Why should we pay attention to kid’s handwriting and how to improve kids’ writing.
Even though we have entered a digital age, we cannot deny that we still have to write sometimes.
I have this habit of writing down my expenses, grocery list, to-do list, etc. I have often thought of doing these in spreadsheets, thinking it is more structured, organized, permanent, etc…I did so for a few days as well.
Then, I realized a fascinating fact. I don’t enjoy doing this on the computer as much as I do while writing. My brain is wired to involve myself better in certain things only when it’s handwritten.
Maybe such things happen to some of you as well. The reason might be different, but the fact remains then even though we are consumed digitally to a great extent, we cannot neglect to handwrite.
When is it time to improve a kid's handwriting
Handwriting has to be developed at a very young age, actually by the age of six years when the child starts reading or writing letters. This is because children generally understand the correct grasp of a pencil, i.e., the TRIPOD GRASP.
Some may take a year or more, but it is around this age that we parents need to observe a child’s writing.
1. Improve handwriting for kids to improve academic assessments – Handwriting plays a significant role in academic scoring. Promising students who are conceptually sound can lose out on marks if their writing is not legible.
Some kids can write well, but they are too slow for the time permitted to finish the paper. In such cases, also the struggle.
It is necessary to keep your child under observation during preschool days to make their academics stronger.
2. Improve handwriting for kids to enhance Self Esteem – Poor writing can cause low self-esteem in children, especially when they see others in the same class have a better script. This becomes a chronic problem and often creates other problems like lack of concentration, unwillingness to write, etc.
5 reasons why we should focus on improving kid's handwriting?
3. Improve handwriting for kids to enhance Creativity – Good writing creates confidence in small children. They are more confident in handling pencils, crayons, brushes, etc., and therefore tend to be more creative as they know how to use a paintbrush to create that masterstroke!!
Keeping special attention to the pencil grasp is a must in preschool, and good preschool teachers are always careful about this aspect of children in their class. If you often find notes about handwriting, you need to contact the teacher and understand the problem. With little work, small children are very fast to correct themselves.
4. Improve handwriting for kids to enhance concentration – Good handwriting needs immense attention for small kids.
The movement of the hand along with hand-eye coordination requires concentration.
Practicing calligraphy every day the correct way and under guidance improves a Child’s concentration.
5. Improve handwriting for kids to enhance patience – Since it’s a skill-based activity for small kids and they are trying to make every line perfect, it improves their attention span and patience.
This patience will be reflected in other activities as well.
5 effective ways to improve handwriting in kids
1. Developing fine motor skills to improve children’s handwriting – Holding the pencil properly is the most crucial factor. Once kids master the proper grasp, they can move the hand correctly and apply the correct pressure.
This ability to hold, apply pressure, and hand movement results from the development of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills develop with various activities while playing with toys, holding cutlery, pouring water from one vessel to another, scribbling on the sand, and many more. Even when a child is trying to balance herself during play contributes to developing fine motor skills.
This is one of the essential skills to master in early childhood. Children eventually do it all by themselves naturally most of the time while getting on with their day-to-day play, bath, and other activities. Schools and parents can give this phase a little push to develop motor skills faster by engaging them in various age-related exciting activities that they would love to repeat.
2. Developing proper hand movement and support – Special care is needed to develop adequate hand movement and help move the pencil and write from left to right. Every child is different, and in most cases, preschool teachers give the necessary guidance.
In some cases, children may need some initial push at home to master that correct grip or support the hand properly so that the needle can move fluently. Parents sometimes need to course-correct as and when required, which means some practice at home.
Handwriting during the initial years can be a struggle for the kid if it is not practiced regularly. Mainly because the correction you made during the last practice session will fade, and the kid will return to her early wrong and comfortable habit. To make things work, practice a few lines with the kid at home so that she gets into the correct hand movement and support and techniques.
3. Visual skills – The eyes need to coordinate with our hands and hands while we write. Have we ever wondered? This is a natural and subconscious process for us that we do this habitually without feeling any discomfort. It is a kind of reflex that we built over years of reading and writing. But a young child for whom reading and writing is a new activity needs to learn this coordination.
This is the reason we often see that a child is more distracted while writing than reading. With writing, we need to involve our eyes and the brain and hand…and that becomes a more difficult task than reading…..of course, the child doesn’t realize these technicalities, but that’s what happens eventually.
There is not much we can do externally. It is just that the kid develops a better attention span over the years, and writing comes to her naturally.
But until the child develops this hand-eye coordination, writing remains a difficult task.
If the child is unwilling to write or is not writing legibly even when she is otherwise fine, it may sometimes be because of problems with eyesight. Generally, if there is an eyesight problem, you may notice problems with other activities as well…while this is a rare situation, it is possible.
4. Proper stationery – As adults, we may not always feel the importance of proper specialized stationary.
I mean, we can be okay with whatever we have. But for kids, good stationery is essential while writing.
The lines in the notebook that guide them to keep proper shapes, sizes, and spacing between the characters.
That pencil should be of correct length, adequately sharpened, and have the right kind of lead so that the writing is crisp.
A good eraser should be kept handy so that the kid knows mistakes can be corrected and is not scared to try.
5. Posture and surface – I sometimes notice that some kids are not sitting correctly or writing on a soft surface like a bed, pillow, etc.
Even my kids used to do this when they were younger, and I used had to explain every time why this was not the correct thing to do.
Kids often get into habits very quickly. If anything wrong is practiced a few times, they keep doing the same over and over again a few times; this can become a habit.
A soft surface or wrong posture can disturb the way the hand moves and result in poor handwriting.
They should practice writing on a table to reach the surface without discomfort to rest their hands.
7 awesome activities to improve handwriting
1. Writing on a slate or a blackboard
Writing in a slate or black/whiteboard encourages kids to write more and therefore practice more.
My daughter got a whiteboard with a marker and wiper for one of her birthdays. Since then, I have seen her playing “School-School” multiple times where she pretends to play to be the teacher and makes her soft toys to be her most obedient students!! She is not alone. I am sure this must be the case with many of your children too.
The good part about this pretend play is that they get themselves engaged in fun activities and get them to practice. A board kept handy will urge her to write and erase, and the chances are that they get perfection faster.
During play, you can also encourage them to practice on a board that children find easier. A board had more space, the kid could stand and write if needed, and it was easier to erase and correct their mistakes. All this gives them more confidence, and they are much more excited to practice writing on board.
2. Scribbling on sand
Scribbling on sand is again an excellent activity to improve motor skills, especially hand movements and eye coordination.
It is a good idea to make a sandpit (or on a large plate) at home with colored sand and ask the kid to scribble and write letters and erase them. Kids find this to be an exciting activity, and this is a game for them. Ask them to make designs or write letters or numbers, and they will go on doing this for a long time in most cases. This interest gets them to practice more and develop their motor skills which in turn helps with writing.
3. Practice with cereals and pulses
It is fun to create letters with rice grains or beans, or lentils. Gradually can use it to make small words. Children love doing this.
I made my three-year-old sit on my kitchen slab and gave her a bowl of beans and rice to create letters and then words.
I used to be surprised at times to see her creativity where she used different seeds to make the letter look colorful.
She sometimes used to create designs with black beans, red lentils, and white rice. As a proud mom, I wondered if my girl had a creative streak in her as she used to make this lovely pattern of colors.
This was around this time that I realized that this activity could be an excellent tool to teach them letters and words, keep them engaged for long, and let them play with different sizes, shapes, and colors from the kitchen. ( One word of caution here: This activity has to be monitored as kids tend to put everything in their mouth, and you cannot allow this with the seeds!!)
4. Pointing mistakes
While writing, it is vital to correct every minor problem.
Be it the size of writing or the pattern or the speed, or the pressure of the pencil. Children are usually rapid learners, and if done with care, they are equally quick to rectify their mistakes.
The only factor is the correction has to be done consistently in the same manner whenever there is a mistake.
Next tie she makes the same mistake, it is very likely that she will remember your words and rectify herself!!
5. Holding child’s hand and guiding the pattern
Guide as required in all aspects of one’s childhood, so is writing. Handholding a child while she writes it is the best guidance in early childhood. This gives them a feel, and she tries to figure out the correct hand movement and the correct pressure on the pencil that needs to be applied.
When a parent holds a Child’s hand and draws to guide, it also gives a sense of security and comfort and creates confidence.
This is something children often remember even when they grow up and also creates bonding and good handwriting.
6. Handwriting practice books
A variety of handwriting practice books are available on the market. Practicing a page or two a day can get kids to write the correct way, and they also get into the habit of writing.
Some children are averse to writing in the beginning. Practice books can help them write more with confidence. If appreciated for their efforts, they may start writing more often, and since these books guide, there is a good chance that their handwriting will improve with little practice.
7. Reading books with bigger alphabets
It is a fact that reading to a child is one of the best practices during their early childhood. It is a good idea to read books with bigger alphabets. When we read books with bigger alphabets, children notice them better, and they also identify the letters in words and word-formation. This may be a subconscious exercise, but they do remember.
When they write themselves, this memory can be of good use. Let them see words that are bigger and clearer to catch enough attention.
All the above factors may contribute to forming good writing habits and building a structured writing schedule for the child. We all have done at least a few of these in our childhood, and we remember some even now. With time being more precious than ever, many of these activities are becoming rare simply because we are always running short of time.
Try and set a routine to practice at least a few of them with your little one, and this time may be a good investment on her.