Tag Archives: writing

Inspiring children who are resistant to writing or drawing

yodaSome children LOVE to write and draw. And some don’t. My middle child was passionate about it, and was competent with pencil, marker and crayon by about 18 months. (Part of that interest was probably due to having a sibling who was 3.5 years older, and was working a lot on writing and drawing skills.)

Our youngest shows no desire at all to write or to draw, which is not uncommon amongst boys. (And honestly part of this may be due to environment. He virtually never sees the people around him write anything. We type on our laptops and phones and mobile devices, but rarely put pen to paper.)

We’ve found three ways to motivate him. First, follow his interests. Since he’s wild about Star Wars, it’s easy to engage him with things like “Hey, you want to learn how to draw Yoda?” (See above.)

Second, make writing a powerful tool for getting what you want. If he wants something that I don’t care whether he has or not, I make him do a written request. The first one was “Kiss” when he wanted a Hershey’s kiss. Later on, he was begging for white cheddar cheez-its. We found him a picture of the box online, and he had to copy all the words down before we gave him any crackers. We’ve made writing worth while.

[Note: I work with parents of toddlers. Sometimes a parent will voice concern to me that their child is slow to learn to speak. The same principles apply: follow their interest – talk about what they are looking at or doing, not about what YOU are interested in at the moment. Make language powerful. If they point at juice, don’t give it to them. Say “Do you want milk or juice?” You’ve just given them the words they need, but they need to SAY juice to get juice.]

Third, offer interesting media / sensory experiences. You can pour flour or salt into a dark-colored dish, and let them write and scribble in there. You can give them a stick and encourage them to draw in sand or dirt. Offer bath tub crayons at bath time. Or finger paint anytime. Or a paint brush and water to write on the sidewalk on a hot day. If your child likes to use apps on your mobile device, most allow them to use their finger to draw with – but you can also purchase a stylus for them to use to practice holding a pen.