“Start while they’re young” is an adage that has never been proven wrong in any area of life. Even if we have not studied John Locke, we would know that a child’s mind is a blank canvass — a space we can freely draw on and create meaning, impulses, and desires.
So when a child manifests a love or a talent that you know as a parent would do them right in the long run, it is well within your responsibility to hone and nourish it so that it flourishes into full potential.
In all its complexities, from style to every form’s set of conventions, Creative Writing is always thought to be a talent endemic to the writer’s being. And just like every talent, writing is something that you can polish through consistent practice.
Determining a child’s writing talent may prove more complicated compared to the more kinesthetic or visual ones. It takes a degree of education and exposure to literature at a very young age.
When a child’s knack for writing reveals itself, the parent is advised to go the extra mile by assuming the preliminary role of both motivator and mentor.
What Parents Can Do
It is a given that while the child may become inclined to write, their parents may not have the same inclinations. Not all writers hail from a home of writers, although some do. For those raised by couples who possess the talent and have been living their lives as Creative Writers, the kid is at an advantage. But for those not born in such a household, the child’s parents should exert the best of their efforts to uphold the talent.
If you are such a parent, then this discussion will be able to help you. Tackled here are the different ways parents can guide their children to become good Creative Writers.
1. Get Your Child Into Reading
We must admit that the present era has reared kids that are more inclined to appreciate visual things. And while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, the fact of the matter is, that this generation’s attention span had plummeted.
Before the year 2000s, the average attention of a human being had been recorded at 12 seconds before it would fall and regain itself. Well into the new millennium, our attention span had decreased to hit 8 seconds. To open up an old wound (that never really saw any sign of healing in the first place), let us mention that a goldfish’s attention span currently sits at 9 seconds.
What this means is that regardless of what we are doing, may it be reading, writing, or simply just talking to someone, we tend to lose our attention from it. This is the reason why Social Media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram have garnered high usage — they offer media that can be consumed in seconds.
As this is the case, the parent must strike before the child gets accustomed to a viewing habit channeled on streaming services and establish a reading habit with their children. On top of that, since the talent they are trying to grow is Creative Writing, the parents are advised to expose them to forms such as poetry and fiction.
Reading would also serve to calibrate a child’s mind to avert or at least soften the blow of any learning disability that the child may have.
And of course, reading will also serve to scaffold the child’s grammar.
2. Encourage the Usage of a Journal
Keeping a record of a child’s every activity or set of activities within a span of a day will greatly help. It does not matter if the kid would be writing on a physical journal or at a computer, the important thing here is that he or she gets into the habit of consistently writing.
Keeping a journal allows the child to employ the vocabulary that he or she currently holds through composition. Writing on a journal opens the child’s mind to self-expression through words and sentences. As with the preceding discussion, the frequency in writing will sharpen vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.
3. Have the kid do writing exercises
There are a lot of writing activities that parents can have their children do. For instance, they can do “Word Associations”, build Concept Webs, or practice a writing approach called, “Stream of Consciousness.” Stream of Consciousness entails writing on a piece of paper without having to think about what to write or the correctness of their grammar, all that the child has to do is write from a sentence or phrase that the parent would be providing and set a specific time (usually a period of 1 to 2 minutes) wherein the writing would be undertaken. After the time is done, the child will have to read what he or she has written aloud.
4. Get the child into School Programs
The parents of a child showing signs of interest in writing must be keen on what he or she might be doing after school. Some schools offer Creative Writing programs as extra-curricular activities.
These programs may also be treated as tools for expanding skills in communication, something that the child’s writing talent would benefit greatly.
It would be advisable for parents to talk to their child’s adviser to assess his or her writing competency so that they may be able to determine the best learning route in the program.
5. Have the child join writing competitions
Having a kid join writing competitions will foster in him or her a certain urgency to write and better his or her style of writing. Much like athletic competitions for youths, writing contests will serve to imbue an attitude of competitiveness and regard for good writing style and technique.
Is Your Child a Writer?
If your answer to the question above is YES, then the most opportune time to get him or her into honing the talent into a craft is now.
The tips that are discussed here are only a few of the things that parents can do to serve the talent. There are more approaches that might prove more competitive or effective in bringing out the best of your child’s inclination. As parents, you have to be sharp and persistent in finding the right venue and methods for your child so that they may start mastering the discipline of Creative Writing.