This may be one of the hardest subjects to find a summer “work around”. I know for August, he’d rather pull out his own teeth than write. In fact, it was something we ended up getting an accommodation for on his IEP. That he could do everything on the computer rather than have to hand write any papers. He hated it so much and his fine motor skills were so delayed. But being able to write a coherent sentence is a critical skill for so many aspects of life. So let’s learn some tricks for doing some writing this summer!
First, a DO NOT do. DO NOT drop your child at the kitchen table with a pencil and a journal and make them write something every day with a fixed length and a subject prompt. You are sealing the casket of their never wanting to write again as long as they live. I mean it, don’t do it. For one, it’s summer and that sounds boring even to me and I’m a grown-up. For two, no one, especially a child is going to want to write or write well about a topic not of their choosing.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s try some good ideas:
- Get outside and find something fun to write about. Get cheap clipboards and paper and head out to the park and sit in the grass. Let them find a bird or a tree or a flower that looks interesting and describe it. Or go for a nature walk and find a bench to sit on a see what’s around you to write about. Maybe a frog hops by and you can make up a story about where it came from and where it’s going.
- Write a story together. August loved Goosebumps books when he was younger and a few of them were written so that the reader could decide how the story went. You get to a page and then it gives you a choice of which page to turn to next. Your choice decides how the story proceeds. He loved those. Taking turns adding a sentence to a story you create together allows you to connect and engage with your child. Neither can see the sentence the other writes until you are finished so you don’t know where the other is taking the plot. At the end you can read your creation for the rest of the family!
- Write to distant relatives. I talked about this in a previous blog but it really is such a special idea. I now live in my grandmother’s house and as I’ve gone through her things (she was quite the pack rat) I have found letters she saved. Some from me and other grandchildren, great nieces and nephews, and other children in her life. All these sweet letters in their big chunky little child handwriting that she obviously treasured can’t be replaced by an e-mail or a facetime video. Even a postcard would make grandma’s day!
- Get a pen-pal. When I was in middle school I had a pen-pal in Australia. I don’t know how I found her but we wrote for several years before we lost touch. I remember learning that our seasons were opposite. That blew my mind. I loved getting those letters. In the days of technology I know it is super simple to just find someone on the internet but the point of this is to make the connection. If your child is adopted maybe find someone from their home country. There are a few ways to find one here. Another option is www.globalpenfriends.com. I’ll put both of these on my Resources page so you won’t have to remember which blog post you saw them in!
If you are the parent of a RAD kiddo, I’d like to suggest a writing opportunity for you. As I was researching this post, I came across a place called Blue Monarch. It is a facility for Moms and their children to stay when the moms are trying to recover from addition and abuse. Many of the children staying at the facility have not had a stable grown-up in their life and the facility seeks pen-pals for the children. If you are interested in being a pen-pal to a child there, check out the program here.
As always, being a good role model is one of the best ways to get your children involved in writing. Writing down five things you are grateful for at the end of each evening as a family, maybe after dinner, would be a nice way to connect and show your dedication to writing. There are lots of ways to incorporate writing into your summer!
Until next time,