I realize some people are blessed with children who just naturally enjoy writing. Sadly, I am not one of those people. The whole writing process presents itself as a “chore” for most of my children….so I begin early, trying to think up creative ways to encourage them to write. My two greatest successes so far? Shopping lists and personal letters/cards.
Seriously, make a general announcement in my house that we need to run to the store to buy kitty litter and ask them to write down anything else they can think of that we need, and even the toddler is clamoring to add his fat crayon scrawls to the wall paper. And there’s just something about the”friendly letter”. As much as I enjoy the speed and efficiency of email, there’s just that “thing” about receiving a personal letter — in a real mailbox — from an old friend. Nothing can motivate my children to write more than to find them a pen pal amongst the children of my like-minded cyber-friends, allow them to participate in Flat Stanley exchanges, or to encourage them to send a friendly greeting to a long-lost friend (have I mentioned that we have moved seven times in three years? — we leave lots of long-lost friends in our path).
In the younger years, any old paper will do. They tell their daily-life tales on notebook paper, computer paper scraps…even paper plates! But by the time they are ten, they become more distinguished, wishing for their own “fancy” or even “personalized” stationery.
How can I make the letter writing process more creative and personal?
LIGHT BULB MOMENT! (Can you just see that little light bulb going off in my head?)
Enter photo cards! We use them for Christmas (or at least we order them for Christmas…whether or not they actually make it into the mail, that’s another story), why not use them for every day correspondence? I think my children (even the younger ones), would delight in designing their very own “note cards”, either using a photo of themselves, a photo of something they enjoy, or even a photo of a picture that they drew especially for this occasion.
Custom Photo Cards, like this adorable polka-dotted design from CardsDirect
can be left blank, or personalized with your choice of greetings!
With this special personal touch, how much more fun would this be to send and receive, than your standard stationery? There would certainly be no doubt who the individual note cards belonged to (this a BIG deal in our household — if you have more than a handful of kids, I am SURE you are nodding your head in agreement), and they could be used for so much more than simple correspondence. They would make perfect personalized thank-you notes as well!
What do you do to motivate your children to write?