If OMG and BTW seem like they are referring to a person’s initials, you are not alone. The way in which our children communicate in today’s techno advanced world almost seems like another universe for most parents. And although we all find convenience in sending emails and receiving instant responses, quicker is not always better. Many moms would agree that driving through a fast food restaurant every night for dinner may be a lot easier and faster, however I bet most would agree it is not the better choice than taking the time to cook a home made meal. Although there is nothing terribly wrong with the occasional drive thru (or e-card) lets take the time to teach our kids that it is important to actually pick up a pencil once in a while!
I admit, it is not always easy to get your children to eagerly do a writing project when assigned for homework, let alone just for fun. Getting children to pick up a pencil and put down the video games and cell phones may seem like a comical idea, however, as parents we need to encourage our little ones to do just that. Unless we want our kids to be paralyzed without the crutch of the computer’s spell check and unable to communicate outside of texting lingo, we need to get them writing once in a while…the good old fashioned way! Here are some simple ideas to not only get them to practice their writing skills but also some ideas that might even get them interested in writing more (I did say might).
Here are 5 simple ideas that just might spark your child’s creative writing skills… or at least get them writing anyway!
1. Make it FUN for everyone!
Lets face it, children are not going to be eager to do a writing assignment if they see as it as a another chore or just more homework. Lets make it fun and really encourage them to be creative! Get their creative juices flowing with this fun family idea:
Make it Secret Story Sunday!
First, gather up all the members of the family (if they are too small to write independently perhaps partner them up with a parent) and have them brainstorm some really fun topics or subjects for stories. Give everyone a couple pieces of paper and have them write down whatever comes to mind like “Vampires” or “The Beach.” Then, place all the topics in a jar. Every Sunday morning (maybe at breakfast) have each family member pick a topic and keep it a secret! Have everyone write a story at some point during that day about the topic they selected. Share these stories in the evening maybe after dinner or sometime everyone is together. Not only will this get everyone in the same place at the same time- but it just might inspire your little budding author!
2. Teach them GRATITUDE and why it matters
The next time you receive a thank you card or thoughtful note in the mail share it.
Even a five year old can understand that doing nice things for others is rewarding. Express to them how good receiving that card felt to you. Encourage them to always express their gratitude towards others as well. In fact, I say it should be required for children to send thank you cards for things they receive in the mail. It may take a push or two, but eventually children will understand that it makes others feel good to know that you are thankful, plus they will feel a sense of pride in sending that card off in the mail. Don’t leave the little ones out, small children can do this too! If they are unable to write independently, have them draw a picture and then dictate to you their message you can write at the bottom.
3. Turn WHINING into WRITING
The next time your child “wants” something (like that remote control he cannot live without), have them write a request to you. Have your kids “put it in writing” from now on. Have a designated jar or box for all written request. Have them include their name, what it is they want to have or to do and why they should be granted their request. You can make this more fun for you by also having them write what it is they are willing to contribute in order to get it. Have a day like the first of every month where you promise to review all request and pick one to fill. Not only does this get them writing, it may reduce their whining!
4. Let them COMMUNICATE with their pens!
As a child, I had a pen pal and treasure the memories. Let your children exchange letters with another child their age. The back and forth written dialogue really is exciting for children. They learn to communicate through writing and the natural question and answer format that takes place. Not only will they be anxious to write to their pen pal, they will learn valuable patience while they await a response letter. Once they exchange a couple of letters they will be hooked! You can find pen pals for your children through online services (parents make sure you do the research) or simply have them exchange letters with an out of town relative or family friend.
5. Have them HELP you
You can sneak in simple writing assignments by having your children help you with everyday tasks. For example, let your child write out your grocery list as you verbally list items you need while digging through the pantry. Not only will they be having to access a unused vocabulary (how often does a 12 year old write asparagus?) But they will be learning small life lessons about household responsibilities. Also, have them help you address out going letters or bills. This is an exercise that will come in handy for them in years to come. The point is, if they can help you, let them- it may not seem like a big deal but little life lessons add up to bigger ones.
These are five ways in which you can get your kids sharpening those pencils. My point is to get creative and get them writing. It is important that we teach our children how to communicate with the written word….after all what ever will they do when their cell phone battery goes dead or the power is out and the computer wont turn on?!
For your next formal affair, you may want to reconsider those overdone white chair covers. You know the ones, with the giant chiffon bow? I have put together a few pictures on fresh ways you can decorate you chair backs. One simple piece of fabric can do the trick, cutting down on the “fluff” and also your expenses.
Go to your local fabric store and select a color to match your party’s theme. Buy several yards and cut them into strips using fabric scissors. Tie them in a bow or knot (my personal favorite) and you have chair decor for cents each place setting.
Hostess Tip: Matching your color perfectly outweighs finding the perfect type of fabric. Guests will notice color before texture.
This year when you find yourself planning you child’s birthday party, stop stressing and simply think…Polka Dots! This fun and colorful pattern is a hot trend right now, and in good reason. Polka Dots are versatile, allowing you to be as creative (or basic) with the color selection as you dare. With this simple theme you will be able to create an impressive and thoughtful party in a snap! Just start thinking in circles, and you’ll soon realize what I mean when I say, Polka Dots are SIMPLE!
My Tips- Choose 2 colors and go at it! Above: Hot Pink & Lime
Sure Halloween is about kiddos in cute costumes and loads of sugary sweets….. but adults can have fun too! This Halloween serve a spooky themed wine and let your guests get a kick out of the fun and ghostly labels. If you are going to be a guest this Halloween, a bottle of Halloween-themed wine would make for a fabulous hostess gift to bring along.