When my older son was a preschooler, he liked to write his name on everything. He also loved making cards for people and I’d show him how to write their names too. This is how he came to understand that stringing letters together makes words. It was great practice and most importantly, he loved doing it.
Enter second child. Up until recently, he has shown no interest in writing anything. I tried the whole “card trick” thing, and while he loved to decorate and make cards just as much as his brother did, he rarely wanted to even sign his own name.
Teaching reading and writing
His lack of writing wasn’t a big concern to me, but I tried to gently find a way to spark his interest. Even classic stuff like writing “Cat” on our dry erase board and then drawing a picture of a cat. He liked cats so maybe it would work.
Except it didn’t work.
We read books all the time, we sang the alphabet song and he knew most of the letters by sight already. It was just the actual writing part that he didn’t want anything to do with. I know he’ll do it sooner or later, he just needs to find a reason to inspire him to do it.
Finally, one day, I had an idea. What one thing does he love more than anything? What one thing will capture his attention with humor?
Getting creative with vocabulary
I wrote a word on the dry erase board and told him, “I probably shouldn’t show you this, but…”
I showed him how to spell the word “poop” and he laughed his head off and immediately ran over to write it.
After writing it and erasing it a few times he asked me to show him how to write the word ‘cat’ again. So I did and he wrote his first ever phrase.
In just two days he was writing other phrases from memory, like “dog poop” and “mama poop” and he’d steal my phone and text “PAPA POOP!!!!!!!” to my husband while hiding and giggling in the pantry. It was his own secret hilarious code that he had cracked and he was loving it.
I’m happy to report that he has since added other (non poop-related) words to his repertoire so it truly was just the simple key he needed to open the door of writing words.
This is yet another tale of how we have learned from poop!
While this might not work for any other child in the universe (Who am I kidding, it could work for tons! I should write an entire phonics program based on potty humor!) it is a good reminder that being silly can work wonders. At least it does for us.
About the author:
Amber Dusick is one of our SheKnows Experts Among Us. She is the author of the bestselling humor book Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. She writes and illustrates the blog Crappy Pictures where she captures the hilarious and frustrating things that happen in marriage and parenting. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.