It’s hard to get kids to write with so many distractions. From video games to television, siblings to pets, everything seems to conspire to prevent children from attaining the focus required to write.

By first grade, kids should be writing on their own initiative. How would you like to get yours to write without saying a single word?

Try this: Put a few supplies in every room. Every parent learns that kids will grab and experiment with whatever’s in reach, whether it’s a joystick or a box of matches. If paper and pencils are always around, kids will play with them. Put the remote control on a high shelf, and keep writing supplies on the dining room and kitchen tables.

Long pieces of paper encourage list making. Note cards and envelopes inspire kids to write letters to each other. Hang a paper mailbox on each bedroom door, and never throw away those freebie note cards from charitable organizations — they’re perfect for kids who would just as soon write a note to someone in the same room as put one in a mailbox. Index cards, labels, folded paper, Post-It-notes, staplers, sticker, tape, and glue are all guaranteed to lure kids into writing.