Originally Published March 12, 2021
Is your child having difficulty when it comes to the writing process? Writing involves multiple skills which can be hard for kids. There is a wide scale of normal for kids of young ages, so try not to be discouraged if you feel your child is behind. With time and encouragement they will learn to write, and if you follow the tips below they may even develop a passion for writing.
We hear so often to model reading for our children. We’re told to keep books on hand, read with them as often as you can, and encourage them to read on their own. But what about writing? Think of writing in the same way you may have already thought about reading.
Just as with reading, we have done a lot to create a positive writing environment. Modeling the behavior and keeping materials on hand has made a huge difference.
What does a positive writing environment look like?
HERE ARE 7 WAYS WE HAVE CREATED A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR WRITING IN OUR HOME:
Keep Writing Materials Accessible
Stock up on note pads, index cards, stationary, and journals. This way when a moment for writing presents itself you have the tools needed to take action immediately. Keeping those items available will also encourage your child to try writing on their own when they are ready.
Demonstrate Writing in Daily Life
My husband and I do a lot of writing and therefore our kids see that as part of the culture of our home. Our daughter was making lists of her own since she was two. They use to just be scribbles but she gradually started filling the pages with real words! We still write letters to people or send them cards. We write down our dreams, write seasonal bucket lists, and write favorite quotes in a common place book. Modeling writing allows them to see the process play out without doing the work.
Storytelling Leads to Writing
We are a big story telling family. We spent the three last two years doing a bi-weekly poetry tea time. We read poetry, but we also wrote it! We would make up our own pieces and then share them, or we would write something together. Sometimes I would have my daughter dictate what she wanted to write and I would write it down for her (again demonstrating writing). We also regularly play a game where we each write until a timer goes off, then pass our papers and add to the story that our neighbor began. We might use a prompt, “The Foolish Dragon”, or “My Perfect Summer Day”, or just let each child’s imagination run wild, but it’s always fun and entertaining.
Include Writing in Play
Write menus while playing restaurant. Create a program or script while making up a puppet show or play. When my daughter would play vet she would even write out records for her stuffed animals. Including writing in those times when their imaginations are firing makes it fun and easier to digest than in the classroom.
Look for Writing Inspiration in Everyday Life
Be inspired by daily events to create writing pieces. For example the other day I had a purple felt tip pen dry out. I added it to a list of possible free writes: “The pen that failed me.” We may be outside on a walk and my daughter will yell out, “I have an idea for a writing piece: ”The windy day.”. Take note of actual events and keep them on a list for when we are lacking inspiration.
Free Write Friday’s
Make Friday’s a day for free writing. Again, demonstrate writing by doing free writing yourself as well. I feel it’s important to do it alongside them to model a positive attitude towards writing. Plus, it makes it more fun! You can share your work with each other, but don’t grade or correct. The point is to enjoy writing!
Don’t Force or Pressure Them to Write
We really lead by example in our house. If there is something we want our child to be doing, we make sure to do it ourselves. Everything from making our bed, to using manners, to writing and studying, our child sees us doing it. Modeling behavior is the quickest way to teach your child how to do something. Do you want a child to read more? Read more yourself. Want them to write? Write yourself. Children live their lives by what they see.
If you’re looking for more reading & writing activities for your young writer, check out The Precious People and The Kind Kingdom curriculum for 6-12 year old students. They both include a guided focus on reading and narration, plus incredible reading lists to deep dive into history. Help your child discover a passion for reading, writing, and learning with The Peaceful Press.
Check out all our curriculum, parent resources, and free printables here in our store.