There are plenty of ways for children to engage with the world around them, but writing is a way of expressing yourself that not everyone is born with. Whether you’re a parent who wants to encourage their child’s creativity or you’re just looking for ideas to challenge your son or daughter, there are fun and exciting ways to get started.
Here are ten tips for parents who want to encourage their child’s creative writing skills.
1. Find a writing corner in your home
Sometimes when we have a special place in our homes that is just for writing, it can become a second home to those who live there. Finding a spot in the house where you can be quite relaxed and enjoy your time alone can be quite beneficial. If you have space in your home, even if it’s just a corner, find a way to make it cozy and pleasant for both of you. A great way to encourage your little one’s creativity is by allowing them to develop their skills in peace. You can find tips on how to create a writing nook in your home here.
2. Get the right equipment
When my kids were little, one of the things I found really challenging was trying to write while keeping up with them. You have a little one who is constantly asking for help and wanting to join in the creative storytelling sessions, so having a notebook and pen nearby was never going to be enough. Even with a writing desk specifically designed for children, it’s still easy for them to knock something over when they’re playing with trucks and puzzles. So, investing in a good laptop or desktop computer, an external hard drive, and/or a good keyboard is a must. These three items will all allow your children to write longer, contribute more content, and improve their skills much faster. If your children are young enough, getting them a tablet can also be beneficial, as it allows for hands-free operation and allows for drawing and creative writing. With so much technology available, they’ll never be short of inspiration.
3. Give them some time
When you’re new to creative writing, it’s very easy to feel inspired by a picture, a movie, or a short story. However, unless you have a steady stream of new content to pull from, it can be hard to keep the creative juices flowing. This is where taking the time to find the perfect novel or short story to show them has great benefits. By doing this, you’re giving them the perfect stimulus to pull ideas from, and it also means you can continue to engage with them on a deeper level. It’s a win-win situation. Set aside some time every week, if not every day, to read a novel or a collection of short stories, and you’ll be able to see the difference in their artwork and writing.
4. Have fun with it
What I mean by this is, of course, writing can be a lot of work, and if you want your kids to get involved, you have to make it fun. When my kids were little, I would often write while they colored. We’d put on some music, get the little ones up on their chairs, and really go for it. I’d be working on a novel, and they’d be asking me questions about what was going on, wanting to help make sense of it all. It was a great bonding experience, as well as being a great way to learn more about each other. There are so many fun things you can do with your children to get them involved in the creative process, from art to music, or just letting them help you around the house. With so many distractions around them, technology can be very beneficial, as it allows for creative writing in a digital space. Whether it’s YouTube videos, Minecraft, or even games on your laptop, there will always be something to keep them busy and engaged.
5. Have patience
This tip will seem really obvious, but when you’re a parent, you really have to remind yourself to have patience when dealing with your children. There will always be something else they want to do, and if you want them to help you with something, you’ll have to wait your turn. Sometimes it can be hard to get them to sit still and help you with something, but if you keep in mind what is important to you, and allow them to grow and become their own individual people, you can see the benefits in the long run.
6. Teach them how to take care of their possessions
Ownership is a big thing when your kids become adults. You want them to be able to take care of the things they’ve worked hard to accumulate, and teaching them how to be smart about this is essential. It starts with simple things like how to keep track of their finances correctly, and how to be responsible with their belongings. As they get older, having specific areas in your home for things like their clothes, books, and other collections can help them to feel more comfortable having a space of their own. It’s important to be mindful about how much technology they use and how much access they have to things that could potentially damage their minds. When your kids are small, you can always set some ground rules around the technology and games that they’re allowed to play with. Ensure that these are age-appropriate and that you regularly check for signs of overexposure. Inevitably, as your kids get older, there will come a point when you’ll have to set some limits around the devices they use and the games they play. If this is a concern, then maybe it’s time to consider whether or not they need their own device.
7. Encourage them to be different
Different is great. We all like to feel like we’re special, and one way to do this is to encourage your children to be different. When my kids were younger, they always wanted to do the same things as their friends, but as they got older, they started to see the point of being different. The more they participated in activities and spent time with other kids, the more they realized there was more than one way to do things. They began to explore the limits of their skills and what they could and couldn’t do, which helped build their confidence as they got older. Through all of this, you should still keep an open dialogue with them about what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, and what would make them happy. Happy parents means a confident and independent child, which is something to celebrate!
8. Don’t compare them to adults
I want to give you a hug. It’s okay to feel worried about your kids sometimes, or even a lot, but you have to remember that they’re still children, with all the worries and frustrations that come with that. It’d be easy for a parent to compare their child’s worries to those of an adult, but this isn’t fair. When your kids get older, this will be something that comes up frequently, and comparing them to adults can sometimes even cause problems. These problems can range from bad friendships to bad experiences at school to even mental illness. It’s important not to do this, as it could make your children feel less secure than you’d like them to feel, and it could also cause them to feel worse about themselves than they need to. The best thing you can do for your kids is to accept them for who they are, and allow them to grow and change into the amazing people they’re going to become.
9. Let them be themselves
As I mentioned before, owning your kids’ personal space is important, and this extends to social media and other online spaces as well. Ensure that your children know that the content they put out there is personal and that they don’t have to share everything about themselves with the world. This includes whatever they post on social media sites as well as blogs and websites they create. The more they can be themselves, the more they’ll feel comfortable being creative and sharing their thoughts and feelings with the world. In order to do this, they need ownership of the spaces where they write, so that no one can really tamper with their work, plus, they want to be able to explore their creative side and see what comes out. While I’m sure there are some great benefits to blogging, for the most part, I would recommend against it, as it can really damage a child’s self-esteem if they aren’t able to keep their writings private. Even if you blog anonymously, it’s still a good idea to keep what they write on the internet in general private, as it’s easier for them to feel vulnerable when writing about themselves than it is when writing about someone else. This is why I wouldn’t allow them to blog until they’re at least 14 years old, as soon as they’re old enough to understand the risks and potential consequences of what they’re writing about, they’ll be mature enough to know better