We know that most of your days are filled with sparkling children and made-from-scratch meals (right?).
But then there are those other days when the only reason you crawled out of bed is because chubby preschool fingers pried your eyelids open to announce the sun was almost awake.
On good days you have time to grab the manipulatives and set out a buffet of writing activities, but today is not that day. The good news is that we have a whole secret closet full of helpful tips for the roll-gracelessly-out-of-bed kind of days.
These tips for boosting your child’s writing skills can be done with no prep, minimal on-hand materials and most can be done from your couch! So reheat that forgotten cup of coffee and read on to help your child work hard on their writing while you refresh your energy.
Tired Mama Tip #1: Let the Kids Make Breakfast
Edible accessories are all the rage in preschool fashion circles. At least that’s what you can tell your kids as they strengthen their fine motor handwriting muscles by stringing their Fruity Toasted O’s into delectable statement necklaces. So Cereal-Chic!
When they’re finished, have them craft a bracelet and anklet too (ahem, lunch and dinner).
Just think, you’ve already given your child’s writing skills a boost and you haven’t even fully opened your eyes yet!
Tired Mama Tip #2: Let the Kids Clean the House
Why not? They just made breakfast didn’t they? And we want their hands to get a really good workout because writing is a tough job. The stronger the hands, the easier handwriting will be.
Hand your child a spray bottle full of water and set them loose to water the plants, wipe down a table, or scrub the toilet!
Okay, maybe that last one was wishful thinking, but the point is, your child is doing important writing work while you get some much needed couch time with your feet up.
Tired Mama Tip #3: Play the “Why” Game
Every parent of a child aged 4-6 has had their ear talked off with a long string of the “why? why? WHY?” question so I won’t ask you to play that game again.
Instead, boost your child’s writing skills by turning the tables and asking “why?” whenever your child tells you important information.
Such as when they inform you the dog is now enjoying a milky bowl of Fruity Toasted O’s at the breakfast table.
This is a great time to ask why, why, WHY? to give them the opportunity to flex those pre-writing cognitive muscles by having to brainstorm a justifiable excuse.
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Tired Mama Tip #4: What, Where, When and How?!
Along with why, these four words are known as the 5 W’s of writing. We don’t know how “how” sneaked into the exclusive W club, but we won’t snitch.
Feel free to ask these questions along with the why’s of above to really give your child’s pre-writing a workout while telling their stories.
Tired Mama Tip #5: Read Some Books
When writers aren’t writing, they read. Reading is best done with a stack of cookies and your little buddy.
Have him grab a bunch of his favorite books and spend the afternoon cuddled together to enrich his imagination, increase his literacy, and build vocabulary that will help in his future writing.
We won’t tell if you need to skip a few lines as he (and you?) starts to doze off.
Tired Mama Tip #6: Make a Mess
Your house just got wiped down so we’re going to have to ask you to move from the couch to the hammock in the backyard for this (it’s a sacrifice, we know).
Bring a can of shaving cream for your little writer and spray a huge dollop on the outside of your window or glass doors then sit back with lemonade and watch your writer go wild.
At first they will just wipe a big mess everywhere, but with a little encouragement they can try forming letters and words. Besides being fun, the vertical surface and foamy texture gives them that extra sensory experience helping them to process and remember the writing motions.
Clean up is a breeze—just grab a hose and have your little writer spray down the window!
Tired Mama Tip #7: Watch a Movie
Now it’s time to cool off with your child’s favorite flick. Young children have short attention spans except when it comes to watching their favorite movie over and over (and over) again so use it to your advantage.
This is a great time to introduce hefty writing vocabulary such as setting, plot, and theme while you chill out.
Discussing these elements in a casual way now will help them seem much less scary later when writing gets more intense.
Tired Mama Tip #8: Hand Them Paper and Let Them Draw
Ever heard that saying: A picture is worth a thousand words? It’s usually accurate although I do wonder what my preschooler was saying when she handed me a picture of a scribbled blue and green blob and said it was Mommy?
The point is that drawing pictures are an easy way to boost your child’s writing skills because each drawing has a story behind it.
Before your child can write lengthy paragraphs, his pictures are a way to communicate his thoughts.
As he grows older, his teachers might call it freewriting or story-mapping and your child will use words rather than pictures, but the concept is the same: getting stories from his brain onto the paper.
Tired Mama Tip #9: Old Fashioned Pencil and Paper
Young children are wired to write. You have proof of this from every crayon covered wall you’ve now accepted as adding “character” to your décor.
But because Sharpie doesn’t easily scrub off of toilets (ask me how I know) it’s probably best on your most tired days to provide some paper and a pencil and have them practice writing right next to you.
If they struggle with grip, dig a broken crayon from under the couch cushions–the shorter length naturally encourages the tripod grip that’s best for forming letters.
Tired Mama Tip #10: Declare a Nap Time
Well, if you must, you must, right? Not only is getting some shut-eye our favorite tip for you tired mamas, but it’s also incredibly important to build writing skills.
Plots for world famous novels such as Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the more modern Twilight have all been plucked from the author’s own dreams.
When your daughter wakes up and narrates how she just used pixie dust to disarm the 12-foot fire-breathing dragon which saved Princess Pancake, she’s practicing the most important part of writing: telling the story.
If you’re feeling rejuvenated after your nap, you can write these down and save them as memories of her first stories.
But for now, roll out that blankie, zip up those footie jammies and toss back some warm milk. Put your kid to bed too. After all, you both have some important work to do.