What to do if your child doesn’t like reading and writing? Discover why it is important to insist creatively and try our CocoRio tips!
Does your child prefer watching TV or playing on your IPad or PlayStation instead of reading a book? Don’t worry, you are not alone! Technology can seem more gratifying and is most certainly addictive. In such a fast-paced world, now more than ever we sometimes realise that we are slaves of technology. After a whole day working in front of a screen, we feel the need to turn the bigger screen on to watch a show in order to relax. And we do this while we occasionally check our smaller screen, scrolling through our friends’ stories and tweets.
We can only imagine what it is going to be like when our children are adults like us. Will they have virtual screens everywhere they look? Will they be able to visualise their addictive social media feeds on their smart glasses? Don’t worry, I am not writing this to make you feel more anxious, but in order to bring up a few suggestions that may actually help you and your children grow a passion for reading and writing. And before you feel skeptical, I am not suggesting that the only way to do it is with old fashioned pen and paper, although this may work best for some.
First, to prevent losing our skills learnt at school despite the presence of autocorrect and word suggestions. Second, because reading and writing are great activities to feel mindful and relax. And in a world filled with notifications and instant communication, our sleep and mental health are often impacted by our inability to switch off.
Some may think that because of this fast-changing digitalised world our children won’t need to like old fashion reading and writing. Instead, we suggest insisting a little bit, as reading and writing are such powerful ways of expressing yourself and learning as well as encouraging mindfulness, relaxation and being entertaining.
Children daily learn spelling and writing for various contexts at school. When writing on paper, spell checks or word suggestions do not exist. Children at school are encouraged to read books with a variety of vocabulary. But school can’t be the sole place where children read and write. What happens when children grow up in an ever more digitised world? What if they lost reading and writing in a creative way and only stuck to text and email style writing? Maybe they never loved English, or if they did, their job is too demanding for them to pick up a book every day to relax, and they just want to switch their brains off in front of the TV.
Truth is, the only way to keep your vocabulary and syntax rich is reading, writing and listening to good quality English. There are a few compromises for people who don’t feel their writing and reading juices flowing. Listening to audiobooks works for many who don’t like reading an old fashioned book for example. Different kinds of writing styles are loved by many children and adults alike including writing song lyrics, poetry, or keeping a diary. Even writing emails or letters to friends who live far is a great way to exercise writing skills. This while keeping in touch.
But all these habits are easier to maintain if they are planted early on in life. This is why I believe that reading and writing can’t just be the school’s domain. It shouldn’t only be associated with homework. As soon as something is associated with school, it immediately seems less ‘fun’ to some. So read to and with your children, make stories up with them and leave books around the house. Stop by at book shops and help your children becoming curious about libraries bringing them with you if you are borrowing books for yourself.
And if your children are very digital types but also love reading, you don’t have to force them to read old fashioned paper books. A Kindle is a great birthday present and will last (almost) a lifetime allowing them to read more books at a smaller cost. As well as being more environmentally sustainable!
If you think you need some extra support to develop your children’s love for reading and writing, do not worry. Many of our CocoRio sitters are specialised in creative writing and storytelling. Without your child knowing they are ‘learning’, they’d be making incredible progress, while having fun. Our sessions can include games, storytelling, creative writing, as well as songwriting. If a child loves music, encouraging them to write song lyrics is a wonderful way to get that writing spark started! There is lots of poetry that songwriters may want to read to get inspired by.
Equally, if your child’s first language isn’t English and you’d like them to be exposed to the language facilitating their learning through fun games and songs, there is no better way to practice. Our sitters can help while having a lot of fun! They can play with your child as well as be responsible for all child care duties. These include school pick ups and drop offs. During their sessions they will sing songs and organise fun creative activities all in English, aimed at improving pronunciation and vocabulary. This can equally be done in any foreign language, as many of our sitters are multilingual!
If you are looking for more academic support with English learning in general, our brand new partners The Golden Circle can help you. Their team of over 300 qualified teachers deliver a world-class education tailored to each individual child. They also offer home schooling help.
If you are still unsure as to why reading and writing are so beneficial, start doing that yourself. You’ll catch yourself using new words as well as feeling less stressed and sleeping better if you read before bed instead of scrolling through your phone. But don’t blame us for weird dreams you may have when reading a horror novel before going to sleep!
Corinna, Co-Founder of CocoRio
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