Most parents struggle to inculcate the habit of good handwriting in their children at a very young age. I have come across many parents who complain or in some instances the teacher complains, that the child is not able to complete the written work in class. So I thought of penning down some ideas that might help these parents and kids.
Research says that for handwriting, your body and mind needs to do many different things in the correct order. For e.g. your body posture should be correct, your eyes have to follow your hand movements and finally your brain has to coordinate and properly align all your thoughts into writing. So having a good handwriting is a cumulative effort and has to be practised right from an early age.
Today, we see that during the nursery class, the child is used to writing very few words in school, for e.g. 2-lettered words or maximum 3-lettered words. As the child gets used to alphabets and their cases (upper and lower case), they are introduced to cursive writing.
While a child is still in the process of getting used to the school environment, they are simultaneously exposed to constant changes in the academic curriculum. As they graduate to class I, there is a huge jump in the syllabus and hence the writing part increases, from mere 2-lettered words or 3-lettered words to full sentences. Now this is a big and sudden change for them.
When a child is writing, they are performing various tasks such as looking at the board, memorizing it for some time and then copying the same in their notebook. Here the hand-eye coordination comes into play besides the concentration.
Kids who have attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD) find it hard to sit still and focus on what they need to do. They might write too fast or start to write and forget to finish the same. Kids who have challenges with their muscles, like those with Down syndrome or cerebral palsy, also face difficulty while writing.
Parents and teachers can play an important role in helping the child. Within a month of beginning the new 1st grade session, teachers can notice which children write correctly and which children lack the same. They can convey this to a child’s parents and also guide them with steps that need to be taken to cultivate the writing habit.
Parents on their part start panicking rather than helping the child to improve. They start pressurizing the child and this creates averseness to studies. The child tries to find out ways to keep away from books and studies.
Here are some key points which can help parents to encourage good writing skills in their children.
Look at the grip of your child, whether they are holding the pencil too tight or too loose. The correct way is to allow the pencil to rest at the base of the thumb. Give them correct sized pencils. If the child is struggling with normal sized pencils, give them a shorter or a kid sized pencil, which they would be comfortable to start with. Always keep an eraser handy, so that children are not afraid to make mistakes.
Introduce your child to lines and make them familiar how the upper case and lower case has to be written (a child should use a red and blue line notebook to better understand the spacing, length and breadth of the alphabets).
Alphabets need to be written daily, in both the upper and the lower case and then slowly cursive writing could be introduced.
Since a child gets bored with the curriculum easily, writing can be done in a playful manner. Smaller children have a fascination for scribbling, drawing and colouring.
Give them the required material and let them play to their hearts content. This will strengthen the muscles needed for writing.
Make practicing a fun part in the schedule. Give them puzzles with small words. You can also give them small creative pictures with appropriate words to be filled in. Ensure that they enjoy the process.
Address the problem
Most of the handwriting problems lie in forming letters, sizes of the letter, spaces to be left in-between words and proper alignment on the line.
Check your child’s challenge area and then focus on improving that area. You can encourage their strengths and find ways to improve their weaknesses.
Encourage writing on other surfaces
Whenever you are at a beach, you can encourage your child to write on the sand, writing on tomato ketchup or writing on a foggy mirror or window panes during the rains, will bring out their creativity. They will be inspired to use this creativity in their writing.
Finally, if these homely tricks don’t help, then the therapist comes into the picture. But I am sure there will be a lot of improvement and the child will love to write for sure.
The conclusion of the above article is that parents need to take that extra effort themselves, rather than sending their children to tutors or coaches.
Give little time from your daily routine, so that you can change your child’s life. Spend some quality time of the day with them. Give them that hug and warmth which they need and will always appreciate. Become their friend, so that they are free to tell you all the things going on in their little heads (good, bad or just about anything). Don’t scare them away. After all they are your children. They are you. God has given you a wonderful opportunity to improve yourself by taking caring of your little ones.
Please read our earlier article Top study tips from a teacher.
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