Start your free 7-day Joon App trial

How Do I Motivate A Young Child to Write?

May 8, 2023
Table of Contents

    Practicing writing at home is a great way to help kids learn, but how do you motivate your child to do it? There are ways to successfully encourage children's writing skills without making it feel like a chore.

    This article will discuss how to effectively encourage your child's writing skills through techniques like playing games, using a journal jar, and incorporating writing into daily tasks.

    Struggling to motivate your ADHD child?
    Download the Joon App and start your free 7-day trial.  
    Download App

    Ways To Encourage A Child's Writing Skills

    Whether you have younger kids or older kids, you want to ensure they have the skills they need in life. Writing is one of them, and kids will need it both in and out of school. Use these creative strategies, and your child's writing skills will improve before you know it! 

    Play Games

    Playing games is an excellent way to boost a child's skills in various subjects. Playing word games and other games that use various English skills is one way to motivate kids to practice writing skills. The games you play can be digital or offline. For those with children who express dislike for writing or struggle with demands especially, you don't need to call the games you play to practice "writing games." Instead, simply saying, "Let's play a game," can be a better approach. Here are some examples of games to try:

    Try Joon To Help

    Using Joon can help your child finish daily routines and tasks. Geared toward kids ages 6-12+ with ADHD and related disorders, Joon is a kid's to-do app that doubles as a game. Here's how it works:

    Parents download the Joon Parent App first and customize a task list for their children. You can add unlimited tasks, from homework and chores to writing practice or reading time. Kids use a separate app called Joon Pet Game. In the game, children get rewards for completing tasks their parents assign that allow them to care for a virtual pet, called a Doter. 

    90% of kids who use Joon finish all their tasks, and users often say the app has improved their parent-child relationship. 

    Click here to try Joon for free

    Flying messages

    "Flying Messages" is a simple and screen-free word game that's ideal for a sunny day. You and your child might even have what you need to play ready at home. You'll need three things: A frisbee or ball, paper cut into strips, and some tape. On the paper strips, you and your child will write various demands like "quack like a duck" or "hop on one foot three times." Then, you will take turns taping the messages onto the ball or frisbee and toss it back and forth, attempting to complete the demand you receive.

    Eat your words

    Eating your words may be ideal for a child who enjoys games like Candy Crush. It combines traditional word games with modern matching games that are fun and easy to play. In the game, players find as many words as they can on each board. Every word generates a sushi piece. When you match three sushi pieces, you clear them off the board.

    Eat your words is available on Steam for free.

    Picture games

    There are a lot of picture games that can help kids write. One popular idea is to take interesting images, which you can find online, in magazines, or somewhere else, put them in a jar or bowl, and have a child close their eyes and pick one. Then, they will write a story about the image. Choose images that'll spark interest in your unique child, like a superhero flying, a space alien, or animals.

    Turn-taking writing game

    This is a game many children play as they learn to write. Even better, it's cost-free. Turn-taking writing games are simple. You and your child will alternate between writing sentences and passing the notebook or sheet of paper back and forth to create stories.

    Board games

    At your next family game night, or the next time you and you and your child have the time to play, board games can be surprisingly helpful for teaching kids writing, reading, critical thinking, and other skills.

    Board games that promote writing skills include but aren't limited to Apples to Apples (or Apples to Apples Junior), Tell Me A Story, and Scattergories. Most of these are popular and available for purchase, both in person or online. Look at what's available and find a game you think your child would gravitate toward.

    If your child's at a place where they're ready to work on spelling, Scrabble is another option. Older kids ages 8+ can play the classic Scrabble game, but Scrabble Junior is available for those with a younger child.

    Make an "I Can" Book

    An "I Can" book is a popular idea for younger kids learning to write alongside many other skills kids develop in early childhood.

    To make an "I Can" book, have a child write and decorate pages dedicated to different things they can do - especially those they've learned recently. For example, riding a bike, making cookies, tying their shoes, and other accomplishments.

    Get construction paper, markers, glitter glue, photos and pictures cut out from magazines, and anything else your child might want to include in their book. That way, especially for a more reluctant writer, it'll feel like an art project, which might help your child get more comfortable writing and enjoy it.

    Some kids also like to write stories. In that case, you can write and make a classic kids' book together about virtually any topic. You provide the supplies and help your child talk through story ideas, but your child's job is to write it all down and draw pictures or anything else they want to add.

    Try A Journal Jar 

    Journal prompts can help inspire creativity and get kids to write. To make a journal jar, write prompts on pieces of paper. Then, fold them up and place them in a jar. Then, your child will close their eyes, pick one out, and write about the topic. 

    You can do this together if your child's more apt to engage when another person's involved. Questions like "What would you do on a perfect vacation?" or "What's the best way to spend a Summer day?" will jog your child's brain.

    A quick web search can help you find an array of prompts suitable for your child. Many parents opt to have their children answer one prompt per day, so you might make it part of a child's routine as a quick way to encourage writing skills daily.

    Create A Family Scrapbook

    Scrapbooks are a way to save memories while getting writing practice. Encourage your child to write out people's names, information about events or vacations caught in family pictures, memories that go with old ticket stubs and airplane tickets, or anything else.

    You should be able to find scrapbook supplies at a craft store, major retailer, or online. An inexpensive photo album works just as well if you can't find a regular scrapbook.

    Practice Through Letter Writing

    One way to promote virtually any skill, including writing, is to include it in an everyday task. That way, it won't apply the same kind of pressure or demand as something like a school project. Having your child write a letter or card to family members when the opportunity presents itself is a common option. It's part of why many schools set kids up with pen pals!

    Think of other writing opportunities that show up in daily life and consider those, too. Aside from writing letters or cards, kids might write shopping lists, recipes, or emails. Even if it only takes a few sentences, the practice counts and can make a world of difference.

    Play With Words

    There are a lot of different ways to play with words in addition to the use of games. Fun ways to play with words include but aren't limited to:

    • Letter or word magnets kids can arrange on the fridge to make words and sentences. You can find these for under $20 in person or online.
    • Letting kids "play with food" using items like alphabet cookie cutters or alphabet pasta.
    • Making a collage with words or letters from magazines.
    • Fill-in-the-blank sheets (like Mad Libs).
    • Crossword puzzles.

    Try Adding Helpful Tools

    Sometimes, functional tools are key for kids. If your child's a reluctant writer, think about whether there are any barriers, and if so, what might make it easier. For example, if they have dysgraphia, could they benefit from a program like Handwriting Without Tears? Is your child someone who could benefit from pencil grips or another tool due to challenges with grip? 

    Don't Be The "Spelling Police"

    While spelling games can be fun, don't focus on the correct spelling when kids write. When your child writes stories, essays, or virtually anything else, focus on getting the ideas out and communicating the point instead. Taking pressure off in any way you can may be particularly valuable if your child struggles or gets frustrated during the writing process. 

    Talk with your child's teacher about this if you have any concerns; more often than not, they will agree with the approach and may even have more tips.


    Dr. Brittany Ferri, PhD

    Brittany is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who holds a PhD in Integrative Mental Health. She is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has direct experience in program development, behavioral health, pediatrics, and telehealth. She has published five books, lectured at 20+ OT/OTA programs, and has been quoted as a health expert by NBC News, WebMD, CNN, and other outlets.


    Dr. Brittany Ferri, PhD

    Brittany is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who holds a PhD in Integrative Mental Health. She is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has direct experience in program development, behavioral health, pediatrics, and telehealth. She has published five books, lectured at 20+ OT/OTA programs, and has been quoted as a health expert by NBC News, WebMD, CNN, and other outlets.