Good handwriting is affected by many different aspects of your child’s body and environment, such as how much strength they have in their hands, arms and body; how they sit at their desk, how they hold their pencil and so on. Here are some tips to help your child start to enjoy handwriting and be more successful.
- Pencil grasp: The pencil should be between the thumb pad and first finger with the pencil resting on the middle finger and eraser pointed towards the shoulder.
- Pencil grips: These can be helpful for children who continue to have difficulty holding the pencil. You will need to experiment with different grips to see which one your child likes and which one helps them hold the pencil correctly.
- Short pencils (Golf-sized pencils): These are just the right size for smaller children. They help children grasp pencils more appropriately because they have less space to hold onto. This is also true for short crayons.
- Demonstration: Show the child how to write the letter or number and then check to be sure they’re writing it correctly. You may want to speak with your child’s teacher or an occupational therapist to determine whether they’re forming the letters or words appropriately.
- Desk size: The right size desk and chair are important for good handwriting. Your child’s hips, knees and ankles should be bent.
- Posture: Children should sit upright in the chair with feel flat on floor and arms resting comfortably on the desk.
- Paper position: Place paper at a slight angle to follow the natural arc of the writing hand. Tilt the right corner higher for right-handed children; for left handed children, put the left corner higher.
- Make handwriting fun: Use finger paints, roll out letters of play dough or clay, write letters in sand or salt and build letters with Wikki Stix.
Learn more about educating left-handed children.
There are times when you may require more guidance to help a child’s handwriting skills improve. Contact an occupational therapist for an evaluation if your child's handwriting skills are not improving.