How to encourage a love of writing in your child
Find out what developing a passion and skills for writing in your child is important, and how you can start them at a young age.
When we are still children our parents teach us many different skills we need in life, including having good manners, behavior, beliefs, socializing, having empathy for others, love, etc. Many o these are taught naturally and instinctively, without our parents even realising they are imparting lessons.
However, as use of technological devices increases, it’s becoming harder for children to pick up some key skills – and in particular writing. More children today are playing video games on PCs, phones, or tablets and it shapes their everyday routine.
Socializing with friends in person is becoming old-fashioned for many – a situation that has been exacerbated over the past two years by the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. many schools have also been closed, which has resulted in children spending more time at home, not seeing their classmates or a teacher.
That’s not to say that children aren’t learning how to write, but it’s certainly become less important and less practiced than in previous generations. Writing as a profession or even a hobby does not hold the same level of appeal for younger generations as it once did. (Also not helped by the demise of printed media.)
But it wold be very sad if we lost our passion for writing, or fewer children opted to practise and improve their writing skills. Think of the wonderful novels and plays, and investigative journalism we would potentially lose if talented writers of the future chose another profession.
With this in mind let’s look at some of the ways we can encourage children to develop a passion for writing from a young age.
Start by encouraging a love of reading
Almost as soon we are able to talk – and often before – we are exposed to the joy of reading. It starts with our parents reading us bedtime stories. And then develops as we play with book toys, progressing onto simple books that our parents read with us to help us start to grasp our first words.
But how is developing a love of reading connected with writing? These two things are more closely linked more than you think. If children love reading, they will also eventually develop a passion for writing too – or at least that is the idea. Reading and writing natural bedfellows; it’s hard to love one without having an appreciation of the other.
Many children work out how to examine situations before they figure out how to compose. Indeed, even before they know how to do it, they might be excited about storytelling because you read to them. The more you read stories to your children (and demonstrate your own excitement and joy for the written word) the more you expose them to the wonder and excitement of reading and books.
Just by reading to your child you can instil a love of storytelling and love of books… which can later progress into a desire to create their own stories.
Practice writing with your children over time
Another way you can help your child fall in love with writing is to practice it little by little each day. Young children are not grown up enough to read paper writing services online and understand them. But by practicing reading and writing continually, their comprehension and writing skills will gradually improve over the years. And they’ll move from simple stories to reading and writing complex university texts and theses!
Of course they’ll learn and practice reading and writing at school. But this can be complemented at home by encouraging them to read a wide range of books, and instilling a passion for writing. Why not ask them to write letters to penpals? Create their own story books? Write and perform their own songs and plays? Create scrap books with annotations of holidays?
The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ is apt for reading and writing. The more you do it, the better you get at it. And the better you get at it, the more you enjoy it… (you can see where we’re going here)! Children will also mimic you. So if you are an avid reader and writer; if you demonstrate to to them by example how joyful and fulfilling losing yourself in a book, or writing something of your own can be, they’ll observe and mimic your passion.
For this reason, while it can be tempting to correct every mistake they make, leave much of the lessons to school, and instead focus on creating and building passion.
Show them the benefits of writing
If your kids are not yet interested in writing, it can help to show them why they should care about it; to find their personal motivation. If you are an accomplished, persuasive writer, you have a significant advantage over your less capable peers.
Even if you don’t pursue a writing career (such as a novelist, journalist, blogger, playwright etc), writing is an important life skills. At university you may need to demonstrate your skill at writing an interpretive literary analysis, for example. And in the workplace you’ll be asked to produce reports, write emails, and ask pole to help you, buy or do something. Even applying for a job requires writing skills. And the difference between getting what you want and getting left behind can lie in your ability to write persuasively and competently.
Your children don’t want to wait until their lack of writing skills holds them back to try to catch up with their more able peers. It’s far better to start young and grow their passion and ability to write as they progress through childhood. And who knows? Having a better grasp of language may one day help them achieve an advantage they may otherwise have missed out on.
Help your child to fall in love with writing
So how can you help your child fall in love with writing – and build their skills as they grow up? They’re never too young to start. From the moment they can hold even a rudimentary tool in their hand you can encourage them to put writing implement to paper.
As a toddler help them to tell stories by making marks on paper with a crayon or paint, or doodle on a blackboard. As they get older, provide them with whatever tools they are drawn to. That may be a diary or notebook and pencil, or they may prefer to write on a laptop. Whatever it takes to help them build their passion and their skills, encourage them, and they’ll thank you for it one day.