Children who show opposition to writing letters may not be ready. If we push them before they are ready they may actually lose out on the joy of writing. Before they write letters children need to draw lines up and down, side to side, and to draw circles. Writing letters like any new skill takes time, patience and repetition. And of course, they have to see the value in writing.
I remember when my grandson was 4 and his preschool teacher made him write his name every day. When I would call him and ask how school was going he inevitably would answer, ‘Oh, grandma, I had to write my name again” in the most exasperated voice. I could feel how discouraged he was and how tedious writing his name had become.
Parents can help children by making writing fun. Invite children to help you make a grocery list and then be in charge of finding those items at the store. Help them write a fun Saturday to-do list, create daily menus, write a letter to a friend, grandparent, or a note to put in someone’s lunch. When they create a picture ask them if they would like you to add words. Be creative and use alternatives to pencils to practice writing such as drawing with their finger in shaving cream, salt tray’s, sand, or using tooth picks in frosting on a cake or cookie.
Research shows us that wide exposure to print and developing ideas about the function of print is foundational for successful reading and writing. Daily storybook reading is still the number one activity to do with children. In addition let them see you reading and writing regularly, and provide them with a variety of reading and writing materials.
When your children begin to show an interest in writing, they will pick it up quickly and eagerly.
Click here to read our blog on "Routines, Consistency, Choices and Natural Consequences".