to express feelings that perhaps they verbally just cannot express.
How can you encourage your child to write?
First of all, remember that you aren’t failing as a parent just because your child is struggling to write. Teaching writing can be just as difficult as learning to write. Start by encouraging your child to develop strong writing skills from a young age. Then as they grow, continue encouraging them. If your child is now 8 years old, and you never took the time to encourage them to write, please don’t be hard on yourself. Your child will be able to pick up the skills that they need to write, in no time at all. We’ve compiled a list of ways to make practicing writing much more simple and obtainable for both you and your child.
Have plenty of writing tools around the house, and make a writing toolbox.
Inside their writing tool box include items like: Lined paper, construction paper, regular paper, coloured paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, rulers. All of these are items that you should have in your home for your child to utilize.
Brainstorm writing ideas with your child.
Are there certain topics that really catch the interest of your child? Chat with them about these exciting topics. Encourage them to draw pictures and then write small explanations about the pictures that they have created. In addition to this, have your child tell you verbal stories, and encourage them to write down their stories so they can remember. Even if their story is just a few words. Without a doubt they’re still getting essential practice in writing while using their amazing imagination.
Always include reading.
Did you know that reading is a stepping stone for better writing? It’s true! As reading has been proven to help strengthen kids’ writing skills. When your child is young, be sure to read together every day. While always encouraging their love for reading. Because when your child reads, they are expanding their vocabulary. Along with learning different spelling skills and gaining more knowledge.
Make Writing Fun!
Writing doesn’t have to be boring! It absolutely doesn’t always need to be writing sheets and assignments. In fact, there are so many fun ways to increase their love for writing, ways in which don’t include worksheets and pencils. Some of these ways include: Creative writing, crossword puzzles, writing a letter for a friend or family member, making up their own unique language, paint, sidewalk chalk and more.
Fun Writing Games:
Write the Word.
This is a simple and fun game. You will need to have a piece of paper and pencil ready. Additionally you will need some simple items that’s names are easy to spell. Example: brush, apple, car, toy, doll, pen, book.
First, show your child the item. Then spell the items name on a piece of paper. After that, tell your child to count to 10 while you hide the item somewhere. Now have your child find the item. Once they find it, have them spell out the name of the item on the paper.
Pass Around Story-Writing
For this you will need a plain sheet of paper, and pencils for each player. *Note there doesn’t need to be a large amount of players to make this game fun. It can be just you and your student.
First Sit in a circle, or at your table. Secondly, explain to your child that you are going to write a sentence. Example: “Jane was hungry to a pizza sandwich.” Thirdly, have your child write a sentence to go along with your sentence. Then continue swapping the paper until you’ve come up with a hilarious story to share.
Fill in the story.
This game is a lot like pass around story. With the exception that it’s a little more structured. For this you will need a paper and pencils. On the sheet you will write a story with missing sections. Then have your child read through the story, and decide what the missing sections should be.
Birthday and Holiday Messages.
This is truly one of my favourite ways to get my children to practice their writing skills. Every single holiday I have my kids write little cards to friends and family. Writing “Happy Thanksgiving” with their name over and over again is an excellent way to help them practice their writing. Alternatively, birthday cards are also an awesome way to include writing in a fun, giving activity.
Mix it up!
Contrary to popular belief, writing doesn’t always have to be with a pencil and paper. Have your child write a fun message on the driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. And there’s always paint! Finger paint? Maybe painting with a paint brush? Those are both excellent ways to increase their writing skills. Additionally you can have your child write friends or grandparents names on a picture that they painted. There are some other fun materials you can use for writing skills too! Like water with food colouring, or even salt.
Don’t stop them mid-writing.
It can be super tempting to stop your child mid writing because they have spelled a word incorrectly. Clearly, you just want them to spell correctly, I get that. However, when you stop your child from their writing to point out a mistake that they have made. This only causes more frustration and resentment towards writing (and possibly you). Avoid this at all costs. Let them write, even if you know that they are making mistakes. Because the reality is that they are still writing out the words, and doing a good job. Letters are still being practiced, and hand coordination is being utilized. So, don’t worry so much about spelling and grammar.
Encourage them to keep a journal.
I personally have always journaled, and as a result, my children have started to fall in love with journaling too. One of my daughters has so many journals, I don’t actually know if she even knows where they all are. It’s so important to write down our thoughts, even if it sometimes is messy, or words aren’t spelt correctly. Journaling is such an important tool when it comes to improving your child’s writing skills. Start by purchasing a special journal and pens. Then explain that this is their special book to write their thoughts in. More than likely they will cherish it and fill it with all kinds of beautiful words.
Be a good writing influence.
Our kids mirror what they see. So, does your child see you on a computer/tablet a lot? Or on your smartphone scrolling through social media? What about writing texts to friends? When your child is around, let them see you writing. The same goes for reading. If your child only ever sees you on your phone, they will then want to do that also. Alternatively, if your child sees you writing, they will want to write. Kids reflect what they see. So, aim to be a good writing influence.
Always make a big deal about their writing.
When your child brings a story, poem, or letter to you. Always read it. Never brush it off. Then when you’ve finished reading it, don’t point out the issues (spelling, grammar). Instead point out all that was good with their story. Constantly work to build them up and instil self-confidence.
Undoubtedly, you want your child to read and write without any issue. Nevertheless it’s important to remember that every child is different. Furthermore, every child learns in their own unique way and on their own timeline. If your child is struggling with writing, always remember to be patient first and foremost. When you put too much pressure on them to get it done and do it right. Their resentment towards learning will grow and not their love for it.
Take it slow, be patient, caring, positive and encouraging. And above all remember, good things take time. Just because they’re taking a little longer to figure something out doesn’t mean that they are falling behind or failing. Additionally, it doesn’t mean that you are failing as a parent, or as a homeschool parent.
Every so often these concepts take time to learn and master. So, be patient and supportive. Your student is bright and they will be just fine.
Is your child also struggling with reading? Check out this blog: ‘Why Does My Child Hate Reading?’
Resources for this blog:
Oxford Learning ‘How to Improve Writing Skills for Kids’
Colorin’ Colorado ‘Helping Your Children Develop Strong Writing Skills’
Parenting First Cry ‘8 Creative Writing Games’