When Writing Became a Chore for My Sons


Writing is therapeutic for me. At a young age I preferred story writing to sports. I savored summers spent reading on my parent’s porch swing. I had such an imagination that many times I was told to get my head out of the clouds.

Fast forward thirty years and three boys later and I wish with all my heart that my boys may have a passion for reading and writing.

Now imagine my dismay when the lovely pandemic appeared and all of a sudden it was like pulling teeth to get my boys to enjoy writing.

Ugh. Seriously?

So I dug a little deeper and found some resources to try. I found that my boys would ask to write some nights. I’m not kidding.

Every kid is different but here is what worked for us. We have twin boys that are six and a five-year-old boy as well.

Ways to Encourage Your Child To Write

  1. Journal Time: We make this part of our bedtime routine. The boys choose a room to hold their journal time. Sometimes they draw in their journals. Sometimes they write words or ideas in their journals. Sometimes they just like to add stickers. The key to keeping it fun is to pick out a journal with your kid. My boys are all into Minecraft right now so we got “Minecraft” journals.
  2. Storyjumper: When I was a Title 1 Reading teacher I got this idea from one of my coworkers. He had the kids create stories and print them off at the end of the year. I found this site and told my boys they could have their book “published” when they were done. I love this site because it is easy to navigate and after the initial run through my six -year-olds could do it on their own. I like how different their ideas are too! One of my boys loves Christmas and wrote a story about Santa almost missing Christmas Eve.  My other son wrote a factual book on Minecraft. The plus side? You can just print it off for a small fee. Or you can get a soft or hardcover version of the book. The boys were so proud!writing for kids
  3. Reward Hole Punch Cards: Every now and then the boys need a little (okay, a lot) of motivation to continue reading. Reading helps with writing so I had to find a way to engage them. I found these hole punch cards we use as our goal cards. They each get to pick a special date to have with a family member after they complete their card (which is basically over three hours of reading!) They get one hole punch for every evening reading 20 minutes or more. The best part is it not only motivates them to read but they get some one on one time with someone when their goal card is complete. Some of the boys favorite dates they have earned are: ninja battles in the park with dad, happy meal with Grandma, and fishing. (Here are a some chapter book recommendations for kids.)
  4. Recipes: You can make a recipe book with the kids. My youngest just draws the pictures but it’s a fun way to cook with the kids as well as have them write. I will admit that one of my kids took an hour to write a recipe so that required some additional patience but they had fun! Another idea is to create their own smoothie recipe. Draw or write their own ingredients. Try out each others recipes! Or even “make” potions and write about them.
  5. Become Little Entrepreneurs: There is no greater joy than seeing one (or all) of my boys come up with an idea. My boys write more when planning an idea than when I ask them to write a sentence for school. When they had a lemonade (socially distant) stand they wrote about their idea on poster boards. When the boys wanted to start an egg business, I watched them write down their plan and divide up tasks. The beauty is they enjoyed a project together while writing.

What is your favorite way to encourage your child to read or write? We would love to hear your ideas!

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Melissa Burnett
Melissa Burnett was born in New Jersey but moved to Ohio at the beginning of a school year where she thought her parents forgot her at Kindergarten and spent most of her first day in tears. Since then, she learned to transfer her imagination onto paper and write stories. She taught Title 1 Reading and wrote children’s books before embarking on her journey into parenthood. Melissa is a mother to twin boys and a younger boy who keeps her on her toes. She enjoys Friday stay home movie night with her boys and dreaming up business ideas with her extremely patient and loving husband. When she is not breaking up wrestling matches, Melissa and her husband spend their time working on rental cabins in Hocking Hills. They also enjoy popcorn and coming up with new popcorn flavors. Melissa promises she does not have motherhood figured out, but she does have many funny stories to share and a word of advice “when you go through the car wash with kids…make sure your window lock is on.” Follow her blog: melissaburnett.com