Teaching children handwriting is so important, even though it’s complex and often challenging. Why? Because you don’t want them to develop bad habits that are hard to break and lead to problems down the road.
I have worked with children from the earliest age of three to help them start to understand the basics of handwriting. Having kids of my own and a background in teaching, I know that helping kids improve their handwriting skills is an important task. Here are some tips I have implemented to help my children and my students improve their handwriting skills.
If your child is struggling with handwriting, one of the best things you can do is practice with hands-on activities. Anything that involves using the child’s fingers or hands is a great way to practice.
5 Tips for Improving Your Child’s Handwriting Skills
1. Finger Painting
Finger painting is one skill a lot of parents and teachers use to help their children improve muscle skills. I use finger painting to teach my kids the basics of handwriting before they really start writing letters or words.
The great thing about finger painting is that you can use it for any child who needs a little extra work on their handwriting. Sure it’s messy but according to research it’s one of the best ways to help your child develop and improve their handwriting skills.
2. Air Handwriting
Handwriting “in the air” is a simple way to practice letters and numbers. I have my kids practice this area of handwriting by repeating after my air movements. For example: I draw an “A” in the air and then my child follows the same movements I made.
I love this activity because you can do it with letters, numbers, names, and words. Another great aspect of air handwriting is the fact that you can do it anywhere at anytime. The best learning tool is one that you can take with you wherever you go!
3. Handwriting Tools
Large pencils can be hard to grasp for any small child.
Use a smaller pencil or marker to teach writing skills. Having just the right size writing utensil can help your child figure out the right way to hold a pencil and begin writing.
4. Handwriting Aids
Another option is a handwriting aid. A handwriting aid is any tool that helps a child learn to grasp a writing utensil correctly. There are several different types of handwriting aids you can implement to help your child learn how to have better handwriting skills.
This Pencil Grip is great for children learning to develop proper tripod grip.
5. Know What Skills They Need
Your child isn’t going to get better at handwriting unless you pinpoint exactly what they are struggling with.
1. Is their pencil held correctly — in a tripod grip?
2. Can they hold the paper down with one hand and writing with the other?
3. Can they properly write each letter in the alphabet and do they understand how letter sizing works?
4. Can they properly space wording? (Finger width apart.)
5. Is their body position correct? (Feet flat on the ground, elbow at 90 degrees, sitting up straight.)
5. Reasonable Expectations
Remember to expect what is age- appropriate. A five year old is learning how to write, so their letter proportions and spacing may be off a little. If you are working with a child under the age of five, you will want to concentrate on pre-writing skills including developing hand skills, developing hand-eye coordination, and strengthening the shoulder and arms.
Visit this post on fun handwriting activities to do with your preschool age children.
written by Jess Weaver