Gently introduce pre-school aged boys to writing, especially if they are not very confident or skilled at handling a pencil. I have found that exposing my kids to various writing instruments and craft-related materials (like glue, tape, playdough, clay, safe scissors, etc) has helped them to develop their hand muscles in preparation for gripping that pen or pencil!
However, I often feel that conventional schools overemphasize penmanship and writing so that parents tend to stress out on their child’s handwriting. But pen and paper methods are not the only way to teach kids to write. In fact, most children who have difficulty with their penmanship simply did not have enough opportunity to work out their hand muscles, develop their hand-eye coordination, vision, right posture, appropriate grip, etc.
“The development of handwriting is actually a process that involves the mastery of several important aspects —
vision, coordination of the eyes, arms, hands, memory, posture, body control and posture, and the ability to hold a pencil and form text.” (Source: Child Support )
So before penmanship related issues cause undue stress in my relationship with my kids, I expose them to many pre-writing experiences. I have them draw letters in the air, roll dough into the shapes of letters, numbers and shapes, practice in a tray of sand or flour, cut out or tear pieces of paper to form them, glue or assemble objects together to represent them, practice the strokes on an Ipad or Iphone app, and use all kinds of fun writing instruments like crayons, markers, chalk, colored pencils, and paint to inspire writing. Frequent exposure to text in books or in the surrounding environment (like identifying letters, words, numbers, shapes, etc) also gives my kids better recall of their forms, too.
Writing will happen in stages so I tell myself, “relax, my child will get there.”Stages of Writing In the meantime, I praise their efforts and give them positive feedback.
Titus, my third son, often hands me scribbles that don’t seem to make much sense but given the opportunity to express what his picture is about, I often discover there is some logic to all the lines and swirls. He brought me a picture once and I was not sure what it was. However, he took the time to explain it. “Mom, this is a maze…you go up here and there, and there’s monsters in this one part but don’t be scared. Jesus is in your heart, right? Right? So you will go to heaven.”
It was the cutest description of a drawing I had ever heard. I laughed and told him I loved it!
Here is a photo of him practicing his writing on a chalk board.
Notice how he is holding his chalk. It’s not even the correct grip. But he is getting there and he is enjoying the process!