Does your child hate to write? Is he good at everything else, knows everything from ABC to 123 to rhymes and even learns his question-answers well, but doesn’t want to write? Well, hello from a fellow mom in the same boat! I have been struggling with this for quite a few years now. I did a lot of things to encourage my son who simply doesn’t want to write. Some worked and others did not. I am sharing my tips with all those of you who are struggling with children who hate writing.
As my blog started gaining popularity, I started receiving a lot of messages from moms who wanted friendly advice. I was surprised when I received not one, not two, but three emails from different women, all asking for the same thing. How to encourage their children to write? I was able to relate to this problem right away. My son has been resisting the pencil for too long now. From Nursery to Grade 2, his teachers have only complaint – he does not write or he writes too slow. A good chunk of my time goes in helping him finish his classwork. With constant efforts, we are now at a stage when the ‘incomplete classwork’ is a rare occurrence.
I have tried to encourage and motivate him in these ways from the age of 2 to 6. If your child hates writing too, I hope these tips help you too.
1. Play Doh
The clay doesn’t help kids to write, but playing with clay helps in strengthening their hand muscles. Most children do not write because their hand muscles are not strong enough to grip the pencil properly. Playing with modeling clay helps the hands and fingers become strong and flexible. Lack of fine motor skills can cause even intelligent children to not want to write.
2. Write in Sand/Flour
This was my first step towards encouraging writing. Kids often love to write where they are not really supposed to write. Encourage them to write in sand. Or spread a handful of flour in a large flat plate and ask the kids to write in it with their finger or later, with a stick or a drinking straw. This helps them make shapes easily and writing seems less difficult when they are required to do it on paper. The key is to give them a bigger canvas to write on before they start writing in a smaller space i.e. a notebook.
3. Pretend Classroom
One thing that kids love is to pretend to be a teacher. Get them a chalk board, some chalks and a duster and set up a pretend classroom for them. I gave my son a chalkboard decal (Santa did, actually) that turned a portion of our terrace wall into a blackboard. The results were miraculous. That same evening, I actually saw my 4 year old write a 4 sentence essay on ‘Jeep’. Writing on a different medium and pretending to teach imaginary young students had encouraged him to write. Doodle and wipe-off boards are also of great help in encouraging kids to write.
4. Writing Letters
For 4 and 5 year olds, writing in their notebook is a chore, but writing a short letter is much more interesting. Think of someone interesting to write to. One letter that does not fail to bring results is ‘Santa Claus’. I gave my son some nice stationery to write a letter to Santa to tell him what he wants for Christmas. He sat down to write at once and even managed to write some big words like ‘power rangers weapons etc.! He also loves to write to his penfriend.
5. Diary/Journal Writing
Kids as young as 4 years can start their own kiddie diary. And they love it! Give them interesting prompts everyday and they will love to write 2 to 3 lines about it. I will do a dedicated on diary writing prompts for kids but here are some examples:
- If my favorite toy could talk, what would it say?
- If I could make my own toy, what would it be?
- If I could change the colors of the sky and the grass, what color would I paint them?
- What has been your favorite gift?
Give them stickers etc to decorate their diary with. They can also make pictures and doodles to decorate their diary.
6. Pretty Stationery
I thought I was giving myself an excuse to shop, when I started looking for pretty stationery. But this trick actually worked! Look for unique and creative pencils, crayons, erasers, sharpeners and notebooks. They make the kids want to use them! A unique twist on the regular piece of stationery or a favorite cartoon character can encourage the kids to write. Our diary writing attempts began after I bought these ‘light up’ notebooks for my kids.
More super cool Raksha Bandhan gift ideas! How cute are these light-up notebooks from @babyoodles! . . These notebooks are the beginning of something new – my son will start his first ever journal/diary. He is not very keen on writing and this has proved to be the perfect push! . . Along with creative writing, I also hope to improve his handwriting and speed. Stay tuned for more on this topic on the blog later this week. . . #stationery #notebooks #disneyprincess #marvelavengers #superheroes #princess #lightup #stationeryaddict #schoolsupplies #homework #study #writing #handwriting #homeschooling #giftideasforkids #rakshabandhan #rakhigifts #shoppingforkids #backtoschool #backtoschoolshopping #mommyblogger #indianmom
7. Constant Positive Coaching
It is very easy to yell at the kids and tell them that they are the only ones who are not able to complete their classwork. How is everyone else able to do it? But one look at your child will tell you that they are already conscious about that fact. In fact, it makes them feel morose. Instead, I use plenty of positive ways to talk and explain how we can spend time doing other things in the evening if we did not have to finish the classwork every single day. A little ‘star’ from the teacher on finishing the classwork makes them feel like they have won a trophy! These two things together – positive encouragement from me and the teacher – have done more than everything else combined.
8. Writing Correctly
One reason that kids do not write quickly and find it a tiring job is that they are not writing the letters as they should. In case of my son, he has developed his own ways of writing some letters. He does not necessarily follow the traditional flow when forming the alphabet. He just, somehow, manages to make the alphabet look like what it is supposed to. But this wrong way of letter formation costs him a lot of time and extra effort. By correcting his way of forming the shapes, I was able to quicken his speed a little and cut down the effort it took him to write something. Tracing patterns and alphabets, cursive etc make for good practice.
9. Daily Speed Test
Another tips for increasing speed and efficiency in writing is to spend 2 minutes writing daily. Set a timer and ask your child to write something out. Check how much he could write in the specified time and make a note of it. The next day, ask him to beat his own score. He will try to increase his speed and write some more in the same time. Do this every day and at the end of a week, show him his performance chart. You will notice an increase in the amount of content written in the same amount of time. This is also a great way to make the kids concentrate on writing without distracting themselves with other thoughts.
Ok, I am told very often that I am a little too relaxed as a parent. But really, do we know of anyone who NEVER learned to write? We all learn these basic skills sooner or later. The problem arises when our child does it later than everyone else. It is a competitive world and I totally understand the need for our kids to not fall behind. It is not good for their own confidence levels. But if it comes to the worst and your child simply does not improve his writing skills or speed, just relax – he or she will do it in their own time! Always remember to love them unconditionally or they will have no emotional anchors to rest their fears and worries upon.