Children tend to have a vivid imagination. They always bubble with new ideas and thoughts; however, at the same time, some of them do have troubles capturing those ideas on paper.
It isn’t surprising, actually: while writing can be an interesting subject, it doesn’t always seem like that to children. For many of them, learning to write and practicing writing has nothing to do with creativity: learning is a dull and boring process, while writing practice can be very stressful. When you are assigned to write something on a certain topic (that doesn’t always interest you) over a short period of time, you don’t have much time to let your imagination flow.
However, if we simply leave it like that, we’ll most likely find our children struggling with their writing for years: in school and even later in college. In order to avoid it and let your child’s potential writing talents bloom, you can try to provoke their interest in writing. Here’s how you can do this.
1. Tell stories.
Ideas don’t come from nowhere: they appear from your life experience, from the books you read, and from the stories you hear. Your child might not have a thrilling life yet, but this doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to fill their life with stories that are both interesting and inspiring. Read books to your child, encourage them to read on their own, and don’t forget to tell stories from your life too.
2. Encourage early writing.
Not all children start writing only once they are taught to. Some do it from a very young age: this might not look like the writing we’re used to, but if they are trying to write something and to deliver a certain message, they are still doing it. You have to be supportive there, encouraging your child to write more. This will help them develop the right attitude towards writing, viewing it as a joyful process, not as an obligation.
3. Play writing games.
Yes, children do have their writing assignments in school, but most of them aren’t actually interesting. Your goal here is to show your child that writing doesn’t have to be boring – instead, they are able to write about things they like and enjoy the writing process. Writing games can help you with that. Some of them are designed for developing the vocabulary, while some encourage story writing and other aspects of writing. Choose the games that suit your child’s age and interests the best.
4. Create a writing space.
Writing becomes more interesting when a child has all the necessary tools as well as a proper space. Every creative person needs such space where they can sit, concentrate on the creative process, and let the ideas flow. Moreover, you don’t actually have to spend too much money on it. A simple quiet corner with a table and a chair will be enough. Don’t decorate it too much too: the simpler it looks, the easier it will be for a child to concentrate on the writing process.
5. Show your child that you write.
Children do view adults as an example. That’s why it would be weird to encourage your child to write all the time when they actually don’t see you writing at all. If you do consider writing an important skill that has to be developed, try to become the example your child needs. Spend at least some time on writing every day. You can write letters, write in a journal, or even try to come up with a novel.
6. Write stories together.
Writing on a given topic is one thing, but writing a story is completely another. In the first case, the writer is limited by the topic, in the second case, the writer chooses the topic themselves. Moreover, writing a story allows you to invent new characters, letting your imagination run wild, as well as develop the plot, improving your ability to build logical connections. It’s a great practice; however, it can be hard for a child to come up with a story on their own, especially when they are quite young.
That’s why you should try doing it together. You can try a simple way: start with one sentence and let your child write another one, therefore building the story slowly but surely. Or if your child already has a bit of experience, you can encourage them to write a story on their own and then help with filling all the gaps in the plot.
7. Pay attention to the grammar, but don’t overdo it.
The grammar and spelling are the tricky parts here. Of course, there’s no point in focusing on every mistake your child makes during writing. After all, your goal is to motivate them to write, not start overthinking their writing too much.
However, you have to notice when your child makes mistakes simply because they are too focused on writing and when they do so because they know you won’t pay much attention to it. You have to ensure that they don’t take it carelessly. Yes, that can be tough, but it’ll come with practice.
8. Support them and encourage them.
One of the most motivating things for children is their parents’ love and support. Show them that you actually appreciate their efforts. Praise them for their writing, while encouraging to write more at the same time. If they do manage to write a story, try turning it into a book with a bright cover and numbered pages. And when the stories start getting more serious, encourage your child to participate in various writing contests and writing programs.
While writing can be a boring process, you can easily change it with the help of these tips. I hope they’ll help you to provoke your child’s interest in writing. If you have some extra tips or stories that you would like to share with me and the readers, please do so in the comment section below.