Help I just can not get my son/daughter to hold his/her pencil correctly !!
There are lots of different things or reasons that can contribute to an incorrect pen grip. A child may have a lack of interest in writing, they may have too much pressure put on them to write or they may have a lack of hand and / or finger strength to control the pencil.
Learning to hold a pen/pencil correctly is VERY IMPORTANT. A correct grip is needed in order be able to write comfortably, fluently, legibly and without pain.
- Lack of interest – too much pressure -
There is so much pressure put on children to learn everything these days, sometimes the constant pressure can turn a child off wanting to draw, write or even color in. Try redirecting your child and yourself, forget about actual pens and pencils and have some FUN!
Take the focus off writing with an actual pen and provide fun activities so your child wont even realize they are developing their writing grip. Try;
- Drawing in Sand with a stick – wet sand or dry sand change, the texture for more fun
- Paddle pop sticks in a salt tray
- Magic water books (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/search?q=magic+book )
- Painting – use different brushes to keep it interesting
- Chalk inside or outside (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/products/chalk-book-farm )
- Bath Paint – use brushes on the tiles or shower glass for lots off fun
- Tracing & Stencils (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/search?q=stencil )
- White boards
- Magna doodles
- Lack of hand / wrist / finger strength -
If they are holding correctly, however the writing is not neat, it maybe an issue of the amount of grip and the child actually needing more strength and control.
Anything that involves using the 3 fingers we write with, with a lot of strength/force will help strengthen their grip. Some examples:
- Geo Boards – these are perfect as the child needs to use their fingers to pulling the elastic bands which give resistance. (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/products/coming-soon-geo-board-wooden )
- Peg activities – hanging clothes on a pretend line or a clothes horse
- Squeezing – Play dough, balls, squishy toys and fidgets are gentle and fun ways to get more strength (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/collections/fidgets-and-sensory)
- Finger action songs – Baby shark etc hop on youtube for heaps of ideas
- If they like to use pencils do tracing, stencils and mazes it will encourage more control and definition as well
- Dressing activities like buttons & zips all use the right fingers (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/products/life-skill-owls )
For a more direct approach to grip issues there are Pen grips:
Pen grips make or encourage hands and fingers to be in the correct position, there are 2 types available.
- Claw grips – make the child hold their finger in the correct position the whole time (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/products/claw-pen-grip-3-pack )
- 3 step sets – more gentle, as each stage gradually weens your child off the last (https://advancingallchildren.com.au/products/hand-writing-aid-3-piece-set )
It does not matter how they get there, as long as they do. Find their interest and work with them. I believe in learning through play by providing as many toys and activities that will give them the chance to develop skills at their own pace in a fun way.
Please see an occupational therapist or your GP if you have any concerns about your child's development …
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