Summer is an ideal time to strengthen your a child’s writing ability. It’s also a healthy and creative outlet for you. With school out, kids can relax and write on what interests them without the on-demand requirements of a deadline and a tough subject.
But getting kids started with writing isn’t as easy as “Do it!” That’s why YOU should take up the hobby yourself. This summer, come up with weekly writing suggestions for both of you — and make it fun! Sometimes you can share what you write with each other, other times you may not want to. The point is to write daily. Try a little at a time … then see what happens. Writing’s becoming a lost art … but it doesn’t have to be!
Of course, when you first bring up the idea, be prepared for pushback. “Oh, Mom! It’s summer!” sort of thing. Hang tough. Remember, writing should be fun, not a chore. And committing to daily writing is something that will get more enjoyable over time.
Other ideas to inspire writing:
Postcards! What a Novel Idea!
If your child’s heading to camp, stock his travel bag with pre-stamped postcards. Show him where they are, what they’re for, and be sure to tell him you want to hear from him!
Also, seek out postcards on your family vacations. (Remember to bring your friends & family addresses). Purchase postcards together in order to make it happen. Write cards at breakfast in the morning, recalling things you’ve done and what you’re looking forward to next.
Journal Writing … On ANYTHING.
Encouraging isn’t enough to get techy kids to write – you have to INSIST on it! Have your child write about competing on the swim team. Or about a great movie he watched … or about watching the dog go after a squirrel in the yard; you get the idea. Get yourself a journal and get him one, too. Tell him the goal is to write a bit each day. There may be days of scribbled nothingness, but that’s OK. There should be no rules except to WRITE.
As Karen Benke, author of Rip the Page! Adventures in Creative Writing says, “There’s no one way to write creatively.” Encourage your kid to just write. “Write what you and no one else in the world can,” says Benke. One day this summer … there WILL be something you will both want to write about.
Try a travel journal too, and keep one yourself. Your son’s description of falling out of a boat is sure to differ from your view of him launching over the side and bobbing up and down in his lifejacket — compare your takes! Take dictation from younger children whose writing skills haven’t caught up with their thoughts.
A Spot of One’s Own
Encourage writing by helping your kids carve out a space … and it doesn’t matter where. Some kids will love this and be inspired to “decorate” a spot just for the writing purpose. Others may be happy to just keep the journal in the living room and curl up on the sofa. Look at your space with new eyes and ask your children what location “calls” to them.
Here’s the good news: by the time summer’s over, your child (and you) will have a new perspective about writing. By the time the teacher asks for an essay about “what I did last summer,” it’ll be a piece of cake.