Childhood is one of the most creative times in a person’s life. Without the time constrictions on free time that adults have, children can write daily. Whether free writing, journaling, or writing stories, writing is a useful skill. Since children have many distractions (technology, even siblings and sports), you can inspire young writers not only to take the time to write, but also to enjoy writing, with a few tips.
Inspire Your Child Not Only To Write More, But Also To Love Writing
Writing should encourage joy in your child. Never make writing a punishment or unhappy activity. Instead, share with your child how much you enjoy writing. Show them something you wrote (a letter, email, or text is fine if you don’t write much). Explaining that writing is important to you will help your child understand why writing matters.
How To Inspire Young Writers
As a mother who loves to write, I enjoy sharing this passion with my children. Writing is part of my life, and I hope it becomes part of my daughters’ lives too. Check out three tips to inspire young writers to truly see themselves as writers.
1.) Help your child become a better writer.
Struggling with basic literacy skills can make writing an unhappy experience. Build your child’s skills by setting time aside to read together. Since children copy their parent’s behaviors, you can read separate books near each other. Quiet reading time is a nice, calm time in my home. We also have quiet writing time. Sometimes I write articles, while my daughter works on writing books and short stories.
Read children’s books aloud often. I try to read three children’s books aloud everyday, although on busy nights, it’s only one or two. Sometimes, instead of focusing on the story, go over the spelling of words or sentence structure. Start this at a young age, and continue as your child gets older. Ask questions about the story, and encourage your child to question the story aloud too.
Ask your child about the author’s point of view and background. Since my daughter was a toddler, I pointed out the author’s name and explained the author’s role in creating the book. We also talk about the publisher and the illustrator – even the copyright date and the place it was published – to help her understand how a book is made. Last year, she loved being able to interview an author via Youtube, and was excited to receive a video response. Check out the article about this fun experience here.
Visit book festivals, and go see authors read their books aloud. Connecting with authors shows that writing is about more than just the technical skills, while revealing that with an imagination and determination, you can get a book published.
2.) Give your child the supplies, time, and space to write.
Double check that your child has everything necessary to write. Take a special trip to a bookstore to pick out a journal with a nice cover (or two). I also keep many inexpensive composition books around the house. Having easy access to paper at all times makes writing a simple activity to do. Double check that your child owns a good pencil sharpener – the electric kind is best for sharp pencils – and some mechanical pencils as well.
Block out writing time for your child. Whether you set aside time daily or weekly, a schedule is important to have or you won’t make it a priority. During this time, don’t mention chores or homework. As long as your child is writing, you shouldn’t interfere.
When you are setting up a writing space, a desk is ideal. Writing space should be separate from the craft area. In my home, the art table is never clean. Double check that there is plenty of natural light as well as a lamp for writing in the evening.
To give your child the space to write, check that the area is quiet. If you have multiple children, encourage them to write separately at the same time. You can also have the older sibling be a peer teacher to the younger one, but make sure that you give the older one time to write without distractions too.
3.) Provide prompts and feedback.
Listen to your child’s writing. Make a big deal about finished writing projects, and help bind them into books or allow your child to type them on your computer.
Do shared writing activities together. Even updating your social media can involve teaching your child how to write. Sometimes I ask my daughter to pick out her favorite picture from our day together, and she helps me come up with captions to write. We can do this during out busy work and school day without setting much time aside.
Writing doesn’t have to be quiet time, sitting in isolation in front of a paper. We play many games at home that teach storytelling. You can check out some cooperative writing games and activities here.
When your child is doing independent writing, help with prompts and suggestions. To help your child get started on a story, check out this list of More Than 50 Writing Prompts For Kids.
If you see a place that could use more details, ask questions about the story. Encourage your child to add descriptive words and to explain what happens next.
What makes you want to encourage your child to write? Share in the comments.