Ask Amma

How do I make my daughter write?

In How on 9 May 2012 at 3:37 am

My baby is [age].  A week ago she started to learn to write … but she doesn’t want to write and refuses to hold the pencil.  Otherwise she loves to scribble on the wall but doesn’t want to write letters and she starts to cry.  Please help me –  how do I make her write?

– from Mothering.

Can you tape a large paper to the wall, at the height accessible to her?  Then she can scribble freely.    I have visited homes of parents who paint one wall black and keep chalk available for children and visitors – of all ages.

My guess is that she does not want to write letters designed by others because she is busy exploring the pencil and its possibilities.  Imagine that you have arrived at a beautiful mountain and are being asked to sit and study a particular rock.  Your limbs yearn to wander about the mountain.  Even if you stay and study the rock, your mind is wandering.  On the other hand, after running about to your heart’s content, if you then study the rock, you may actually be more curious and whatever you learn will stay with you as you continue exploring.

As babbling is a valuable stage of experimentation with language, so is scribbling a valuable exercise – making lines and curves and shapes appear, as if no one had ever done it before.  It will lead to writing, but it is also valuable in itself, and should not be rushed or cut short.

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