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I am a mom of two beautiful children and one of them is a natural writer while the other is not. I have seen how anxious he feels when he is unable to produce a paragraph or a few lines. I have watched him getting worried about his homework or classwork that involves writing. It can really start to feel frustrating.
It’s important to note that just like grown-ups, every child is different and they learn things differently. Although the way they learn might be different it is critical that they learn certain skills, suchas writing and communicating effectively. So I have had to find out-of-the-box methods to encourage my child to write.
These methods are also how I teach my writing classes as all kids respond differently to different methods. This article is for all the parents who want to encourage their kids to write while helping them not feel anxious.
Before we dive into how to encourage kids to write, let’s look at some of the reasons why students might feel unwilling to write.
Addressing these challenges requires patience, consistent practice, and understanding how your kiddo responds to a particular environment or learning style. Here are some interesting ways that you can help your children get excited about writing.
Encourage children to write using physical objects as inspiration. For example, if your child has just finished a lego structure, have them take a picture and write about it. You can ask your child to gather a few of their favorite objects such as toys, figurines, or natural objects from outside. They can then weave a story using these objects. Adding these activities as well as different physical objects can help ignite their imagination and provide a basis for their writing.
Although traditionally, writing is considered an activity that is done quietly and by oneself, it doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. You can involve the entire family in a collaborative writing game. One person can start a sentence, and then each family member can add a sentence to it. You can do a few rounds of these to see what story is formed at the end. This activity helps children to see writing as a fun, shared experience and provides a supportive environment for them to practice their skills.
Children will find writing an engaging activity instead of a boring one if you ask them to write about things that they care about. For example, if your child’s birthday is coming up, ask them to write down the plan for the party. Help them organize the essay into sections like brainstorming themes and venues, planning for food and activities, and buying party supplies. Don’t forget to have them write a retrospective of how they liked the party once it’s over.
Developing writing skills need consistent practice, and so it doesn’t need to be a special topic or occasion. You can find inspiration in everyday things to encourage your child to write. They can write about their favorite food or recipe, their experience from a playdate they had with their buddy at a park, or writing a birthday card. You could even have them write a letter to their buddy or their imaginary friend. If your child is asking for a new toy or video game, have them write down why they want the toy and what they would be doing with it or how it would help them. Activities like these add purpose and excitement to writing and your children can practice their skills without finding it boring.
For younger children, starting off with telling a story via drawings is a great way to keep them motivated. Introduce them to the world of visual storytelling by finding graphic novels for them. Encourage them to write their story in a similar pattern where they draw a lot of pictures which combine together to narrate a story and then annotate them with words. They can also use speech bubbles to add dialogues to the characters in the illustrations. This combines creativity and writing in an enjoyable way.
We all know that positive reinforcement works best. While I am not asking you to avoid giving them suggestions to improve their writing, I am asking you to not lead with that. Start with all the wonderful things about their story first. Appreciating their work. Be their biggest cheerleader. While you are providing them with positive feedback I would avoid saying simply, ‘Good work.’ Instead find something tangible to talk about, such as, I love how you described the sound of the running water using different words. This will make them feel like their effort is being noticed and acknowledged.
I use these and many other fun activities in our writing classes to inspire the next generation of thinkers. Want to learn more about our story writing classes? Check us out here.
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