One of the most important parts of your writing program is helping your children find a reason to talk to you. So be present. Pay attention. Give feedback that shows you were listening (don’t shush, control, or revise the output; receive it).
Talk, talk, talk.
The most important part of your writing program is giving your kids a chance to self express in a variety of settings about all kinds of topics. Even the taboo ones, like fart jokes.
Some children are more reluctant to talk. They may be introverts or they may worry that you will find their ideas problematic.
Ways to draw kids into conversation:
Sidle up to your child (while that child is happily engaged) and show interest. Could be a video game, could be while crafting, could be while kicking a soccer ball into a net in the backyard. Be where your thriving child IS and show interest.
Serve a drink and a snack and invite your child to sit with you, just the two of you. If you worry that there will be nothing to discuss, simply be together. No pressure. If you are quiet long enough, the quieter child often finds words to share.
Leave the house. Get in a car and go somewhere. Take a hike, get frappucinos to go and sip them at an outdoor table. Make it a one-on-one date.
Stay up late. Lying on the bed next to your child often draws out words. The dark, the quiet, the undivided attention leaves space for a child to talk.
The goal isn’t to force conversation, but to allow it to bubble up and to be valued.
ONE WARNING: if you allow self-expression, you need to prepare to hear what you didn’t want to hear. Your task is to receive it, not comment on it. Save your private thoughts for a journal.
If you make room for this kind of space-giving conversation-promoting practice, your children will find more words for writing.
This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!