Overview: Does your child hate writing? Does he refuse to write or struggle with the act of writing? It could be a physical issue. It could be a maturity issue. Or it could be a disconnect between your child’s fingers and his brain. Learn easy ways to change your approach so that your child will no longer hate to write!
I’ve always known that my boys were smart. They started talking before they were one year old. They started learning to read when they were three. They’ve always been able to come up with intricate stories in their heads, carry on wonderful conversations, think logically, and remember all sorts of facts. The one thing they have always struggled with in our homeschool was that they didn’t want to write anything down. Can you relate? Does your child hate to write?!?
This is a big deal! Writing is one of those skills that you use in all of your subjects. We typically teach spelling by having kids write their words several times. We teach lots of subjects by having the child fill out a workbook page to see what they remember. We give tests where they are asked to write things down. Even notebooking and lapbooking require the child to write out what they remember about certain subjects.
My boys could talk to me endlessly about what they remembered but as soon as I would ask them to write anything down, they would freeze up and balk at having to write a short sentence or two.
My Child Refuses to Write
Sometimes the issue is that we’re trying to get our kids to write when they are simply not ready. We expect children who are ages 4-6 to color and to begin learning to write their letters but sometimes they aren’t mature enough to do these things, yet. This is especially true for boys, who can lag behind in this area.
The best thing to do in this circumstance is to put some of the writing aside and create learning experiences which don’t involve a paper and pencil. Give them time and allow them to complete most of their work orally.
Physically Struggling with Writing
Sometimes the issue is that our kids haven’t yet developed the fine motor skills necessary to be able to write. This is the case in older and older children as technology takes a more prominent place in the lives of our kids. They are simply not doing the same types of activities which develop our hand muscles as much as children did in generations past.
If you suspect this is the case, having your child do some fun fine motor activities to build up the strength in his fingers will make a huge difference in helping him to struggle less with writing.
Some kids who physically struggle to write with a pencil will do much better using a pen. It takes less strength to make a mark with a pen than it does with a pencil. These kids also do well learning how to type at a young age. My boys tried all sorts of typing programs geared for kids but they didn’t become touch typists until they went through the Mavis Beacon program.
Not Interested in Writing
Not all adults enjoy writing. In fact, quite a few adults avoid writing like the plague. They certainly wouldn’t want to sit down and write a book report after they finish a book. And they wouldn’t choose to spend their free time writing stories or essays about their life.
Guess what?!? Your child may not ever enjoy writing. That doesn’t mean that they can’t write. Or that they won’t learn how to write well. But it may not be something they choose to do. For these kids, it’s important to do what we can to help them at least learn how to write to the best of their ability.
- 4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer – Tips for kids who simply are not interested in writing
- Teaching Writing to Older Kids – Ways to help older kids who are still trying to master the skill of writing
- 7 Simple Ways to Help Kids Overcome Writer’s Block – Ideas to help kids who are struggling to know what to write
And over time, they may even decide that they love to tell stories and they want to become authors as my oldest son has. You can read all about his experience in this post co-written by him called How to Motivate a Child to Write.
Is There a Disconnect Between Your Child’s Fingers and His Brain?
The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
If your child is learning but refuses to write or seems like he has to work really hard to write anything down, we can wonder if it’s laziness or a character issue. I know I struggled with this with my own sons. And I wondered if they would ever grow out of it.
Fortunately, a few years ago my questions were finally answered. While attending our state’s homeschool convention, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop taught by an amazing woman named Dianne Craft. She has a master’s degree in special education, she’s a certified nutritional health professional, and she was a homeschool mom.
She taught several workshops this weekend; but, the first one that caught my eye was called Smart Kids Who Hate to Write. I knew I needed to attend this workshop. I was just hoping that I might learn one or two things that could give my boys some relief in this area.
Why Is Writing Such a Struggle for Some Kids?
Dianne said that writing is an activity in which we should be using both hemispheres of our brain. Once we learn how to do something, after 6 months it is supposed to transfer over to the automatic processing part of our brain. If children are struggling to write, often it is because this doesn’t happen. For these kids, they continue having to think about the letters they’re forming and the words they’re writing instead of that being an automatic process.
She gave the analogy of learning to drive a car. She reminded us of what a difficult task this first was when we started to learn. We had to think about where our feet should be and how to push the different pedals. We had to think about when to use our turn signals and which lane to drive in. We had to remember to check behind, around, and in front of us before changing lanes. There were so many different things to think about that we had to use all of our focus to drive. We couldn’t talk at the same time and it wasn’t enjoyable. In fact, it was quite stressful.
That was the case until we had practiced long enough that the various processes necessary for us to drive transferred over to our automatic hemisphere. Then driving became enjoyable. We could carry on a conversation while driving. We could sing along with the radio. It was a whole different ballgame. We could turn our head to look at the sights. It became a relaxing experience! (Driving on country roads, anyway.)
This is what some of our kids feel like when they are writing. Instead of being able to write and think about anything else at the same time, they have to focus very hard just to write anything down. This takes a tremendous amount of energy and focus and having to write anything down zaps much of their strength.
Sometimes this problem is caused by your child having a mixed dominance.
Normally, if your child is right handed their right eye will be dominant. If they are left handed their left eye will be dominant. For some kids, this isn’t the case. One of my sons is left handed but his right eye is dominant. This can cause confusion in the brain while he is writing and can cause the writing process to be stopped from entering the automatic hemisphere.
Sometimes a child’s brain is hardwired for left-handedness even though they are right-handed or vice versa. This can also cause major stress in their writing system.
How can you tell if there is stress in your child’s writing system?
- If they hate to write or take a long time to do so
- If they have a mixed dominance
- If they occasionally reverse their letters or numbers after age 7
- If they are right handed but they make the letter ‘O’ clockwise
- If they form some letters from bottom to top
- If their copy work takes a long time and is labor intensive
- If they do their math problems in their head to avoid writing them down
- If their writing looks sloppy
- If they tell great stories orally by write very little down
- If they have a hard time lining up their math problems
- If they press very hard when writing
- If they are a teenager but they avoid writing at all costs
- If they mix their capital and small letters when writing
How Do I Help My Child?
If your child is exhibiting even one or two of these symptoms then he or she would benefit from going through some Brain Integration Therapy. This sounds complicated but it’s actually very simple and inexpensive and it’s something you can do at home with your child. This therapy was developed by Dr. Geteman and Dr. Paul Dennison. This exercise not only helps your child to overcome their dysgraphia but it will also improve their hand-eye coordination and their awareness of their body in space. This will help them to perform better in sports as well as to write with ease.
The Brain Integration Therapy is simple yet it involves lots of steps. I can’t detail how to do them in this article because I don’t want to take the chance of missing a step and making you waste your time. I would recommend that you purchase the following products by Dianne Craft:
I purchased these products myself and have been thrilled with what I have discovered so far. Her Brain Integration Therapy Manual is easy to understand and easy to follow. The Smart Kids Who Hate to Write DVD includes the entire workshop that I attended which explains the reasoning behind this therapy. It also includes examples of kids who are a variety of ages doing the Writing Eight exercise, which is the main therapy that she recommends for overcoming dysgraphia (see picture above.)
There are so many other exercises which are beneficial in her brain training manual, however, that I would HIGHLY recommend you purchase that as well.
If your child is struggling to write, purchasing these items will be a small price to pay to see their suffering end in this area. I can’t tell you how relieved I was after finding this program! My boys were also very excited to start this therapy.
Dianne says that your child might consider these exercises boring and that’s true. If your child is struggling, however, you may find that they will be excited to do exercises that might help them overcome something which has been causing them grief for many years.
Dianne says that you will start to see results after a few months; but, that you need to do the therapy for 6 months to a year so that the brain is permanently trained. Dianne said that in her over 30 years of teaching this to children she has never met a child she wasn’t able to help.
My boys did all of Dianne’s brain training for about seven months and it did help them. They stopped reversing letters and writing things from bottom to top. We still chose to let them type most of their assignments but after going through this therapy, it gave them the ability to write down more efficiently. I think the exercises also helped one of my sons with his balance and coordination. It was worth our time!
If you suspect your child has a disconnect between his fingers and his brain, do yourself and your children a favor. Get Dianne’s material. Read some of the articles on her website. Check out her sample audio and video files. I think you’ll be as happy as I am that you took the time to make writing easier for your children.
Fun Writing Resources
If you are looking for resources to make learning to writing more enjoyable for your child, I have some really fantastic suggestions for you!
Make Your Own Comics (Ages 6+) – Making comics is a great, non-intimidating way to motivate kids to start writing. This awesome activity pad is jam-packed with everything children need to design their very own comic strips. Create comics about swashbuckling pirates, a space adventure, a rogue robot rampage, and many more. With lots of hints and tips on drawing characters, showing emotions, setting the scene, and adding speech bubbles and sound effects.
My Year of Writing (Ages 8 and up) – A year’s worth of imaginative prompts for word associations, stories, jokes, and more help young writers discover their own personal creativity, fire up their imaginations, and hone their writing skills.
Write and Draw Your Own Comics (Ages 10+) – This is for kids who want to tell stories but who gravitate toward pictures. It has a mix of partially-drawn comics and blank panels with intro comics as instructions – lots of space for kids to draw their own comics but they’re never left fully alone with a scary blank page.
Usborne Write Your Own Sci-Fi and Fantasy Stories (Ages 10+) – A write-in book filled with a wide range of writing activities, tips, and advice to inspire a new generation of sci-fi and fantasy writers. Learn about world-building, suspense, and other tools to be the perfect sci-fi or fantasy writer!
Write Your Own Mystery and Suspense Stories (Ages 10+) – Do you want to tell tales of spine-tingling terror and thrilling suspense? This book is full of ideas to help you write stories about haunted houses, eccentric detectives, cursed tombs, and more. You’ll find lots of useful tips and plenty of space to write — but no scary blank pages.
Write and Design Your Own Magazines (Ages 10+) – This book explains how to make homemade magazines or ‘zines’ from scratch. With step-by-step instructions and tips on everything from making comics or writing advice columns to printing magazines and finding readers.
Write Your Own Scripts (Ages 10+) – This book will help you write all kinds of scripts – scary ones, exciting ones, and hilariously silly ones. It’s full of tips and ideas that will help you every step of the way – from planning and writing to putting on your very own shows.
Write Your Own Poems (Ages 10+) – A write-in book filled with a wide range of poetry writing activities, tips, and advice to inspire a new generation of young poets. This book aims to make poetry accessible and exciting for beginners.
Writing Box Set (Ages 10+) – In this box you will find everything you need to start your writing career: two books loaded with tips and prompts for writing stories, poems and essays, and a handy journal to write down your notes, observations and chapters. Includes Creative Writing Book, Write Your Own Storybook, and Writing Journal.
A Year in my Life (Ages 9-13) – A kids’ journal quite unlike any other, this beautifully illustrated book invites children to record a year of their life by filling in the 365 quirky drawing and writing activities—one for every day of the year. Activities are fun, quick—so no excuse to miss any days!—and imaginatively offbeat, so journalers might be invited to “Draw a scene that happened today, but give the people animal heads” or “Write down every feeling you remember feeling today” or simply just “Sum up today in a single word.” At the end of the 365 days, children will end up with an amusing, creative, and offbeat record of a year in their life to treasure in years to come.
And if you would like to attend my FREE Kid’s Creative Learning Camp Storytelling lessons, where your child will see just how fun writing can be, join my VIP Group here.
Question: Does your child hate to write? Do you have any other tips you could share? Please leave a comment below.