Should I be concerned about my child’s handwriting?
This is a common question asked by parents of school-aged children. There are so many factors that go into being able to write, such as posture, attention span, fine motor coordination, and visual-motor skills to name a few. Handwriting is being introduced in school as early as pre-K. Typically, all of these skills have not fully developed yet! Here is how you can start at home:
Writing should be introduced in a fun way! Start with sidewalk chalk, creating lines and circles in shaving cream with your finger, finger paints, and writing with Q-tips and water on construction paper.
Little hands should use little tools.
- Ditch the fat pencils. It’s hard for a child to wrap their fingers around them. Short golf pencils are great for beginners.
- Ditch the new box of crayons. Break the crayons at least in half, and peel off the paper. This prevents holding with the fist and encourages children to hold the crayon with their fingers.
- Ditch markers. Pencils and crayons provide more resistance on the paper so that the child can have more control.
When should I become concerned about my child’s handwriting?
- Seek advice from your child’s teacher and attend parent teacher conferences. In addition to getting verbal advice, look around the room at student’s work on display and see what kind of work all the students are producing.
- Some red flags that may indicate that your child needs additional help with handwriting during or after kindergarten:
- Your child switches the hand with which they hold a pencil or crayon.
- Your child has difficulty writing their name.
- Your child had difficulty using two hands together for tasks such as cutting or stringing beads.
- Your child has difficulty holding a pencil in their fingers.
- Your child consistently writes from right to left, writes letters upside down, or reverses most letters.
What does “additional help” mean?
- Talk to your child’s teacher to see what strategies they are using in class and provide extra assistance at home. Sometimes there are volunteers or teacher assistants that can provide additional assistance for your child in school.
- Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.
- An Occupational Therapist (OT) is trained to work on developing skills needed for handwriting. These services can be provided at school if your child qualifies for service and if their difficulty is impacting their education. OT can also be provided on an outpatient basis if they have physical difficulties also impacting their daily living skills.
Contact Country Kids at (920) 339-0700 if you would like more information, have questions, or would like to know if your child would benefit from an occupational therapy evaluation.