Learning to write is such a huge part of our children’s development. It helps them build confidence,
discover their creativity, and express themselves to the rest of the world. Wherever your children are in
their development, they could always use a helping hand and strong focus on improving their writing skills.
But like everything else with our kids, if it’s not fun, they’re simply not going to do it. And who can blame
them? They’ll have their whole adult lives to do things because they ‘have to’. Childhood is about play,
and even working to improve their writing skills should be as playful as possible. This isn’t about tests or
grades; it’s about giving them the tools to succeed in life. So here’s a look at five ways you can help you
child become a better writer that they’ll actually embrace.
Set up a chalkboard wall. While your child is learning to write, you’re going to want to set up opportunities
for them to experience writing as art. And one great way to do that is by creating a chalkboard wall in
their room. You could buy a chalkboard and set it on an easel or hang it from the wall, but you should try
painting a chalkboard on the wall itself. It’s cheap and easy, and there’s something about a chalkboard that
just encourages kids to write. At first they may use it to draw, but you can sit with them and suggest words
or stories they can connect with their images.
Bring writing wherever you go. You’ve got the chalkboard wall, but opportunities for writing don’t have
to stay in the bedroom and the classroom. Pick up art supplies that will let them practice their writing
wherever they are. Sidewalk chalk is fun and easy to use, and you’ll never have to worry about the mess it
makes. Bathtub paint is another fun options, so they can show you the new words they’ve learned during
bath time. And an etch-a-sketch has been a fun way to practice writing for generations. It can come in
the car on road trips, and is a great way to show your child that mistakes are nothing to worry about.
Misspelled a word? Just shake the etch-a-sketch and it’s gone!
Encourage writing letters. With e-mail and cell phones, the art of writing a letter on paper is slowly fading
into history. But kids love getting letters from their family, and will love writing letters just as much. The
next time they want to share some news with a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin, grab paper and a crayon
or pencil and have them compose a letter. You’ll have to help them at first, but eventually they may want
to do it all by themselves. And it will give you the opportunity to explain writing for different audiences.
What they write to their grandmother will be very different than what they write to their young cousin, and
this gives them a fun opportunity to learn the differences.
Start a journal. Try journaling with your child. They can have their own book, and you two can sit down for
a few minutes and write a sentence or two talking about what happened that day. You’ll show them how it’s
done, but encourage them to write whatever they want. It’s a great way to foster their self-expression, while
practicing spelling and sentence structure.
The ‘all about me’ book. Buy your child a beautiful blank journal, and get them started writing a book about
themselves. It’s a great summer activity, to keep them learning while school is out. But it also makes a great
keepsake. If they enjoy the process, they can start a new book each year, and review the chapter summaries
for a trip down memory lane. They’ll love seeing how much their writing improves over time, and you can
make copies and give it out to family as an adorable, homemade gift.