"Why do I need to write anyway?!"

Hello dear parents, caregivers and kindergarden teachers. Here is your DevelopmenTip - a piece of advice on child development!

7-year-old Jonathan comes to see me for occupational therapy to help him with writing. During our last treatment, avoiding to write Jonathan asked me "Why do I need to write anyway?!" I replied that there are many reasons to write, such as writing a card or a letter. "A letter?" he asked. "Yes, I’m sure your mother would be glad to receive a short letter. The content would make her happy, and so would the improvement in your writing." He agreed, wrote it, and even made sure the handwriting was clear, saying, "My mom will need to be able to understand what I wrote!" We put the letter in an envelope and wrote who it was from and for whom. And now Jonathan and his mother have a sweet written memento!

If you ask most kids the question Jonathan asked me - "Why do we need to write anyway?” - you will usually get one of two answers: “My parents ask me to/make me, or my teachers ask me to/make me. Children cannot see the extensive functionality of writing in their lives outside of school, that is, as a voluntary learning tool, a tool for self-management, memory, the expression of an opinion or a thought, or all the other uses for writing that we as adults incorporate in our lives. When the activity of writing is put into a meaningful context for children, or in the context of the “adult-world,” it motivates children to participate and develop.

So our DevelopmenTip today is to take advantage of opportunities to incorporate significant goings-on in the child’s daily life to encourage positive drawing or writing experiences.

Share with everyone who loves children. Happy developing!

Guy Y. Yekutieli, Occupational Therapist specializing in child development