How to help a child with handwriting.
Recently, I was asked how to help with handwriting by a carer of a five year old. To be honest I’ve been asked by parents and carers of children up to age 11! Some of my ideas are included in a blog post for Uniball pens . And here are a few more top tips on the way too!
To start, I explain to the adult that it’s super hard for little children to physically write. The physical and mental process is very involved. Just think about it. When you write something, you probably aren’t going to consider each step in the process. When we write we:
- think of something to write. My dog is my best friend.
- then think about what the first letter may be. “m”
- Remember to use a capital letter “M”
- think about where the letter starts at the top or the bottom of the letter.
- send a signal all the way from their brain, down their arm, through to their fingertips and make a mark in the correct shape on the paper.
- go back and remember the sentence they planned.
- repeat these steps for each and every letter they write. Even their own name!
It is really exhausting being a small human!
Make it fun!
As a result of all this effort, consider my main tip. Make it fun! They are kids after all! Surreptitiously get them to practice so it does not seem like they are writing. Try:
- a chip in you ketchup,
- sticks in the mud,
- sand toys in the sand,
- cars drawing them on the “road”
- chalk on a pavement
- fingers in the bubble bath foam
- finger painting
- writing in slime
Anything that is fun helps. And it doesn’t feel like handwriting practice. Learners start to get the body used to the shapes they need. Although, if your child likes using pen and paper, handwriting guides etc – don’t stop them! I speak from my experience of trying to persuade reluctant writers to engage with fine motor control activities.
As a consequence of doing fun fine motor practice, children develop the muscle memory they need to create the letter shapes. At this point they aren’t thinking about the actions involved in writing at all. It takes practice and time. I cannot lie. However, as a result of persistence, it will become a lifelong skill in next to no time!
Tell me your top fine motor tips that help a child with their handwriting! Don’t forget to like, comment and sign-up for the site newsletter!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. For more information read my disclosures page.