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Category: Parenting

How to Effectively Limit Your Child’s Phone Usage

Limiting Kids Cell Phone Usage

The phone, a device once used solely for the purpose of calling one another, has quickly become capable of just about everything.  The birth of mobile phones has brought the world to our finger tips, both good and bad.  And who would have believed a decade ago that these smart portable computers would be in the hands of most kids.

With such a powerful device now available to just about everyone, it becomes more and more of a challenge to limit your child’s usage of their phone. Activities available on a smart phone seem endless; playing games, making music, watching videos, and even browsing the internet. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, without moderation and protections put in place, there can be consequences.

Should I Allow My Child to Get a Phone?

Before asking whether how to limit your child’s phone usage, it is probably worth discussing whether your child should be allowed to have a phone in the first place. A phone is an extremely useful tool for your child to have in order to gain a sense of independence, allowing them to attend after-school clubs or extracurricular activities while staying in contact with you.

While your child may claim that all of their friends have a phone and try to use this as a reason that they should have one, it is up to you to decide at what age it is appropriate and not their friend’s parents. By allowing your child to have a phone at a young age, you are essentially granting them access to an unfiltered and unsafe world that they are not be ready for.

Limiting my Child’s Phone Usage

Luckily, when you decide that it is the right time for your child to have a phone, there are still parental control filters that can be installed to ensure that they aren’t visiting unsafe sites, as well as any site that isn’t age-appropriate. It is also possible to install parental control filters to actually limit the amount of time that they spend online each day. While you may think that installing these filters is all you need to do, it is important that the limits that you set are fair and that you also set a good example for your children with your own phone usage.

A Digital Family Alliance

Although parental filters can definitely help, sometimes setting strict limits on your children’s devices while you continue to use yours to your heart’s content can create tension in your household. Creating a digital family alliance is a great way to adopt healthy digital habits together. By being honest with your children, it opens up a dialogue where everyone can contribute, letting each family member explain the difficulties they have when it comes to limiting the amount of time they spend on their phone. After all, how can you expect your children to get away from their phones if you can’t get away from yours?

Is all Phone Usage bad for your Children?

Although we have been talking about limiting our children’s phone usage, it would be wrong to say that all phone usage is bad for them. Having a phone does give your child a sense of independence as well as allowing them to stay in contact with friends and even participate in productive activities.

Today, children can use their phones to learn digital art, how to make music, and even get into photography, the potential is limitless. The point here is that it is important to understand how much time should be spent on non-productive activities such as scrolling through social media or watching endless YouTube videos to name a few. Monitoring the amount of time that they are using their phone for these different activities is crucial to allowing them to enjoy any creative hobbies that they may need their phone for while cutting out the junk food of their digital diet.

Conclusion

So we can agree that our phones are incredibly useful devices when in the right hands. By working together as a family we can create rules that are easy enough for everyone to sustainably adhere to. If you are thinking of limiting your child’s phone usage, make sure to ask them how long they think is an acceptable amount of time to spend on their phones and create an open space where you can discuss your digital week. After all, families can get through anything when they work together.

The phone, a device once used solely for the purpose of calling one another, has quickly become capable of just about everything.  The birth of mobile phones has brought the world to our finger tips, both good and bad.  And who would have believed a decade ago that these smart portable computers would be in the hands of most kids.

With such a powerful device now available to just about everyone, it becomes more and more of a challenge to limit your child’s usage of their phone. Activities available on a smart phone seem endless; playing games, making music, watching videos, and even browsing the internet. Unfortunately, as with many things in life, without moderation and protections put in place, there can be consequences.

Should I Allow My Child to Get a Phone?

Before asking whether how to limit your child’s phone usage, it is probably worth discussing whether your child should be allowed to have a phone in the first place. A phone is an extremely useful tool for your child to have in order to gain a sense of independence, allowing them to attend after-school clubs or extracurricular activities while staying in contact with you.

While your child may claim that all of their friends have a phone and try to use this as a reason that they should have one, it is up to you to decide at what age it is appropriate and not their friend’s parents. By allowing your child to have a phone at a young age, you are essentially granting them access to an unfiltered and unsafe world that they are not be ready for.

Limiting my Child’s Phone Usage

Luckily, when you decide that it is the right time for your child to have a phone, there are still parental control filters that can be installed to ensure that they aren’t visiting unsafe sites, as well as any site that isn’t age-appropriate. It is also possible to install parental control filters to actually limit the amount of time that they spend online each day. While you may think that installing these filters is all you need to do, it is important that the limits that you set are fair and that you also set a good example for your children with your own phone usage.

A Digital Family Alliance

Although parental filters can definitely help, sometimes setting strict limits on your children’s devices while you continue to use yours to your heart’s content can create tension in your household. Creating a digital family alliance is a great way to adopt healthy digital habits together. By being honest with your children, it opens up a dialogue where everyone can contribute, letting each family member explain the difficulties they have when it comes to limiting the amount of time they spend on their phone. After all, how can you expect your children to get away from their phones if you can’t get away from yours?

Is all Phone Usage bad for your Children?

Although we have been talking about limiting our children’s phone usage, it would be wrong to say that all phone usage is bad for them. Having a phone does give your child a sense of independence as well as allowing them to stay in contact with friends and even participate in productive activities.

Today, children can use their phones to learn digital art, how to make music, and even get into photography, the potential is limitless. The point here is that it is important to understand how much time should be spent on non-productive activities such as scrolling through social media or watching endless YouTube videos to name a few. Monitoring the amount of time that they are using their phone for these different activities is crucial to allowing them to enjoy any creative hobbies that they may need their phone for while cutting out the junk food of their digital diet.

Conclusion

So we can agree that our phones are incredibly useful devices when in the right hands. By working together as a family we can create rules that are easy enough for everyone to sustainably adhere to. If you are thinking of limiting your child’s phone usage, make sure to ask them how long they think is an acceptable amount of time to spend on their phones and create an open space where you can discuss your digital week. After all, families can get through anything when they work together.

Parental Control Software | App

Most parents seeking parental control software options have kids in their home using multiple computers and devices, all of which are connected to the Internet. Even a single child may have a phone as well as a computer or tablet. They also are often using their parents personal computer from time to time for school projects or simply to print something.

If that isn’t enough to manage, your family members are connecting to the Internet at school or at a friend’s house. With proper parental controls you can ensure the safety and security of your kids online. Otherwise, it’s difficult to know where to begin. It’s hard enough for a person who has some technical savvy, but what if you are technically challenged?

Let’s face it, a lack of technical knowledge is the case for most of us. We live in an ever changing world where the optimal “kid safety zone” is a moving target. This is where parental control software becomes an essential tool in managing the various needs of any family, according to a range of ages and responsibility.

The good news is, effective parental controls allows you to help keep your family safe in one software download, whether you want to access it on an app or your computer. At Safe Search Kids, we recommend complete parental control management to meet the needs of any family large or small.

Let’s explore what parental control means on every device in your home.

Parental Control is Internet Filtering

Internet filtering is certainly the first priority when thinking about protecting kids from harmful aspects of the Internet. This is the primary focus of our search tools on Safe Search Kids, but we are only a single access search engine. Parent control software takes it one step further by filtering the entire Internet, regardless of what search engine your kids may be using.

Quit simply, it allows you to completely control access to the internet including and blocking websites no matter what device is being used.  The level of restriction can be customized by age. After all, the places your 16 years old can go online is much different than your 7 year old. This includes allowing or limiting access on apps and social media, some platforms of which are only appropriate for older kids.

Parental Control is Screen Time Management

Once you have the peace of mind of knowing all the bad areas of the Internet are completely blocked on every device in your home, you can think about controlling the time your kids spend online. Imagine having peace of mind going to sleep at night knowing your teenager is not able to access the internet past 10 or 11 pm.

These controls can easily be set within the dashboard of your account. Likewise, you can restrict access from your 7 year old so that they can not get online after 8 pm, for example. This screen time management control is at your fingertips for any day of the week from the Net Nanny App or desktop dashboard.

Parental Control Software Monitors Apps

The dangers of the Internet are not just through a website browser. With a software application you can monitor what apps your kids are downloading. You can choose to also block apps you don’t want your family to access at all. As with managing screen time, you can individually customize accessibility for every one in the house and on every one of their devices.

Install our Recommended Parental Control Software Program serving families of all sizes. View family download options.

New apps are being developed and made available on the app store everyday. Whether the app is on an iPhone, Android or Kindle Fire device, you will be notified when a new app is downloaded and installed on any device.

Parental Control is a Location Tracker

Within the parent dashboard, you can also track the location of each family member in real-time from your computer or smart phone. There’s no need to login to an iCloud account and no additional location tracking software is needed. The location tracking feature also allows you to check the past history of where your kids have been.

You can coincide their location with whether or not they’ve been online during that time. Let’s say you agree that it’s OK for your child to go to a friend’s house but you just want them to play. You don’t want them spending time surfing the web or going on social media. This is a way to check up on their activity while out of the house.

Download FamiSafe – Our #1 Trusted Parental Control Software

Alerts and Activity Reports

With all these parental control features working in the background to filter, block, and monitor online activity there is an additional feature that will help you keep track of things. Firstly, only need to initially set up controls and restrictions for each family member one time. From there it’s easy to fine tune controls as needed. 

Get instant alerts when suspicious photos or texts are detected on your child’s phone. Be notified when specific search terms are entered or when an app is being downloaded. What your kids are searching for online is also an insight into struggles they may be having, including bullying or feelings of alienation with friends or at school. Read about how this app even encourages good driving habits with driving history reports.

Safe Search Kids recommends software solutions, which is also a parental control App for Android, iOS and Kindle Fire users, as well as dashboard access on computers and lap tops. Features can be applied on multiple platforms, including Android and iOS smart phones, Kindle Fire, Windows and Mac computers.

FamiSafe is a parental control software and app download created by Wondershare, an innovative company focused on delivering a variety of user friendly tools for individual consumers, education, government, and business markets. They are a reputable and top rated provider of Internet protection tools specifically designed for the non-technical user.

Teaching Internet Accountability and Responsibility

Monitoring and Controlling online activity should always be coupled with showing kids how to be responsible on their own. We all know putting kids in a cocoon will not prepare them properly for life in the read world. Setting up boundaries for kids is of course important, but some of those boundaries can be more lenient for older aged kids while allowing them to learn online responsibility. An internet blocking software can protect kids while they learn how to be responsible with the level of freedom you give them. The older they get and the more responsibly they use that freedom, the more trust we extend.

Download for Free Now

Parental Controls answer these questions about your kids’ activities:

1. What exactly are my children doing online or on their mobile phones?

  • Are they chatting with social network sites like Facebook, Snapchat?
  • Are they visiting pornographic or other inappropriate sites?
  • Are they being bombarded with inappropriate ads on pages for guns, cigarettes, drugs or other illegal activity?

2. How much overall time is really spent on a daily basis on their phone and computer talking to friends or other socializing?

Now Here are Some Facts That May Surprise You

  1. One in 5 kids between 11-18 have been solicited online.
  2. 60% of kids are exposed to porn before age 12.
  3. Over 65% of kids have accidentally visited an inappropriate site online.
  4. More than 25% of kids have been cyber bullied, but only 10% of these incidents were told to parents.

We trust our kids to do what is right, but there is so much filth lurking on all corners of the internet and as parents, we should be very concerned – even for the innocent child who is 100% aware of all the dangers involved, it is next to impossible for our children to be 100% protected. In addition to our lack of time, it is an impossible task to manually monitor our children’s online activities. The latest internet and mobile technology supersedes make it impossible.

Why Every Parent Should be Using Parental Controls on Every Device in their Home

Even with the most strict guidelines in place, it is nearly impossible to monitor your children’s activity online doing it manually. In the past several years, a new niche of software has been developed to help families monitor overall online and computer activity.

If you have a gamer in the house, parental control software will allow you to control time spent online.  But it’s not an anti-virus program that protects from outsize threats while gaming.  For that explore Gamer Security

Parental Control Software is a must.

While there are several in this field, what they all have in common is that the specific monitoring is automated. This does not mean that you can rely on the system 100% of the time to monitor what your kids are doing – parental supervision is essential, whether they are using a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone.

Parental Control Software provides an integrated time management and internet blocking & monitoring solution with the following key features:

  • Restrict Internet & Computer Usage based on a customizable schedule or time limits.
  • Monitors chatting/instant messaging based on a time limit or schedule.
  • Access phone activity reports including what apps they install or uninstall.
  • Award-winning automated filter of porn, illegal, vulgar and other inappropriate websites.
  • Ability of parent to create White “Trusted” list and Black “Restricted” lists.
  • Dynamic Content Blocker – blocks inappropriate banner ads on webpages.

Download our most-trusted parental control software.

Most parents seeking parental control software options have kids in their home using multiple computers and devices, all of which are connected to the Internet. Even a single child may have a phone as well as a computer or tablet. They also are often using their parents personal computer from time to time for school projects or simply to print something.

If that isn’t enough to manage, your family members are connecting to the Internet at school or at a friend’s house. With proper parental controls you can ensure the safety and security of your kids online. Otherwise, it’s difficult to know where to begin. It’s hard enough for a person who has some technical savvy, but what if you are technically challenged?

Let’s face it, a lack of technical knowledge is the case for most of us. We live in an ever changing world where the optimal “kid safety zone” is a moving target. This is where parental control software becomes an essential tool in managing the various needs of any family, according to a range of ages and responsibility.

The good news is, effective parental controls allows you to help keep your family safe in one software download, whether you want to access it on an app or your computer. At Safe Search Kids, we recommend complete parental control management to meet the needs of any family large or small.

Let’s explore what parental control means on every device in your home.

Parental Control is Internet Filtering

Internet filtering is certainly the first priority when thinking about protecting kids from harmful aspects of the Internet. This is the primary focus of our search tools on Safe Search Kids, but we are only a single access search engine. Parent control software takes it one step further by filtering the entire Internet, regardless of what search engine your kids may be using.

Quit simply, it allows you to completely control access to the internet including and blocking websites no matter what device is being used.  The level of restriction can be customized by age. After all, the places your 16 years old can go online is much different than your 7 year old. This includes allowing or limiting access on apps and social media, some platforms of which are only appropriate for older kids.

Parental Control is Screen Time Management

Once you have the peace of mind of knowing all the bad areas of the Internet are completely blocked on every device in your home, you can think about controlling the time your kids spend online. Imagine having peace of mind going to sleep at night knowing your teenager is not able to access the internet past 10 or 11 pm.

These controls can easily be set within the dashboard of your account. Likewise, you can restrict access from your 7 year old so that they can not get online after 8 pm, for example. This screen time management control is at your fingertips for any day of the week from the Net Nanny App or desktop dashboard.

Parental Control Software Monitors Apps

The dangers of the Internet are not just through a website browser. With a software application you can monitor what apps your kids are downloading. You can choose to also block apps you don’t want your family to access at all. As with managing screen time, you can individually customize accessibility for every one in the house and on every one of their devices.

Install our Recommended Parental Control Software Program serving families of all sizes. View family download options.

New apps are being developed and made available on the app store everyday. Whether the app is on an iPhone, Android or Kindle Fire device, you will be notified when a new app is downloaded and installed on any device.

Parental Control is a Location Tracker

Within the parent dashboard, you can also track the location of each family member in real-time from your computer or smart phone. There’s no need to login to an iCloud account and no additional location tracking software is needed. The location tracking feature also allows you to check the past history of where your kids have been.

You can coincide their location with whether or not they’ve been online during that time. Let’s say you agree that it’s OK for your child to go to a friend’s house but you just want them to play. You don’t want them spending time surfing the web or going on social media. This is a way to check up on their activity while out of the house.

Download FamiSafe – Our #1 Trusted Parental Control Software

Alerts and Activity Reports

With all these parental control features working in the background to filter, block, and monitor online activity there is an additional feature that will help you keep track of things. Firstly, only need to initially set up controls and restrictions for each family member one time. From there it’s easy to fine tune controls as needed. 

Get instant alerts when suspicious photos or texts are detected on your child’s phone. Be notified when specific search terms are entered or when an app is being downloaded. What your kids are searching for online is also an insight into struggles they may be having, including bullying or feelings of alienation with friends or at school. Read about how this app even encourages good driving habits with driving history reports.

Safe Search Kids recommends software solutions, which is also a parental control App for Android, iOS and Kindle Fire users, as well as dashboard access on computers and lap tops. Features can be applied on multiple platforms, including Android and iOS smart phones, Kindle Fire, Windows and Mac computers.

FamiSafe is a parental control software and app download created by Wondershare, an innovative company focused on delivering a variety of user friendly tools for individual consumers, education, government, and business markets. They are a reputable and top rated provider of Internet protection tools specifically designed for the non-technical user.

Teaching Internet Accountability and Responsibility

Monitoring and Controlling online activity should always be coupled with showing kids how to be responsible on their own. We all know putting kids in a cocoon will not prepare them properly for life in the read world. Setting up boundaries for kids is of course important, but some of those boundaries can be more lenient for older aged kids while allowing them to learn online responsibility. An internet blocking software can protect kids while they learn how to be responsible with the level of freedom you give them. The older they get and the more responsibly they use that freedom, the more trust we extend.

Download for Free Now

Parental Controls answer these questions about your kids’ activities:

1. What exactly are my children doing online or on their mobile phones?

  • Are they chatting with social network sites like Facebook, Snapchat?
  • Are they visiting pornographic or other inappropriate sites?
  • Are they being bombarded with inappropriate ads on pages for guns, cigarettes, drugs or other illegal activity?

2. How much overall time is really spent on a daily basis on their phone and computer talking to friends or other socializing?

Now Here are Some Facts That May Surprise You

  1. One in 5 kids between 11-18 have been solicited online.
  2. 60% of kids are exposed to porn before age 12.
  3. Over 65% of kids have accidentally visited an inappropriate site online.
  4. More than 25% of kids have been cyber bullied, but only 10% of these incidents were told to parents.

We trust our kids to do what is right, but there is so much filth lurking on all corners of the internet and as parents, we should be very concerned – even for the innocent child who is 100% aware of all the dangers involved, it is next to impossible for our children to be 100% protected. In addition to our lack of time, it is an impossible task to manually monitor our children’s online activities. The latest internet and mobile technology supersedes make it impossible.

Why Every Parent Should be Using Parental Controls on Every Device in their Home

Even with the most strict guidelines in place, it is nearly impossible to monitor your children’s activity online doing it manually. In the past several years, a new niche of software has been developed to help families monitor overall online and computer activity.

If you have a gamer in the house, parental control software will allow you to control time spent online.  But it’s not an anti-virus program that protects from outsize threats while gaming.  For that explore Gamer Security

Parental Control Software is a must.

While there are several in this field, what they all have in common is that the specific monitoring is automated. This does not mean that you can rely on the system 100% of the time to monitor what your kids are doing – parental supervision is essential, whether they are using a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone.

Parental Control Software provides an integrated time management and internet blocking & monitoring solution with the following key features:

  • Restrict Internet & Computer Usage based on a customizable schedule or time limits.
  • Monitors chatting/instant messaging based on a time limit or schedule.
  • Access phone activity reports including what apps they install or uninstall.
  • Award-winning automated filter of porn, illegal, vulgar and other inappropriate websites.
  • Ability of parent to create White “Trusted” list and Black “Restricted” lists.
  • Dynamic Content Blocker – blocks inappropriate banner ads on webpages.

Download our most-trusted parental control software.

9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child’s Creative Writing Skills

Improve Your Child’s Creative Writing Skills

Creative writing skills boost problem-solving, innovation, and resourcefulness. Helping our kids build these skills is important. Plus, it also gives them an outlet for all their creative ideas. How do you build those skills without making it seem like work?

Here are 9 ways to make creative writing skills fun:

1. Read Often

Books are the best precursor to writing. So get your kids reading! With repeated exposure to words, ideas, and styles, and in books, kids build the ability to mimic and adopt them.

Flood them with exposure to books and watch their skills rise. Yes, it will look a lot like what they’ve read at first. That’s ok! They’re just playing “dress up” with other people’s ideas. They’ll soon start writing like themselves.

Encourage your children to read more than one type of writing. If they gravitate toward non-fiction, maybe try historical fiction. If they only like superhero stories, introduce them to a story with a main character of a different gender or ethnicity.

2. Identify Ways to Practice

Just like anything, improving creative writing skills takes practice. Set your children up for success by making practice easy and fun.

You can piggy-back creative writing off of other imaginative play and encourage your child to write down episodes of the games he plays. Allow the free flow of ideas – the more creative the better!

Focus on this type of activity can be tricky for kids. It’s important to give kids a dedicated writing space. Fill it with fun paper or a kids’ journal, great pencils, and few distractions.

3. Encourage Your Child to Write

Children are often predisposed to wanting to write. Even before they can form letters correctly, many children will say they are “writing.”

Nurture this desire!

When children feel writing is powerful, and their writing matters, they will want to keep trying. However, they want to start writing is how they should write.

If your child struggles with the physical act of writing, consider helping with that part. You can use talk-to-text features in apps or even agree to be their “scribe.” Then they worry less about the act of writing and pay more attention to the ideas they are forming.

4. Use Writing Prompts

Does your kid express an interest in writing only to freeze when they actually try to write? Writing prompts could help your child overcome it.

Writing prompts can be found in many places. Look for interesting signs, funny pictures in advertisements, or even just asking “what if” and “why” questions. You could even play a song to inspire ideas and writing.

The idea is not to make them write about something, but to give them enough of an idea to push past the fear of getting started. Once kids get past the first few sentences and are “in” their story, their ideas will come to the surface.

5. Encourage Journaling

Journaling is a great way to encourage creative writing. It gives them a concrete way to see their “progress” writing.

A handful of kids’ journals often come preloaded with prompts and ideas, which helps kids get started. It also helps that journaling is usually a daily activity. By having smaller, but more frequent, writing sessions, it helps children develop a perspective on what writing can be.

Journaling also helps build emotional intelligence. By writing about their feelings, children work through their thoughts and emotions and are better able to recognize and accept them. It gives them the opportunity to talk about difficult things without embarrassment, advice, or recrimination.  

6. Use “Feeling” Words

Another benefit of building creative writing skills is children learn to use powerful words to draw in their readers.

You can encourage this development by helping them give their character’s feelings. When writers allow their characters to feel, they make them more relatable and interesting. But since the feelings of the characters don’t necessarily come to mind for kids, direct suggestion may help.

Help them get there by asking questions about the characters. Why was the hero doing that? What was she thinking? How was she feeling?

7. Practice Storytelling

The reason why many creative writers write is their love of story. To help your child build creative writing skills, foster that love.

The key is to focus on telling a great story, not the writing. Let your child’s imagination run free as he piece together details that can complete a tale.

You can build stories together, with each person telling a few lines of the story before passing it along to the next. Or you can “get stuck” telling your story and need their help figuring out what happens next.

Whatever twists and turns in the plot happen are magical because it shows your child is learning they are driving the story. They get to create.

8. Play Games

A robust vocabulary is another important creative writing skill. To help your child build their vocabulary, try playing word games.

Word games are great because they put the emphasis on the game, not the vocabulary learning. The competitive aspect increases their intrinsic motivation to learn the words. The games themselves are great family activities.

If your child isn’t competitive, there are plenty of team-oriented options. You could also try magnetic poetry, other game-like world builders, or even a cool journal for kids where they write down fun words they’ve heard.

9. Provide Inspiration

The best inspiration for kids to write comes from loving the work of other writers. When your child has a book or series they love, keep it going! Encouraging their love of reading – and their love of story – will help them internalize the way their favorite authors write.

Reading to your children helps too. Because you can read higher-level books while your child listens, it allows them to focus on the story. It also gives you a chance to have conversations about meaning, characters, and plot.

As children read, they build vocabulary and understanding of how good stories develop. They will eventually be able to incorporate these ideas into their creative writing.

Creative writing is sometimes seen as a hobby- something to enjoy, but not to be taken too seriously. But building creative writing skills positively impacts children because they learn to express themselves, they practice writing about emotions, and they practice making their writing compelling to their readers.

Whichever strategies you use to help your child improve their creative writing styles, make sure you keep it light-hearted. When it is fun, they’ll want to keep trying, and that’s where the growth happens.

Improve Your Child's Creative Writing Skills

About the Author:

Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.

Creative writing skills boost problem-solving, innovation, and resourcefulness. Helping our kids build these skills is important. Plus, it also gives them an outlet for all their creative ideas. How do you build those skills without making it seem like work?

Here are 9 ways to make creative writing skills fun:

1. Read Often

Books are the best precursor to writing. So get your kids reading! With repeated exposure to words, ideas, and styles, and in books, kids build the ability to mimic and adopt them.

Flood them with exposure to books and watch their skills rise. Yes, it will look a lot like what they’ve read at first. That’s ok! They’re just playing “dress up” with other people’s ideas. They’ll soon start writing like themselves.

Encourage your children to read more than one type of writing. If they gravitate toward non-fiction, maybe try historical fiction. If they only like superhero stories, introduce them to a story with a main character of a different gender or ethnicity.

2. Identify Ways to Practice

Just like anything, improving creative writing skills takes practice. Set your children up for success by making practice easy and fun.

You can piggy-back creative writing off of other imaginative play and encourage your child to write down episodes of the games he plays. Allow the free flow of ideas – the more creative the better!

Focus on this type of activity can be tricky for kids. It’s important to give kids a dedicated writing space. Fill it with fun paper or a kids’ journal, great pencils, and few distractions.

3. Encourage Your Child to Write

Children are often predisposed to wanting to write. Even before they can form letters correctly, many children will say they are “writing.”

Nurture this desire!

When children feel writing is powerful, and their writing matters, they will want to keep trying. However, they want to start writing is how they should write.

If your child struggles with the physical act of writing, consider helping with that part. You can use talk-to-text features in apps or even agree to be their “scribe.” Then they worry less about the act of writing and pay more attention to the ideas they are forming.

4. Use Writing Prompts

Does your kid express an interest in writing only to freeze when they actually try to write? Writing prompts could help your child overcome it.

Writing prompts can be found in many places. Look for interesting signs, funny pictures in advertisements, or even just asking “what if” and “why” questions. You could even play a song to inspire ideas and writing.

The idea is not to make them write about something, but to give them enough of an idea to push past the fear of getting started. Once kids get past the first few sentences and are “in” their story, their ideas will come to the surface.

5. Encourage Journaling

Journaling is a great way to encourage creative writing. It gives them a concrete way to see their “progress” writing.

A handful of kids’ journals often come preloaded with prompts and ideas, which helps kids get started. It also helps that journaling is usually a daily activity. By having smaller, but more frequent, writing sessions, it helps children develop a perspective on what writing can be.

Journaling also helps build emotional intelligence. By writing about their feelings, children work through their thoughts and emotions and are better able to recognize and accept them. It gives them the opportunity to talk about difficult things without embarrassment, advice, or recrimination.  

6. Use “Feeling” Words

Another benefit of building creative writing skills is children learn to use powerful words to draw in their readers.

You can encourage this development by helping them give their character’s feelings. When writers allow their characters to feel, they make them more relatable and interesting. But since the feelings of the characters don’t necessarily come to mind for kids, direct suggestion may help.

Help them get there by asking questions about the characters. Why was the hero doing that? What was she thinking? How was she feeling?

7. Practice Storytelling

The reason why many creative writers write is their love of story. To help your child build creative writing skills, foster that love.

The key is to focus on telling a great story, not the writing. Let your child’s imagination run free as he piece together details that can complete a tale.

You can build stories together, with each person telling a few lines of the story before passing it along to the next. Or you can “get stuck” telling your story and need their help figuring out what happens next.

Whatever twists and turns in the plot happen are magical because it shows your child is learning they are driving the story. They get to create.

8. Play Games

A robust vocabulary is another important creative writing skill. To help your child build their vocabulary, try playing word games.

Word games are great because they put the emphasis on the game, not the vocabulary learning. The competitive aspect increases their intrinsic motivation to learn the words. The games themselves are great family activities.

If your child isn’t competitive, there are plenty of team-oriented options. You could also try magnetic poetry, other game-like world builders, or even a cool journal for kids where they write down fun words they’ve heard.

9. Provide Inspiration

The best inspiration for kids to write comes from loving the work of other writers. When your child has a book or series they love, keep it going! Encouraging their love of reading – and their love of story – will help them internalize the way their favorite authors write.

Reading to your children helps too. Because you can read higher-level books while your child listens, it allows them to focus on the story. It also gives you a chance to have conversations about meaning, characters, and plot.

As children read, they build vocabulary and understanding of how good stories develop. They will eventually be able to incorporate these ideas into their creative writing.

Creative writing is sometimes seen as a hobby- something to enjoy, but not to be taken too seriously. But building creative writing skills positively impacts children because they learn to express themselves, they practice writing about emotions, and they practice making their writing compelling to their readers.

Whichever strategies you use to help your child improve their creative writing styles, make sure you keep it light-hearted. When it is fun, they’ll want to keep trying, and that’s where the growth happens.

Improve Your Child's Creative Writing Skills

About the Author:

Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.

Art is a Science: How to Use Science to Nurture Your Child’s Talents

Art is Science - Albert Einstein

The greatest of greats have always emphasized the importance of art in society. In the words of Albert Einstein, “The greatest scientists are artists as well.” Children with an inclination towards the arts are, definitely, gifted. However, this talent must be nurtured for them to become the artist they dream to be.

Before digging deeper into the ways science can help children become the best artistic version of themselves, let’s throw light on the closest relationship that science and arts share!

Dave Featherstone, Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, believes that science and art are the same things. He wrote on Quora, “Both science and art are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us.”

While he granted that their traditions, approaches, and intended audience might differ, he also argued that the motivation and goals of both science and arts are fundamentally the same.

Once you understand this, it’s easy to see why opting to develop art with a scientific approach must is an ideal choice in parenting!

So let’s discuss how the study of science is essential in not just developing a growth mindset towards a better career, but also help your kids learn develop latent talents that might make them successful in sports, arts, or any vocation of their choosing. Here are five such “talents” that are nurtured as a result of studying science and technology.

Creativity

Both science and art observe, explore, and create. Science helps kids to ask questions, observe more, and therefore get better at their pursuits.

Encourage your child to make observations from any activity they engage in and then record them by writing them down, drawing a picture, taking a photo, or making an audio or video recording. Your children, via science, learn to compare and contrast things and use them better in other activities such as music, painting, and storytelling.

Science doesn’t follow one method to discover results. In fact, many discoveries have happened by accident. This effect falls out into other fields as well. For example, great novelists hardly ever have defined templates to write stories. They use their life experiences and knowledge to create masterpieces.

Another great example where art is based on science is activities such as crafts, woodworking, knitting, etc. where measurements are important. This is where the intersection of math and art also comes into play. Without the knowledge of machines and calculations, creating those pretty crafts can be quite a task.

Once they ingrain these concepts (even if you haven’t explicitly taught them), your children won’t shy away from trying out new methods of creation – and more importantly not quit after a few tries.

Planning

Science is a systematic subject that allows kids to learn organization, scheduling, and estimation like nothing else. For most goal-oriented activities that kids undertake – whether in the course of playing, or related to their school projects, or simply any classes our courses they might be enrolled in – planning is a core requirement.

Here’s a simple, graphic example of everyday activities that involve both fun and learning for children. You’ll notice that none of these actions are possible without some elements of a scientific approach.

Each of these activities requires a lot of preparation. From gathering resources and tools for your experiment to learning about new concepts, to collaborating with other curious minds, science is a journey of continuous planning.

With planning skills acquired through small activities, kids can develop their skills and aptitude in artistic pursuits.

Of course, creating art, irrespective of its form, still is a lot of hard work but taking a scientific approach and starting with a plan makes it easier.

Adaptability

Adaptability, as a life skill, might seem a bit too much for young children. However, it’s crucial to teach them to be flexible early on in life. Experiments help children cope with failures, making them a lot more adaptable adults later.

Children who develop the tendency to try on in the face of failure find it easier to adapt to difficult situations later in life. Science experiments expose kids to mistakes, and failure. But eventually, they learn where they went wrong and correct themselves, which makes them less rigid in turn.

Creating art requires adaptability at its best. In painting and sculpture, an endless amount of raw material is wasted. Not a single scene of a film is finalized without dozens of retakes.

With a scientific bent of mind, kids grow up to be patient adults who can handle challenges like creative blocks and go on creating the relevant art forms that appeal to different cultures and societies.

Curiosity

One thing that artists and scientists have in common is their curiosity: the eagerness to learn more and present their own concepts to the world. It follows that curiosity is one of the most important things a child needs to have.

Whatever we know about the world today is because someone was curious enough to ask a question. Children learn things by asking questions. Asking a question is the way to discoveries.

Now children have an ingrained sense of wonder. Combined with curiosity, it can only turn into something expressive and creative. If kids who are inclined towards art have a curious mind, they’re sure to go places and discover themselves!

As a parent, you must encourage your child’s curiosity and self-understanding. You can do so by saying things like “I wonder why I’m happy to see yellow cars!” or “I wonder what Indian curry tastes like.”

Listen to kids’ questions carefully and guide them through self-discovery of the solution rather than spoon-feeding them with answers. Give them a description (or maybe a printout) when you see them unable to make or draw something from imagination, but don’t build it for them.

Critical Thinking and Decision-Making

We adults learn from our experiences – and so do kids. A STEM approach to learning helps children think and act rationally, and also exposes them to environments that test their decision-making skills.

Kids, however, tend to make impulsive decisions. Science teaches them that there is more than one solution to a problem and that the best decisions are those that are well-thought out.

This helps them develop critical thinking skills.

In fields like architecture, marketing, and film making, critical thinking is central to the outcome of every project as well as appealing to a target audience.

Needless to say, a child who develops the knack of seeking out and looking at different solutions objectively, and choosing the best one among them.

Final Thoughts

When you teach science to children, they learn life skills that play a crucial role in nurturing different types of talents within them.

The greatest actors, painters, musicians, and sportspeople swear by science, while scientists believe in the artist or player inside them. So, go on and instill a love for all vocations in your kids and let them choose their calling. With just the right amount of encouragement, your curious and hyperactive kid might just turn out to be the Leonardo da Vinci of the internet age.


Author bio:
 Shreiya Aggarwal-Gupta is the owner of the early education startup Kidpillar, which aims to provide developmental opportunities and resources for young children in the field of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) via kid-friendly journals, practical DIY-kits, and simple project-based learnings and workshops. Shreiya is also a passionate blogger, computer science engineer, finance whiz, and “perfect mommy” to her son.

The greatest of greats have always emphasized the importance of art in society. In the words of Albert Einstein, “The greatest scientists are artists as well.” Children with an inclination towards the arts are, definitely, gifted. However, this talent must be nurtured for them to become the artist they dream to be.

Before digging deeper into the ways science can help children become the best artistic version of themselves, let’s throw light on the closest relationship that science and arts share!

Dave Featherstone, Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, believes that science and art are the same things. He wrote on Quora, “Both science and art are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us.”

While he granted that their traditions, approaches, and intended audience might differ, he also argued that the motivation and goals of both science and arts are fundamentally the same.

Once you understand this, it’s easy to see why opting to develop art with a scientific approach must is an ideal choice in parenting!

So let’s discuss how the study of science is essential in not just developing a growth mindset towards a better career, but also help your kids learn develop latent talents that might make them successful in sports, arts, or any vocation of their choosing. Here are five such “talents” that are nurtured as a result of studying science and technology.

Creativity

Both science and art observe, explore, and create. Science helps kids to ask questions, observe more, and therefore get better at their pursuits.

Encourage your child to make observations from any activity they engage in and then record them by writing them down, drawing a picture, taking a photo, or making an audio or video recording. Your children, via science, learn to compare and contrast things and use them better in other activities such as music, painting, and storytelling.

Science doesn’t follow one method to discover results. In fact, many discoveries have happened by accident. This effect falls out into other fields as well. For example, great novelists hardly ever have defined templates to write stories. They use their life experiences and knowledge to create masterpieces.

Another great example where art is based on science is activities such as crafts, woodworking, knitting, etc. where measurements are important. This is where the intersection of math and art also comes into play. Without the knowledge of machines and calculations, creating those pretty crafts can be quite a task.

Once they ingrain these concepts (even if you haven’t explicitly taught them), your children won’t shy away from trying out new methods of creation – and more importantly not quit after a few tries.

Planning

Science is a systematic subject that allows kids to learn organization, scheduling, and estimation like nothing else. For most goal-oriented activities that kids undertake – whether in the course of playing, or related to their school projects, or simply any classes our courses they might be enrolled in – planning is a core requirement.

Here’s a simple, graphic example of everyday activities that involve both fun and learning for children. You’ll notice that none of these actions are possible without some elements of a scientific approach.

Each of these activities requires a lot of preparation. From gathering resources and tools for your experiment to learning about new concepts, to collaborating with other curious minds, science is a journey of continuous planning.

With planning skills acquired through small activities, kids can develop their skills and aptitude in artistic pursuits.

Of course, creating art, irrespective of its form, still is a lot of hard work but taking a scientific approach and starting with a plan makes it easier.

Adaptability

Adaptability, as a life skill, might seem a bit too much for young children. However, it’s crucial to teach them to be flexible early on in life. Experiments help children cope with failures, making them a lot more adaptable adults later.

Children who develop the tendency to try on in the face of failure find it easier to adapt to difficult situations later in life. Science experiments expose kids to mistakes, and failure. But eventually, they learn where they went wrong and correct themselves, which makes them less rigid in turn.

Creating art requires adaptability at its best. In painting and sculpture, an endless amount of raw material is wasted. Not a single scene of a film is finalized without dozens of retakes.

With a scientific bent of mind, kids grow up to be patient adults who can handle challenges like creative blocks and go on creating the relevant art forms that appeal to different cultures and societies.

Curiosity

One thing that artists and scientists have in common is their curiosity: the eagerness to learn more and present their own concepts to the world. It follows that curiosity is one of the most important things a child needs to have.

Whatever we know about the world today is because someone was curious enough to ask a question. Children learn things by asking questions. Asking a question is the way to discoveries.

Now children have an ingrained sense of wonder. Combined with curiosity, it can only turn into something expressive and creative. If kids who are inclined towards art have a curious mind, they’re sure to go places and discover themselves!

As a parent, you must encourage your child’s curiosity and self-understanding. You can do so by saying things like “I wonder why I’m happy to see yellow cars!” or “I wonder what Indian curry tastes like.”

Listen to kids’ questions carefully and guide them through self-discovery of the solution rather than spoon-feeding them with answers. Give them a description (or maybe a printout) when you see them unable to make or draw something from imagination, but don’t build it for them.

Critical Thinking and Decision-Making

We adults learn from our experiences – and so do kids. A STEM approach to learning helps children think and act rationally, and also exposes them to environments that test their decision-making skills.

Kids, however, tend to make impulsive decisions. Science teaches them that there is more than one solution to a problem and that the best decisions are those that are well-thought out.

This helps them develop critical thinking skills.

In fields like architecture, marketing, and film making, critical thinking is central to the outcome of every project as well as appealing to a target audience.

Needless to say, a child who develops the knack of seeking out and looking at different solutions objectively, and choosing the best one among them.

Final Thoughts

When you teach science to children, they learn life skills that play a crucial role in nurturing different types of talents within them.

The greatest actors, painters, musicians, and sportspeople swear by science, while scientists believe in the artist or player inside them. So, go on and instill a love for all vocations in your kids and let them choose their calling. With just the right amount of encouragement, your curious and hyperactive kid might just turn out to be the Leonardo da Vinci of the internet age.


Author bio:
 Shreiya Aggarwal-Gupta is the owner of the early education startup Kidpillar, which aims to provide developmental opportunities and resources for young children in the field of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) via kid-friendly journals, practical DIY-kits, and simple project-based learnings and workshops. Shreiya is also a passionate blogger, computer science engineer, finance whiz, and “perfect mommy” to her son.