In my mind, I never believed I had what it took.
I wasn’t smart enough. Funny enough. Dedicated enough.
My handwriting is awful.
I lack the confidence to put it all out there for others to see. I just don’t have what it takes.
At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the last 30+ something years, but ask my children what it is I do and they’ll tell you loud and proud their mom is a writer.
Hmm, go figure. I guess in a way, I am.
I have been making my living for the last few years off of the things I say, the words I write and the photos I take. I may still lack the self-confidence I wish I had and not feel as comfortable as I like sharing my inner thoughts with the world, but if one thing is certain it’s that I want much more than that for my children.
I want them to be confident. Confident in mind, body, and spirit. Strong and opinionated, yet painfully aware of the power of words and their permanence in this digital age.
Tolerant of others, with an open mind and an understanding of how the world works, how vast it really is, how small their place in it is, but just how great their impact can be.
These are all gifts we can give our children.
That’s why I am raising mine to be writers; whether or not they even realize it. Writing is so engrained in our daily life and when I take a look around I see evidence all around us it’s working! Here are a few ways we encourage writing in my home, would love to hear how you’re doing it in yours! Leave me a comment at the end of this post and share with us.
11 Ways to Encourage Young Writers
1. Give them a special journal or notebook
I have an intense love for stationary and there is nothing more exciting than flipping my fingers through a brand spanking new journal and imagining all the things I’m going to fill it up with. I’m happy to say I have passed on this love of paper goods to my kids. We get new journals as often as they fill them up and take them with us wherever we go. I love reading their old journals and watching them grow up on the pages in front of me.
2. Have them document favorite moments and memories
The kids did this in school already, I noticed when they would bring their papers home and the stories were so sweet and wonderful. We started doing our own during school vacations and now as often as they are moved to do so. It’s a great way to not only practice writing, but also to help strengthen their memories and even promote happiness.
3. Keep writing elements within reach
If I took you on a tour of my home, one of the first things you would see when you entered would be a vase full of paintbrushes and a buckets of colored pencils. As we walked into the living room, you might notice a few pens and notebooks on our side tables and you couldn’t miss the giant trough of crayons behind my couch. The dining room a repository for all sorts of art supplies and writing utensils. Upstairs you’d find my writing desk and now, my daughter’s as well. A gift to her this spring since she’s getting older, wanting more space and her creativity continues to soar and amaze me.
I know part of this is because of all the opportunities she has to express herself and how easy we make it for the kids to do this.
4. Practice telling stories and/or swapping stories
We just love story prompts, story dice and cards and starting stories before bedtime and passing them off to one another to finish. It’s something we all look forward to.
Earlier this year, we started swapping journals in a similar manner. Someone starting a story and then passing it on for the next person to pick up and carry on. This has been such a successful thing for our family. My daughter and I have written a short story about a raccoon and a mouse I so want to publish for her someday! And my youngest son was so enthralled with ours he started his own. He’s several hundred pages in now and the story is the sweetest.
This boy’s boy who had no interest in reading or writing fell in love with storytelling and that means the world to me!
5. Take frequent trips to the library and book store
During the summer, we have a standing Monday library date where we go and read books for hours and then choose a select few to bring home and read some more. When we are looking for something fun to do as a family, you will almost always here someone say let’s go to the bookstore! And while this may have started out when they were toddlers as an excuse to get out of the house, see people and drink coffee it has developed into quality family time we all enjoy and benefit from.
6. Keep books everywhere
In the car, on your nightstand, in the bathroom, by your bed, in your closet, in your picnic basket (found a copy of Black Beauty in ours today)! I love the Dollar Store and Target Dollar Spot for picking up children’s classics for super cheap and tucking them away for a rainy day or surprise morning picnic or afternoon playdate.
I spotted this quote in an article by Pam Allyn titled, Reading is Like Breathing In, Writing is Like Breathing Out and I thought it was so true I just had to share.
7. Practice good handwriting
I’m not saying you need to do writing drills every day, but I think about my mother who has the prettiest handwriting I’ve ever seen and then I recall how she was always, ALWAYS writing. My daughter is the same way. And her handwriting, even at 8 is much better than mine.
I think back to the paragraphs above and my own lack of self-confidence and I want something different for her. Writing boosts confidence, improves cognitive development, strengthens reading and critical thinking skills and even enhances creativity (* source – BicFightForYourWrite.Com). All things I want for each of my kids (and me too!)
8. Let them see you reading … and writing
This one is a real big one even if it doesn’t feel like it. Children will emulate what they see you doing and seeing you enjoying these activities is one of the best ways you can encourage them to get started on their own.
9. Start a blog
Or better yet let them start a blog, you could even work on it together! My friend Telma and her daughter recently launched The Sophie Chronicles and we just love seeing what they’re up to.
10. Let them write reviews!
11. Get involved with the local community – book fairs, newspapers, current events
Disclosure: Today’s post is brought to you by BIC. This piece is a part of their Fight For Your Write campaign aimed at showing kids how awesome writing can be! Take BIC’s Fight for Your Write pledge to save handwriting and enter for a chance to win a $1,200 BIC Prize Pack by visiting www.BICFightForYourWrite.com
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bic. The opinions and text are all mine.