Should I insist my children learns to write?
With today’s modern technology, it’s natural to wonder just how important it is for a child to learn to write. The founding parents of our educational system were correct when they created the cornerstone for our school’s teachings; Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. By taking writing from our schools, we are literally taking out a third of what the student needs to be successful in their education.
Although there are devices that will more quickly and accurately communicate, the act of handwriting is brain development and doesn’t have much to do with the hand at all. Handwriting is in fact, brain writing. If a person were to lose their hands in an accident, and subsequently learned to write with their feet or mouth, once the coordination of controlling the pen or pencil was mastered, the writing would look similar if not exactly like if they were using their hands. The reason for this is that a person’s handwriting is nothing more than body language on paper. (Which is why it changes with our moods.)
It’s Brain Writing
Writing develops our children’s brains in more ways than just hand/eye coordination. It develops communication skills as well as empathy and compassion. The children of today are often so attuned to communicating with their phones when in a face-to-face social situation, they often are uncomfortable and awkward. This can be directly linked to the lack of writing in their lives.
Analyzing a child’s writing should wait until they are over eighteen for several reasons, the biggest is the rapid way they are developing, learning and changing. Since children are constantly growing into their future selves, it’s encouraged for them to explore through the written word as well as drawings. In fact, a better way to analyze a child’s state of mind is to have them draw a house, a tree, a flower, a snake and a heart. These items can demonstrate the way the child is feeling at the moment the doodles are created. Each indicates a different part of the child’s life from their self-image to their home life, their friendships and attitudes towards sex. Like with writing, it needs to be understood, the drawing is the way they feel at the moment in time they drew it, those things can change with moods, outer influences and over-all situations in their lives.
What can a parent do?
It’s never too early to introduce children into writing and doodling. As soon as a toddler can hold a pencil, they can put it to paper and begin a brain work-out. Here are a few suggestions to get your child writing and enjoying the process of it.
- Unlined paper – When getting a journal for your child, invest in a sketch pad instead. Lines on paper tend to restrict the creativity and expression of their penmanship. If a child wants to write big, little, uphill, down-hill or all over the place, let them. There is no right or wrong way for them to get started.
- Age for cursive writing – Keep in mind, when cursive is introduced, girls have the fine-motor skills by third or fourth grade whereas boys aren’t ready for that type of writing until sixth or seventh. This explains why women tend to enjoy cursive writing more than men, they were introduced to it when their brains were ready and able to process the act. (It also explains why most women are more compassionate and empathetic.)
- The only red-flags are extremes – If your child is writing so hard it puts dents in your table, that is an extreme that needs to be addressed (there will be other emotional signs from your child, but intense heavy writing can be interpreted as anger). These red-flags need to be consistent or most likely would be considered a mood or phase. Other extremes that are noteworthy are very tiny writing or writing that is so perfect it looks like a font from a computer.
- Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation – Unless your student it doing a homework assignment that will be graded, don’t stress out about the spelling or punctuation. When a child can be free to express themselves without the pressure of dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s they will have a better overall experience. If the experience is good, they will be more likely to want to write again and again.
Don’t forget to write
Unlike algebra, handwriting may never be used in everyday life for your child (lol). That being said, the benefits of teaching your child to write will never be a waste of time. Writing hones in hand/eye coordination, encourages creativity and develops compassion and empathy more than we realize. To ensure your child has all the advantages they need in today’s competitive world, writing may be the easiest tool to give them. To maximize their success, regardless of their passions and talents, don’t forget to write.