Encouraging your child’s writing – 7 ways to inspire their creativity
Children are incredibly creative and need an outlet to constructively express themselves. It is therefore important as a parent to encourage them to develop these skills and to promote a healthy curiosity. One of the ways children tend to express themselves is by writing, whether it’s in a journal or by making up short stories that might seem like nonsense to an adult but perfectly encapsulate the innocent mind of a child. This article hopes to give you 7 ways to inspire your child to write and develop this vital skill.
- Make writing matter
The first step is to make writing matter, too many children feel like it is something they have to learn but not something that has any real value beyond the basic ability to communicate. Let kids write in their own words, it might not be pretty but it lets them get their thoughts out and not feel pressured to be perfect. Get nice paper for them to use on occasion and make sure there is paper available for them to write on when they want to sit and write.
- Play with words
“Most kids learn through doing and having tangible examples, it’s why play can be vitally important to a child’s development,” says educator Daniel Rusk of Oxessays and Essay Services. There are loads of games out there to play with your child that are word based and it allows your child a chance to play around with language and see what works and what doesn’t. Focus on the fun more than accuracy to begin with as it reduces the pressure kids feel.
- Create a journal jar
It takes a bit of effort on your part but it’s worth it. Get a clean empty jar and write down prompts for your child to write. Decorate the jar to make it attractive and make sure it is wide enough for your child to comfortably reach in and grab a piece of paper from. This doesn’t need to be a diary, this could be things like ‘if you could do anything for a day what would it be’ or ‘what animal is your favourite’. Just simple things that your child can write about daily.
- Respect your child
If your child says stop it’s time to stop, don’t force your child to continue a game or writing if they are finding it stressful or upsetting. By trying to force this you will likely end up making your child less likely to want to write and to enjoy writing. “It is important to respect your child’s feelings and to let them work in an environment that suits them,” reminds Jen Jackson, a tutor from StateOfWriting and Boomessays. Respect their ideas as well and never laugh at them for what they come up with.
- Make an ‘I Can’ book
This is easy to do and something that children can work with from a very young age. Staple or bid some paper together and get your child to record milestones in it in the form of ‘I Can’ statements. For example, ‘I can tie my shoes’ or ‘I can ride a bike’. It helps your child’s overall writing and is a lovely thing you can look back at together.
- ‘Convince Me’ letters
The importance of writing isn’t just telling stories or making reports or even logging their daily lives. Writing is a valuable tool that allows you to communicate and has given power to the downtrodden since the beginning of the written word. Encourage your child to write convince me letters for things like allowance, bedtime, chores. The catch to this is simply that your child needs to use facts and logic to back up their argument as well as quotes and other evidence. This can be difficult for parents who have strict rules to do, but you might be surprised by how convincing your child’s arguments can be and how contradictory you can sound to them.
- Reading is fundamental
The main thing to encourage children to write is to read with them and to encourage them to read. Not just stories of fiction but books about all sorts of topics. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, get them a non-fiction book about them. By encouraging your child to read they learn the beauty of words and expression and will find themselves wanting to express themselves similarly.
To summarise, make writing fun for your child and work with them to develop the skill. Respect their opinions and feelings, never laugh at something you may think is silly that your child is asking in earnest. Who knows you might have the next great author sitting in front of you right now.