Writing is an activity that all people are going to perform at some point in their lives. We learn to write during the first year of school and we develop, improve and polish this skill for a long time. Even though at the beginning writing assignments are pretty simple, such as writing short stories about how your holiday was, as we grow, we need to face more challenges.
Writing is an important part of people’s lives and it takes motivation, effort, and perseverance to master this skill. There are grammar and spelling rules we all need to know. But how can you help your children learn and master this skill? And why is it so important to help them polish their writing skills?
Well, we are surrounded by languages in written form. As they grow up, children will have challenging essays to write. They will communicate with each other and develop friendships. When they will get a job, they will need to craft their resume and a cover letter. No matter what life has prepared for them, their writing skills will be put to test one way or another.
In a world that is constantly changing and evolving, where communication is mostly done through instant messages and emojis and where social media dictates the way people write, kids need to improve this skill as fast as possible. They need to understand that the way people communicate on social media, without punctuation and without following grammar rules, is not the right one. They will need to fill in forms, write essays about complex topics and write emails. As they grow, teachers and professors will have higher and higher expectations. Your kids will need to talk and write about sophisticated topics and they will easily do this if they have developed this skill.
So, what can you do to help your kids improve their writing skills? Now that you spend more time with them, you can encourage them to improve this skill. Here are 15 easy tips that will make your mission easier.
Discuss the Drawings Your Child Does
Writing is just another form of communication. Drawing and painting are other forms of communication, only more abstract ones. To be able to express your thoughts and feelings through writing, you need to be able to also verbalize them.
Kids are continuously developing their theory of mind and understanding of the world. Their ideas might seem basic, but they speak the truth. When they will learn to write, they will be able to express their ideas through writing. Until then, they are doing this by drawing.
Encourage your kids to draw and discuss with them details about their drawing. Ask questions such as: Is this our house? Does it look like ours? What are the people in this drawing doing? Discuss with your kids and show interest in what they are drawing and saying. This will help them improve their communication and they will express their ideas through writing easier.
Create Stories with Your Kid
Children have a rich imagination and for sure your kid has made up some stories in his head already. Talk with him about these stories and encourage him to write them down as you discuss them. Create new ones and if he doesn’t know how to write, you can do this. The process will help him get a glimpse of what writing means and it will be like an introduction to a new realm. Over time, it will be nice to read these memories.
Speaking, writing and reading go hand in hand. Reading helps children develop and improve their vocabulary, which means they will express their ideas easier. Some kids might find it difficult and tiring to write all the time, although some will love doing it. But reading can be a nice activity that will improve their writing skills. Kids will see how different words are used, will learn idioms and phrases and rules of punctuation.
Kids get bored easily. If they write at school, then at home when they do their homework and then when you give him a writing task, they will probably start hating writing. Instead, you can find ways to make writing a fun activity.
There are board games you can play and that will help them expand their vocabulary. For example, scrabble, a crossword board game, can help your kids learn new words. There is a wide range of word games you can choose from and that your kids will love.
As your kids are growing, you can find opportunities to write together. For example, if you create to-do or shopping lists, you can write them together. Maybe you still send postcards from your holidays; it is a great opportunity to write together some thoughts on your holiday.
Encourage Reading Aloud
Another tip that will improve your kid’s writing skills is to encourage him to read aloud. Reading and writing are so strongly connected and they need to be improved at the same time. You can encourage him to read some pages of the book he is currently reading. Or, he can read his own stories.
Listen to him and do not interrupt. Help him improve his writing skills by giving feedback. Be careful not to point only to his mistakes; they are natural and every child does some at the beginning. Be positive and supportive.
Support Your Kid When Writing a Letter or an Email
Even though writing letters is a lost art nowadays, there are a few people that are still practicing it. Even though it seems old-school, you can encourage your kids to write letters. Maybe they can write a letter to their grandparents to express their gratitude or tell them about their latest adventures.
If your kid has friends he can’t see right now, you can encourage him to write emails. Always support him along this process and give suggestions, but without interfering too much.
Encourage Your Kid to Keep a Journal
As they grow up, children may become less open to sharing their deepest feelings and thoughts. They might not be ready to discuss their emotions, but you can suggest another way to express them. Encourage your kid to keep a journal and write down his deepest desires and emotions. This is a nice writing activity he can do regularly and that will help him improve his writing skills.
Be a Role Model
We all know that kids are copying the behavior of their parents. They learn by seeing others doing it, so be sure you create opportunities when your kid can see you writing. Discuss with him the importance of writing, how it helps you express your thoughts and situations when you need it the most. You can give him examples from real life that he can relate to.
Do Not Write His Homework
Because parents have a deep desire to help their children improve and develop, they sometimes do too much. Writing a paper for your child is not an activity you need to do. Especially if he will use that paper at school and present it as his work.
Children need to make mistakes and experience failures to learn from them. Do not be afraid your kid will be sad, angry or frustrated because he took a poor grade. Support and encourage him to write more to improve and master this skill.
Encourage Him to Express His Gratitude
There are entire collections of books for children and they are constantly growing. For sure your kid has a favorite author he would like to meet someday. Often, these authors organize reading events for children where they read with children and discuss their way of writing.
However, these events are not happening all the time and it would be a pity to not offer your child the opportunity to talk with his favorite authors. The best thing is that most children’s books authors take time to respond to letters from their readers. Encourage your child to write a letter to his favorite author and to express his thoughts of gratitude.
Praise His Work
Learning how to write can be frustrating for some kids. They may be tempted to notice only the flaws in his writings and this may discourage them.
Parents should support the efforts of their children and praise their work. Be empathetic and offer suggestions when you feel he is open to them.
Suggest Copying Activities
Another activity that could help kids improve their writing skills is copying. Of course, this does not mean that you encourage plagiarism. But you can encourage him to copy the poetry he needs to learn for school. Or maybe he can copy favorite quotes from the books he is currently reading.
Encourage Daily Writing Activities
Just like any other activity, the more you practice it, the better you become at doing it. Kids who practice writing daily can rapidly improve their writing skills, so encourage your kid to do the same. Alternate the activities to prevent him from getting bored. Today it can be a cross-word puzzle, tomorrow writing a to-do list.
Use Story Prompts
Most children will feel intimidated by a black sheet of paper. They might find writing easier, but starting can be harder than anything. You can help your children and write or search online story prompts to help them start. You can write a few words he must start with. Or, you can cut images from magazines and encourage him to create a story based on the image.
Writing is an important skill everyone must master. However, it takes effort, time and perseverance to develop and improve it. Support your kid with learning this skill by encouraging him to write down his thoughts, feelings or stories he has made up. Find board games and make learning this skill fun. Always support him and encourage him to read and go further.