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5 Tips on Developing Handwriting Skills

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If you cannot understand your kid's handwriting, you're not alone. Many parents have a hard time trying to figure out what their children try to write, and many teachers agree that modern children's handwriting skills are significantly worse than those of children from previous generations.

The reason is that modern children live in a completely different world where they use electronic devices all the time. As a result, even parents are often not sure whether or not their children need handwriting, in the first place. Of course, keyboarding skills are crucial for modern employees, but handwriting is still important. First, your child might benefit from handwriting notes or drafts of documents. Secondly, handwriting is beneficial for your child's overall development.

Handwriting is more than just moving a pencil on paper. When writing, children think about what they need to write, their hands move the pencil, while eyes focus on the movement and shapes of letters. For kids, handwriting is similar to multitasking, and it's a great exercise for your kid's fine motor skills. However, improving the readability of your child's handwriting can be a time-consuming task because relying on the school practice can be not enough.

As kids grow older, they spend less time in school mastering handwriting. Many schools even decided to stop teaching cursive, even though some of them brought this discipline back recently. Moreover, many schools now dedicate significantly less time to handwriting in the early grades, when handwriting as an exercise can be especially beneficial for children. As a result, kids often forget many important habits by middle school so the development of their handwriting slows down and its legibility remains low.

Fortunately, you can use some practices to help your child develop handwriting skills. Here are some tips that might help you. Some of them may even be appreciated by adults who want to improve their handwriting.

Check your child's grip

The right grip is crucial for handwriting. Unfortunately, some kids don't develop a proper writing grip in school, and if your child is in early grades, they may still need to work on their grip. When it comes to a grip, what you're looking for is a so-called "tripod grasp," with the index finger pressing the pen against a bent thumb, and the middle finger placed on the side.

To teach your kid the tripod grasp, ask them to pick up a pen with a pinch, using their index finger and thumb, and then to flip it over so that it will rest on the edge of the hand. If learning the right grasp is very difficult for your kid, you may also try various pencil and pen grips. There are triangular grips that make it easier to hold the tripod grasp, and there are also soft round cushions that make a pencil or pen thicker so it becomes easier to hold.

Provide the right tools

It will be much easier for your child to master handwriting if they have the right stationery. If your child is learning handwriting with a bad pen, the learning process might take a lot more time and be frustrating. A pen or pencil should be comfortable so that your child can focus on drawing letters instead of struggling to maintain the right grip.

A good solution is to find a good pencil so that your child won't need to apply too much pressure while also getting well-defined strokes. Another advantage of a pencil is that your child will be able to use an eraser to quickly fix errors. It's also important to choose the right paper. Regular ruled paper or plain white paper will be difficult for your kid to write on because they will need to put a lot of effort into sizing their letters and spacing lines. We recommend that you give your kid four-lined pages with well-defined lines.

Revise your kid's writing

Take a look at your child's handwriting and check the way different letters line up with other letters and lines on the paper. Quite often, letters in children's handwriting have different sizes. Some letters may not reach the lines, while others may go over the top. Show your kid these inconsistencies so that they will know what they should pay their attention to
Another common problem is loops and circles. For instance, your kid may not close them properly so that "o" and "c" will look almost the same open loops and circles are one of the most common problems that have a very negative impact on the legibility of your kid's writing.

We also recommend that you pay attention to dots above "i" and the crossed "t." Sometimes, kids may do their Is too high or cross Ts at a different height. Help your kid spot any inconsistencies in such letters so that they can focus on the details. We also recommend that you don't forget to provide a lot of positive feedback when reviewing your kid's handwriting. Help them stay motivated and don't make them feel bad about their mistakes.

Help your kid develop fine motor skills

As we've already mentioned above, fine motor skills are very important for legible handwriting. First, you should make sure that your child has enough writing practice. Secondly, we recommend that you also consider other activities that will help sharpen your kid's fine motor skills and therefore improve their handwriting.

Let your kid play Jenga and LEGO. Encourage them to perform other non-writing activities, such as coloring, cutting paper, sculpting, etc. These activities will help your kid not only master handwriting but also improve the overall focus and coordination.

Be patient

If you see that your kid struggles with handwriting, it means that this process is likely stressful for them. Therefore, you should be supportive. Explain the importance of practice and tell your kid that mistakes are just an integral part of any growth process.

Final Thoughts

Handwriting can be quite difficult for modern children, but we hope that our simple tips will help you focus on the right things and provide your child with the necessary support. The main thing is to encourage your child not to worry about mistakes and to keep trying. Practice makes perfect so be patient and make sure that your kid writes a lot.

Guest Blogger:

Tina Pitts is an English teacher, blogger, freelance writer and an assistant professor. She writes articles on homeschooling, academic writing and teaching. As a blogger and freelance writer, she writes in-depth reviews of the best college essay writing services and spends a fair share of time helping students become better writers. As a teacher, she never stops learning, improving and refining her practices.



Internet4classrooms is a collaborative effort by Susan Brooks and Bill Byles.




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