When your child hates writing

frustrated child writing

I hate writing! and how to fix it
by Patience Domowski, LCSW

If you child says they hate writing and its causing an issue (at school, during homework time, etc) then figure out which aspect of writing is the problem and then you can work on the solution. You child may never love writing, and that’s okay, but they need to be able to write without a full tantrum, on a regular basis, to survive at school and there’s always going to be something to write in the future in their career and in daily life.

What do they hate the most? … and how to solve it!

1)     Physical aspect of writing- the moving of the pencil across the page. Maybe it hurts their hand or its difficult to hold the pencil

Solution: Try a pen or marker because it’s easier to write with (don’t have to push hard to get a result like with a pencil or crayon). Warm up their hands with some putty, playdough. Try a pencil grip squishy. Let them type instead.

If they really struggle with the handwriting aspect get an OT eval at school.

2)     Ideas – can’t think of what to write (for open ended assignments)

Solution: Give them ideas – two or three to pick from, or write a bunch of topics on strips of paper and put in a box and they can pick from the box.

3)     Time- takes a long time to write out answers.

Solution: Reduce the amount they have to write (If needs to be 5 sentences, settle for 3 or 4, for example). Have them type it or write with a different medium to go faster. Take a break between working.

4)     Bored – writing is too boring

Solution: Find topics that are interesting to the student. Make it a game. Listen to music while writing.

5)     Behavior- they just don’t want to.

Solution: Set up a reward system. They get a reward or fun activity after writing. At school- free time after finishing writing. Homework time at home- maybe get video game or TV time after finishing.

Some kids may struggle with writing for more than one reason. If you’re not sure just try a variety of solutions and see what works. Some ideas that work across problems include let them type instead of hand write, setting up a reward system where student earns a reward for doing their writing (without a fuss), and also having them write about something that interests them, and maybe even draw a corresponding picture (if they enjoy drawing/coloring). 

For some ideas for your stuck student see my Writing Prompts  download.