The "Writing with the Younger Set" Tea with Julie series continues.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, September 18, 2021

Hi Friend,

If you’ve hung around Brave Writer, you know the power of jotting down a spontaneous eruption of passionate speech—a story, an exposition of facts, how to do an activity, and so on.

Any time a child is stuck in writing—jot it down!

We jot down our kids’ lively speech to demonstrate the power of writing—what lives in them deserves to be preserved in writing and shared with an interested audience.

Is my child in the Jot It Down stage?

Does your child excitedly share stories and experiences but is blocked when she tries to write them down? Does his writing not reflect his sophisticated vocabulary? Do they refuse to pen more than a word or two? Do they struggle with handwriting or spelling?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your child may be in the Jot It Down stage.

Kids in that stage are often between the ages of five and eight, but age doesn’t matter so much. What matters is where they are in the Natural Stages of Growth.

If your child is in the Jot It Down stage:

  • Forget all the scopes and sequences.
  • Focus on love, joy, and self-expression.
  • Read books together.
  • Watch movies together.
  • Have big, juicy conversations.
  • Play with words.
  • Catch your child in the act of thinking or storytelling and write down what your child says.
  • Let your child talk while you act as secretary.
  • With your child’s permission, share some of their thoughts and stories with family and friends.

This is how you slowly help your child see the value of putting thoughts into writing.

So, each time something happy or interesting happens, jot it down. Pay attention to your kids—as in, pay attention to their happiness quota.

  • Play games
  • Have a poetry teatime
  • Laugh at jokes
  • Record the clever things your child says
  • Have them write one beautiful word a day instead of a whole passage
  • Use gel pens and brightly colored paper sprayed with perfume!

Continue to learn handwriting and spelling but do that through copywork not your child’s original thoughts.


You can also use “jotting down” to capture and validate a child’s:

  • thoughts,
  • complaints,
  • frustrations,
  • and feelings.

For example, your daughter finds the math lesson really hard. She’s struggling to even explain why.

You can offer support by saying:

“Let me jot that down for you.” Then write her exact thoughts and feelings. Read them back. “You said you get tired really fast and that your head hurts when you do math. Did I miss anything? What else shall I add?”

Once you’ve captured all she has to say, thank her. Let her know you’d like time to reflect on what she shared—to read it later.

Then take a break from the activity.

Return later that day or the next. You might ask her how she’s feeling today—did she get any insight since you wrote her feelings for her? You might offer a sincere comment like: “I didn’t realize how much your head hurt.”

You may be amazed. The act of writing a child’s complaint is often enough support to allow a child to have a new thought—the solution to her problem.

No matter what, jotting down a child’s real feelings and thoughts shows you take your child’s complaint or struggle seriously. This approach works for any situation or struggle: “I hate wearing shoes,” or “Going to co-op is stupid,” or “Lizzie never wants to play with me…”

  • Value the upset.
  • Jot down the concern.
  • Read it back.
  • Reflect on it.
  • Revisit the next day and see what solutions emerge.

For more information about this stage, listen to my free Jot It Down! podcast.





P.S. Catch up on all the “Tea with Julie” emails here!

Julie Bogart
© 2021 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer




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