Establishing good writing habits and making the act of writing fun -- and not a chore -- will help your children tremendously on their lifelong journey of learning. Writing skills are imperative to success, even in today’s world where informal writing is accepted on a personal level. Professionally, our children’s written words will forever show their ability to communicate and demonstrate their level of education.
Writing at a young age helps our children in two very important ways: Writing helps them organize their thoughts and express themselves clearly. A good way to get children to do this is to ask them to write down what they want to say. Writing also helps children in their reading by putting letters and sounds together.
Below are some ideas to get your kids writing on a regular basis. They’ll feel proud when they accomplish these fun ways to communicate.
Everyday writing: Have your children help you write up your weekly grocery or “to do” list. Leave them notes in their lunch boxes each day and ask them to write you a note back.
Birthday cards: Home-made birthday cards for their friends and family are not only great gifts for the receivers but a creative way to show your kids how writing can make someone feel happy. They can combine drawing and writing to make special cards.
Say thanks in writing: Have your children write thank-you notes for their own birthday and holiday gifts, or when someone is especially nice to them. If the thank-you notes are to relatives, ask them to call your child upon receipt and tell them how thrilled they were to get a hand-written note from them.
Letters to family and friends: If family and friends live out of town, ask your kids to write them letters to tell them about their day, week, or a special outing they went on. Your children will be super excited when they receive a letter back, too.
Write a story on a visual cue: If your children like to draw, ask them to write a story based on a recent drawing they made. Alternately, you can choose a photograph and ask them to write a story based on what is happening in the photo.
Creative play into a story: If your children have created a make-believe world with their dolls or toys, ask them to write down a story based on this world. Get them to think about doing this when you see them actually in the middle of their creative play so they can try to remember the details. They can also write biographies based on each toy’s life: where they were born, where they live, who their parents are, who they are married to, who their children are, who their best friends are, what they like to do, etc.
The best way to get children excited about writing is to have them practice it often. Do not point out misspellings, incomplete sentences, missing words, bad grammar, or poor handwriting, which at this stage is part of the learning process. Focus instead on the content of the writing and any attempts at descriptive writing.