At Night Zookeeper, it’s no secret that we champion creative writing. We’ve known for some time about the importance creative writing has on making children flourish. The earlier a child starts writing, the better!
Recently, we read a brilliant article from the National Literacy Trust concerning new research that focuses on the benefits of creative writing for children’s wellbeing during lockdown. According to the study, not only has lockdown inspired a resurgence of children turning to creative writing, but also that this resurgence has provided a pivotal role in children’s wellbeing.
The study suggests more children are writing “short stories or fiction (40%), letters (39%), diaries or journals (27%) and poems (21%) in lockdown than they did before.”
Although things are now a little better, we must admit that we are not surprised at this outcome. While unexpected circumstances, such as a continued lockdown can seem scary, heavy and uncertain we thought we would also speak to why creativity and creative writing can help to improve your child's wellbeing!
Now that there are a lot more resources that allow children to learn from home, there is more time for kids to be able to focus on writing as a hobby. Lockdown restrictions often meant that children had more free time at home and therefore more time to devote to creativity. This has been proved to be quite beneficial! Encourage your child to take time to explore their feelings and find their creative side through writing.
When a child writes they are spending more time using their brains creatively and being productive, rather than just mindlessly playing video games or endlessly scrolling. Having your child focus on creative screen time rather than passive screen time can be highly beneficial for them – and for you!
Writing can be the perfect way for your child to explore their feelings during such chaotic and uncertain times. Self-expression is crucial in a time when everything else can still feel quite restricted.
It’s healthy for your child to practice their self-expression. It can sometimes be very hard to understand complex feelings and writing is a perfect way to explore this.
In turning towards creative writing, not only can a child practice mindfulness but they can continue to craft their unique voice and build a sense of personhood in a time where it may feel (quite literally) impossible.
All forms of creative writing can get your child reflecting and thinking of how to express themselves, but if you need a place to start, we recommend the following:
Encourage your child to keep a diary Suggest to your child to keep a daily journal or diary. This can be highly beneficial for multiple reasons. A diary is a private space for your child to explore their emotions and write honestly about them. During an uncertain and scary period of time, this might be the perfect way for your child to reflect on their feelings. This can help ground your child and could prove to be highly therapeutic.
Introduce your child to poetry Poetry is a brilliant way for your child to learn how to say a lot, while writing little. They can explore metaphors and similes as ways to express their feelings without saying them outright. Poetry is also a perfect writing form for a child to express empathy and work their way through complex emotions.
The Caring Stars Exhibition across hospitals and care homes Over the first round of lockdown, we partnered with IMM’s Care to Create and printed.com, and set out a very special Star Writing Challenge for our children to create a short rhyming poem about staying positive and spreading love and hope. We also asked them to create a piece of artwork relating to positivity and spreading love and hope. The winners of this challenge had the chance to have their poems and drawings featured in a “Caring Stars Exhibition” across different hospitals and care homes to help make Key Workers’ and patients’ lives happier. Read about the incredibly positive results here.
This is something that we encourage children to continue to do! Talking about positive ways to overcome a difficult time can be very helpful and can be applied to anything your child might be going through!
Have your child write letters Writing can allow a child to express empathy in a time when they feel low or when they're not yet ready to speak to someone face to face. Asking your child to write letters to their friends and close family members could be the perfect way of letting someone know they are thinking about them. By writing a letter, your child is given a unique way to connect with their loved ones. Plus, the letters can be saved forever!
We partnered again with IMM’s Care to Create asking our children to write letters thanking key workers. Their submitted letters were shared with different Key Workers across hospitals, care facilities, police stations, transport companies, as well as our social channels! You can read more here. This is an excellent example of how impactful letters can truly be!
Once they have a report written, we later give children writing prompts starring the animal they just created.
Pro tip: they can always come back to their writing and start again later. The beauty of writing is that there is no time limit and one can always come back to edit. Patience is a virtue, but with writing, this can prove to be incredibly beneficial.
To help your child get started with writing, our program offers a fantastically fun "way in" to writing that any child will enjoy. Sign up for a free week trial today!
If you have any questions about how the Night Zookeeper program can help your child, please do reach out to our team at [email protected].