Partly Cloudy   62.0F  |  Forecast »

Tips to Help Kids with Handwriting Skills

From the concept of jotting letters to the right way to grip a pencil, learning to write by hand can be tricky business for young students. Here's how parents can help!

Handwriting is deceptively simple. As adults (and parents), we can take for granted the coordination, brain power and practice it takes to write the word C-A-T. But it's no small feat for children to master the handgrip, letter formation and letter recognition necessarily to spell out primary words like "cat," "dog" – even "mom" and "dad."

Confidence boost is key

But is it really that important for young kids to learn to make their letters using downward lines? Or even to stay within the lines as they write? Creating letters properly helps young children build confidence in expressing their ideas on paper, explains Kendra Ross, who teaches a popular handwriting camp through Plymouth-Canton Community Education and is trained in the national Handwriting Without Tears program.

"There's a difference in what children are willing to write if they feel confident about their handwriting," says Ross, a Canton mother of four. "The more they're willing to write, the more likely they are not to take short cuts in writing – but instead to take time to express their ideas."

If your child is struggling with writing – or even if you're looking to help her boost her handwriting know-how – Ross says handwriting exercises are surprisingly fun.

Strengthening little fingers

A child should practice a variety of exercises to build-up the muscle power in his fingers – and even in his shoulders and back (after all, he'll need to sit at the table to write!). Ross recommends a variety of drills to build your child's manipulative dexterity.

As intimidating as that might sound, look no further than the nearest toy bucket for inspiration. Legos, Play-Doh, and other small toys that force children to use their fingers to work with small objects build up their dexterity. Instead of buying the large-sized Legos or thick crayons, choose smaller toys and thinner crayons.

At-home activity: For a tasty exercise in dexterity, buy a pack of pretzels sticks (the small ones) and small-sized marshmallows. Alternatively, you could start with jumbo marshmallows and help your child work toward the smaller ones. Explain that, for a treat, you're going to make marshmallow lollipops. Your child should poke the pretzels into the marshmallows. Who knew handwriting practice could be so yummy?

Creative alphabet

Children may understand what the letters are in writing, but they may simply be unable to recreate them on paper. In fact, Ross says some kids are reduced to tears at the thought of pencil and paper. So throw out the paper and help your child create letters in other ways – for instance, with blocks or pipe cleaners. As their confidence builds, they may be more willing to try fashioning letters on the page.

At-home activity: Let your child make a mess while learning his letters. With pudding or shaving cream as his "ink," have your kid create letters on heavy construction paper.

The 'write' grip

Holding a pencil correctly takes skill! Your child may struggle not to hold her pencil full-fisted. Ross has several techniques for kids to learn the right way to grip a pencil.

She likes to give a little story to explain where each finger should be placed. The pencil is the "van," and the family needs to go on a trip. Mom and dad sit in front while the three kids sit in back. With "dad," the thumb, in the driver's seat on one side of the pencil and "mom," the pointer finger on the other side pointing to the tip, the children then stay behind. "The tall finger is behind the pencil using its side, with only the ring and pinky fingers tucked in towards the palm," explains Ross. The proper grip will take time and practice to master.

At-home activity: Explain to your child that you want her to play a game with her writing. Give her a bead or marble to hold with her two back fingers (ring and pinky). Says Ross: "You hold the item with the ring and little finger, allowing only the thumb, index and middle finger to be available to hold the pencil." You can try doing this exercise with a variety of objects, such as a small marshmallow or cotton ball, to keep it interesting.

Dec 14, 2011 06:01 pm
 Posted by  leftylady

If you have a lefty at home here are some tips to help them have an easy time learning to write. www.lefthandedinfo.com

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Mushroom Recipes for a Family Meal

Mushroom Recipes for a Family Meal

Mushrooms can be a tough sell with picky eaters but these dishes will entice them to try a bite – or two!

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Carl Abramson and Kim Sarubbi mashed together their surnames for their first two kids, but Tennessee law says they can't use the last name 'Sabr' for baby No. 3.

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sophie Maletsky's new guide, published by Zest Books, is packed with fun crafts and DIY ideas kids and families can make out of colorful duct tape.

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

This versatile craft material transforms into an acorn fall creation, decorative ribbon, cute Japanese critters and cool dividers for your kid's closet.

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

Mealtime can turn from pleasant to panic in a matter of seconds. Protect your child from this mishap with our list of dos and don’ts.

YouTube Moms Parody Iggy Azalea's Hit Song 'Fancy'

YouTube Moms Parody Iggy Azalea's Hit Song 'Fancy'

The rapper's had the hit of the summer, but these clever mothers made it their own, riffing on pregnancy and motherhood in some pretty funny viral videos.

Biscuit Recipes: From Classic to Chocolate

Biscuit Recipes: From Classic to Chocolate

September is National Biscuit Month, but you can bake these any time! These recipes, including classic biscuits from Betty Crocker and cornmeal biscuits from Martha Stewart, will have you reaching...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement