Writing Tips for Parents of Elementary School Children

, Staff Editor
Updated November 9, 2016
parent helping child write
    parent helping child write
    MoMo Productions / Stone / Getty Images

As elementary students learn to write, parents are one of their biggest support systems. Whether your kids come home with writing assignments or you just want to ensure they’re practicing their writing skills, a few writing tips for parents can be helpful. Learn how to be a writing teacher and tutor while being a parent at home.

Tips on Developing Writing Skills at Home

It is important for parents to help develop their children’s writing skills by setting up an atmosphere and routines that will inspire their children to want to write.

How to Create Writing Habits at Home

To help improve your child’s writing skills, start by creating an environment that makes writing easy and fun. Simple things like having the right supplies handy can help students improve their writing skills.

  • Make sure your child has a writing space that’s their own. It could be a desk in an office or a small table in the kitchen.
  • Stock up on fun writing supplies. Decorative papers and cool writing utensils can be a draw.
  • Organize your materials. Use desk organizers or recycled cans and jars to keep pens, pencils, and notebooks tidy so they’re easy to find.
  • Look for teachable moments. Instead of setting out to lead a writing lesson at home, pay attention to moments that involve writing and use them as natural lessons.
  • Use erasable surfaces for schedules and lists. Have a dry erase board for the weekly dinner menu in the kitchen or a chalkboard chore chart.

Writing Activities That Motivate Kids to Write at Home

If you’re wondering how to motivate your child to write, you’ll need lots of different activities. Motivation is essential in developing and practicing writing skills, and writing exercises are your biggest tools.

Try to naturally incorporate as many of these writing activities as you can throughout the week.

  • Write the dinner menu daily. This boosts writing skills while bolstering creativity.
  • Write a daily dinner critique. Kids can get creative as food critics and learn to provide constructive criticism in writing.
  • Prepare the grocery list before going to the market. For younger kids, dictate the grocery list and have kids rewrite it. Older kids can try to make the list all on their own.
  • Write letters to friends and family. Kids can write letters by hand or type them on the computer to practice different writing skills.
  • Keep a personal journal. Kids can write their own daily feelings or thoughts in a private journal to practice expressing complex ideas. Knowing no one will read it can be motivating.
  • Write notes and invitations by hand. When opportunities arise to make party invitations or send out thank you notes, enlist your kids’ help for a little meaningful practice.
  • Play board games with writing elements. Let your child be the scorekeeper in a card game or look for games such as Hangman, Scattergories, Scrabble, or Jeopardy that require writing and vocabulary practice.
  • Use writing prompts to create short stories or books. Kids who struggle with finding something to write about can be encouraged by fun creative writing prompts.

Writing activities strengthen your child's writing skills which will reflect as such when the teacher grades them. Daily writing activities also provide motivation to use writing skills.

parents helping kids with writing tips
    parents helping kids with writing tips
    PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images

How to Talk About Writing With Kids at Home

It is not essential to keep a watchful eye on spelling at the early childhood level. The aim is to get the child to write either letters or stories so they get into the habit of writing and won’t dread writing as a skill in the long run. If you encourage phonetic writing when kids are young, you will nurture your child's writing skills.

When talking about any kind of writing at home, use these simple tips:

  • Be positive when talking about your or your child’s writing.
  • Forget about spelling and focus on content.
  • Discuss why your child has to write something so they connect it to their life.
  • Ask questions instead of pointing out mistakes. For example, you might say, “What does this word say?” instead of, “You spelled cake wrong.”
  • Praise your child’s effort and individuality.

Why Writing Is Important

To effectively encourage your child’s writing, you need to understand the importance of writing. If you value writing skills, your child will see that value and model it.

Writing Builds Language

To communicate effectively with others, you need to have a good grasp on the language you are communicating in. When speaking isn’t possible or comfortable, written communication is a good alternative. Learning to write well means learning to communicate well with others.

Writing Is a Life Skill

You’d be hard pressed to find a job that doesn’t require some writing. Even if it’s just filling out your working papers or time sheets, everyone needs to be able to write. Demonstrate this by pointing out every time you write something in the course of one day.


Surprising Writing Tips for Parents

When you think of working on writing skills, you probably imagine pencil and paper at a desk or table. To help keep kids engaged in writing practice, you may need to get a bit more creative.

  • Read together often. Kids not only get to see how words look, but they might also gain motivation to write their own books and stories.
  • Use YouTube as a tool. Kids can make lists of their favorite YouTubers or take notes on videos as they watch.
  • Be a writing role model. Kids learn from modeling, so watching you write without complaining can actually help kids get better with writing at home.
  • Look for creative ways to write, such as using dry erase markers on windows and sliding glass doors. Writing doesn’t have to be conventional.

The Family That Writes Together Writes Better

Parents of elementary school children always need writing tips. Elementary schools students come home with an array of writing assignments starting in Pre-K, and kids often turn to their parents for help with these arduous assignments. If you’re helping with writing in a language different from your own, check out some materials for teaching writing to ESL learners.