How creative writing can provide vital support for children’s wellbeing in lockdown.

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.”

We must admit that we are not surprised at this outcome. While a continued lockdown can seem scary, heavy and uncertain we thought we would also speak to why creativity and creative writing can help.

Lockdown allows more time to devote to creativity. 

The first positive impact that a lockdown can have on children is the ample amount of time it frees up. Lockdown restrictions often mean that children have more free time at home and therefore more time to devote to creativity. Encourage your child to take this time to explore their feelings and find their creative side through writing.

Encouraging writing can mean less passive screen time. 

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 inspire mindfulness and allows for self-expression.

Writing can be the perfect way for your child to explore their feelings during such a chaotic and uncertain time. Self-expression is crucial in a time when everything else can feel so restricted.

It’s healthy for your child to practice their self-expression. With all of the lockdown restrictions, it can 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 throughout the pandemic. 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 metaphor 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

  • Have your child write letters.

Writing can allow a child to express empathy in a time where sadness is increasing and people are less able to see each other. 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

  • Explore short story writing.

Writing stories can be tricky and difficult. This is why at Night Zookeeper, we offer a special type of chat tool that asks children questions about a magical animal that they created. From there, they slowly build up enough writing to create a magical animal report! 

Once they have a report written, we later give children writing prompts starring the animal they just created. You can see examples of this process here

With a pandemic time schedule, there is always room for editing.

If your child is too busy adjusting to new school schedules, or they need a break from writing, 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. Lockdown enforces patience, but with writing, this can prove to be incredibly beneficial.

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And there you have it! If you have any questions about how the Night Zookeeper platform can help your child, please do reach out to our team at [email protected]. We’ll be happy to help answer any questions you might have. 

If you’d like to try out the Night Zookeeper platform, you can claim a free week’s trial by going here

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