It’s an exciting moment when your toddler first picks up a crayon, but learning to write is a practice that takes time. Founder of My Little Learner Jo, is on hand with some expert tips on how to help your little one learn how to write. For 10% off anything at My Little Learner, head to the checkout with discount code MYBABA10.
Helping your little one learn how to write
For little ones toddler and preschool age, the concept of learning to write isn’t solely to do with picking up a pen and experimenting. There are other important skills and practices you can be encouraging that will help benefit them. These skills arise from the action of play and exploration, which works well, as these are the two things kids love to do. By giving your child the freedom to play, explore and take risks, you’re already assisting them in acquiring the key developmental skills they need as a prerequisite to learning to write.
Posture and gross motor skills
Posture is an important part of writing. A child must learn how to sit comfortably and hold a pencil. To do this, they need to have adequate core strength and arm muscle strength. First, courage your child to write with large arm movements. These are developed best in a play environment, that encourages freedom of movement in a large space where they can take risks and move in a variety of ways.
Fine motor skills
Fine motor skills are the ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands and wrists. To encourage a child to hold a pencil with the correct grip, they’ll need to have developed their fine motor skills. This makes writing much less frustrating for a child. To help your child develop their fine motor skills, encourage play with smaller objects, and try and combine the actions of ripping, turning, twisting, pulling, picking and pushing.
It’s got to be fun
Learning to write can be frustrating for kids, so it’s important to make it fun. Play and repetition is how children learn, so do your best to incorporate both when it comes to creating activities for them to do.
Developmental handwriting milestones to know
Your child will be experimenting with the art of holding a pen or pencil. Scribbling is the first sign of interest.
18 months to 2 years
Encourage whole arm drawing during this developmental stage. Watch as your child’s pen grip starts to develop, and encourage the correct finger and thumb positioning.
It’s time for experimentation. Can your child stay within the sheet? Kids should be beginning to paint, draw and colour without going outside of the paper. Start by giving your child a large piece of paper and moving on from there.
Children should now be starting to copy or trace vertical lines, known as pre-writing strokes.
Right now, they’re learning to gain control. Their pre-writing strokes will move from vertical and horizontal lines to circles. Children will begin to grip pencils and crayons with fingers, but they won’t quite have mastered the art of it yet.
It’s time to paint! Painting will help your child develop fine motor skills and writing development.
3 to 4 years
Kids should be able to copy horizontal and vertical lines, and draw circles without the need to copy. From the age of around three and a half, a typical child might be able to copy simple letters, and try writing their name. They can trace thick horizontal lines without going off of the lines too much. They’ll also be able to colour within the lines of simple shapes, and use scissors to cut a piece of paper in half along a straight line, without steering off course too much.
From 3 to 6 years of age, your child should start to use their thumb and index finger, resting the pen on the joint of their middle finger. Don’t worry though, it’s still common for kids to get this part wrong. Many will adopt a tripod grip better the ages of 4 and 5 plus.
4 years plus
It’s true what they say, practice makes perfect. Repetition is key for learning and further progression. The more we repeat the action, the stronger our neural pathways become, and the easier it will get…
Wipeable learning mats are a fantastic way for encouraging your child to start learning to write. They’re colourful and exciting, and kids love writing with felt tips. They can learn to master writing their name, and if they get it wrong, they can wipe it away and simply start again!
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