How writing haikus can benefit your child

In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus . . .
A lovely sunset
– Matsuo Basho  

Poetry can be overwhelming for young children, with its flowery writing and loose structure, but if you want them to move on from Dr. Seuss’s fun rhymes, you know what makes the perfect stepping stone? Haikus, the concise form of poetry created by the Japanese.  

Traditional haikus follow a rigid set of rules. Each one is composed of three lines. The first and third lines must include exactly five syllables while the second line must have seven. Introduce your child to the unique art form this month to celebrate National Haiku Poetry Day on National Poetry Month! There are many benefits to doing so…

Can be therapeutic

Fight anxiety and fear with haikus! Haikus are about the here and now; they ask you to view your situation objectively. The focus on the present and “what is” rather than “ what ifs” is a great way for your child to practice mindfulness instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future. Maybe before they take an important test, they can write a haiku first!

Fosters an appreciation for nature

Haikus are not only about the present moment but also nature, from flowing rivers and towering mountains to blossoming flowers and iridescent moons. This asks children to observe their surroundings and grow more interested in their home, the earth. Having children dedicate these poetic homages to nature will get them to see the beauty of their natural surroundings.  

Provides a fun challenge

The set rules of structure for haikus enable children to improve their language skills and gain confidence in expression. Children face the challenge of fitting what they want to say within the 5-7-5 syllable format. This experimentation with syllables should inspire children to look up new words or synonyms and stretch their creative minds.

Helps ease them into poetry

Writing haikus allow children to express themselves creatively, yet in a more cut-and-dry fashion than more complex forms of poetry may allow. The set rules for the structures of haikus make them great stepping stones into forms of poetry with much looser structures, which could initially be overwhelming for children. Start with haikus, and then give your child free rein to experiment with all different forms!


If you are you up for a challenge, this weekend, take your child into nature, whether it is your favorite hiking trail or the backyard, with a pen and paper. Then, share what s/he wrote on social media using hashtag #JEIHaikuChallenge! We look forward to reading your child’s masterpiece!

If you want to further your child’s study of poetry, literature,  vocabulary, language, and writing skills, JEI Learning Center provides great programs that will do just that!  Visit a center near you to find out more about the JEI English and JEI Reading & Writing programs.