Want to help your child’s future academic and professional career? One of the best ways that parents can help their child succeed is by giving them the tools and encouragement that they need to become fluent writers. It’s not always easy to encourage young children to write any more than they have to; however, with a bit of creativity, parents can sneak in a bit of writing practice in a way that feels like fun, not work.
1. Don’t worry too much about grammar, spelling or the kinds of things that they are writing. You’ve probably heard that it’s not so important what a child reads so long as they are getting reading practice. The same goes for writing. Do help your child as they ask you, but avoid the temptation to correct them too much and take all the joy out of writing. For young children, the challenge of holding the writing instrument, organizing what they are going to say and doing it is enough.
Expose your child to many different forms for written expression (poems, short stories, plays, comics, etc.) and let them decide which ones they’d like to try. They will be much more eager to put pencil to paper if it’s a project that they are enthusiastic about.
2. Give them the materials and space that they need to write in comfort. Make writing easy for your children by providing them with a comfortable table or desk and access to writing supplies. The area should be well-lit and your child should be encouraged to keep it tidy and well-organized (with a little help from mom and dad).
Fun writing and art supplies make excellent gifts and can help motivate your child to write. Look for notebooks in all shapes and sizes, diaries with locks, novelty pencils and pens, stamps and other materials that will allow your child to create written works of art.
3. Let them show off a bit. Always be an eager audience for you child. That doesn’t mean that you have to go overboard with the praise, in fact, it can be detrimental to your child’s motivation to gush mindlessly over everything that they write. Instead, let them know that you are happy to see that they enjoy writing and pick out one or two specific things that you liked about the piece.
One good way to let your child show off their work is by encouraging them to write plays, poems or songs that they can perform for an audience (even if it’s just you and their stuffed animals). Many children enjoy using puppets to act out their scripts, especially if mom or dad agrees to be one of the performers. If you have multiple children, suggest that they work together to put on a show!
4. Introduce them to the joys of mail. Ask family and friends if they would be willing to be a penpal for your child. Email is fine and has the benefit of being quicker, but don’t forget about the charm and excitement that comes with getting a letter or card via traditional mail.
Let your child decorate their letters with stamps, stickers or drawings. As the responses come in, they are sure to be motivated to keep writing!
5. Let them be their own publisher. With the help of a computer or video camera, your child can publish a family newspaper, write a blog or film their own original performances. Having a tangible product come out of their work is very gratifying and lets your child see how their efforts can pay off.
The next time your child puts on a puppet show or recites one of their original poems, record it and for later viewing and to share with family and friends. Help them make a collection of their stories and essays and make it into a book. This can be as simple as letting them decorate a three ring binder and putting each piece inside as they complete it.
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The more your child practices writing, the more comfortable they will be with the process. This will be a major benefit for them as they grow older and are called upon to write reports and essays for school. Children who are confident, fluent writers are at an advantage in today’s society where written communication is paramount.
As a writer and father of five, Jacob Maslow understands the importance of helping children develop strong writing skills.Jacob is a regular contributor to several publications and founder of Daily Forex Report and Legal Scoops.