My 9 year old is currently OBSESSED with the Bad Kitty book series by Nick Bruel. I love this because I want her to enjoy reading but buying every single book in a popular series makes Momma and Daddy go broke pretty quickly. This past time she asked for a new Bad Kitty book my husband half jokingly suggested she ought to write us a 1000 word essay on why she should have it. The Kiddo rose to the challenge, writing us her first long essay. Sure, it had a couple “I really really really want’s” and “please, please’s” but still 1000 words is pretty impressive for a third grader. Ted saw this activity for the great potential that it possess and pointed out to me its versatility. In the future, when our daughter wants something such as a new toy or special trip that we did not offer her she will be writing us a proposal to present to us on why she should have it. There are so many ways that this activity can benefit her.
First, we are preventing entitlement. We want her to know that she must work to get what she wants and everything is not handed to her just because she asks. However, not all work is physical. We are teaching her to use her brain to get what she wants. Also she has to decide if what she wants is that important to her. If she won’t write a paper for it, she must not want it too badly, which helps her evaluate what she really wants and prevents impulsive consuming.
Furthermore, She is practicing a multitude of skills. When writing a paper on the computer she is practicing not only her writing skills but also her typing, and learning how to research online, and format typed assignments. As an alternative to a typed paper she could make a PowerPoint presentation to give her experience using that program and increase her public speaking skills, or she could hand write it to work on her penmanship. As another alternative to a persuasive paper, we let her choose her own topic that interests her to research and report on. She has spent hours reading and researching of her own accord due to this.
So The Kiddo gets her new books, we get a reprieve from begging for toys, and she is learning all at the same time. It’s win-win-win!