Getting a child to practise creative writing can be a parent’s worst nightmare. After endless dodging by the child, many to and fro arguments between the parent and the child, often culminating with promises of reward to the child on completing his writing, the child finally sits for the dreary yet necessary exercise.
The whole experience can be exhausting for the poor parent and uninspiring for the child. On top of that, the idea of practising writing, with the sole aim of scoring high in exam, under a ticking timer and the constant, watchful eye of the parent does not really get the creative juices flowing in the child. Shouldn't creativity be a ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,’ as Wordsworth once said?
That’s right. Writing should not feel like a task. The trick is to make it fun and educational at the same time. Here, we offer you five different and effective ways of making your child practise writing. Let’s get on with the first tip then.
1. Start a scrapbook:
Imitation can be a stepping stone to awakening imagination in one. Scrapbooking a stock of handy quotes is a technique vouched for by budding writers. Encourage the child to copy out favourite quotes and fascinating descriptions from literary works. Writing out interesting text stimulates learning as well as creativity in the mind. Remember to ask the child to go through his collection (as a form of reading exercise) at the end of a week or fortnight.
2. Keep a diary or journal:
Why not gift your child a beautiful diary and help him start on a new literary journey? Inspire the hidden writer in him to record special moments and events of the day. Diary writing can help the child develop unique and personal style of expression. Give your child space and freedom to write as and when he wishes. Starting first as some sporadic entries, diary writing should over a period become a daily exercise.
3. Scribbles and doodles:
Sometimes writing from scratch can be daunting. To make writing exercise more exciting, take an already existing text and encourage the child to edit, improve or rewrite it. This text could be anything: a short story (many free stories are available on the web), a few paragraphs of a news article, or a work previously written by the child. If you want to create memorable moments with your child, you could write a short piece (story or description) and offer the child to evaluate and enhance it. A reversal of roles will draw the child’s interest and eagerness to re-write.
4. Letter and note writing:
Encourage the child to write letters (or mails) to grandparents, distant cousins and friends. Suggest that the child make cards for occasions like birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. and enclose special messages for the recipient. With these activities, kids can learn how to communicate, socialise and, at the same time, practise writing skills.
Spinning a yarn is in the DNA of human beings. The first seeds of creative writing were implanted there. Nurture this inherent gift by making storytelling part of the day-to-day family discourse. From ‘What happened at school today?’ to ‘Why do you like your teacher?’, narration requires creativity, skill and precise vocabulary. When communicating with your child, ask him to describe the people he met, the places he visited and the feelings evoked in him by his experiences. This exercise encourages children to be creative when describing the setting, characters, and the story as it unfolds. Ultimately, your child will become confident and less hesitant when he actually sits to write.
So there you have it: some new ideas to help your child to get writing. Which one do you think will work for your child?