Handwriting Exercises that Prepare Preschoolers for Learning to Write
Children may struggle when learning two key skills of the education process: reading and writing. This is not a surprise, because they go hand in hand. When children get frustrated in learning something, they may refuse to do it, or only give partial effort, if any, especially when feeling forced to practice the troubling task. This is why it is important for parents to read to their children, and have them participate in activities that promote learning, such as coloring and other activities. These activities require fine grasping that can help children prepare early for writing and learning to read by strengthening motor development.
The Dominant Hand
Around the time kids start to color or engage in activities that involves a lot of usage of the hands, you can see a pattern that can help you determine which hand child will write with. You can typically see which hand is preferred by your child by the age of 2-3. Some parents try to change the dominant hand that a child is using in certain cases, like wanting a left-handed child to be right-handed though that may lead to problems. This may make the learning process more difficult for children, because they are being torn from using the hand most comfortable and natural for them.
The Correct Grip
To write correctly and comfortably without growing tired, children need to learn to write using the Tripod grip which utilizes the middle finger as a rest for the pencil and the thumb and pointer finger to hold it in a pincer like manner. There are a lot of exercises that can be used early, so during the actual learning time the child can focus on writing then the actual holding of the pencil. For children who have difficulty holding their fingers in this position you can find pencil grips that are of soft material that place and help hold the child’s finger in this position comfortably.
Oddly enough, another way to help a young child learn the correct grip of a pencil is to have them color with broken crayons. This makes it difficult for them to use the common fist grasp, which wraps all fingers around the crayon by somewhat forcing them to use the pincer grasp. This will also make their muscles strong and help prevent them from experiencing weakness, unsteadiness or pain that some have when learning to grasp a pencil.
Once they have the crayon technique down, you can use a toy that has been a long time childhood favorite. This item can help a child hold a pencil correctly, as there is less friction due to the simulated writing motion allowing the pencil to glide. This would be the Magna-Doodle or similar magnetic writing board. Many children are able to write actual letters at the age of 2 or 3 quite easily, because of the light pressure needed and gliding of the board.
Learning that Lasts
Having your child paint on a regular basis, after they basically have the grip down with a thin short paint brush, will also help them maintain what they have learned. Paint along with them showing them how you can paint pretty pictures and how those pictures are hard to make when holding the brush incorrectly. By practicing this grasp frequently children will be accustomed to the correct grip, and holding the pencil or similar object will become awkward any other way.