It is very important for your child to develop a good handwriting. Although it is not very important in his early days, developing a good handwriting greatly benefits him in the later years. It is a good idea to start training the child when he is about five and continue the training till he is about ten years old.
Remember that handwriting is about taking control of the pen or pencil and making it do what you want it to do.
Good handwriting is very important in schools because most of the assignments are handwritten. If your child does not exhibit good handwriting, then his teacher may have a hard time understanding his work. This can result in your child getting lesser marks than his classmates. Also, bad handwriting can make it difficult for your child to interpret his own writing. This can hamper his studies. Good handwriting can make a big difference in your child's life and can have a positive impact on his self-esteem. Remember that having a good handwriting is both an art and a skill.
21 tips to help your child improve his handwriting
- Choose a comfortable atmosphere that provides the least distraction.
- Encourage him to practice good colouring skills. This can form the basis of developing a good handwriting.
- Guide your child with projects that involve markers, crayons and scissors.
- Start training your child in the art of developing a good handwriting as early as possible but not before age 5. It is difficult for children younger than that to sit still for a long time and they may not have the fine motor skills to write well yet.
- Encourage good posture and proper pencil holding technique.
- Also using a short thick pencil is easier for the child in the early days.
- Make sure he understands your directions before he actually begins writing.
- Start training him to form his manuscript letters before introducing cursive writing.
- Teach your child to form letters consistently using a continuous stroke. Remember to teach him the basic horizontal and vertical strokes, slashes and circles. Make him practice these again and again.
- In the early days focus on the motor movement rather than the size or legibility of the letters. Do not worry if your child ends up writing an "A" of thrice the usual size.
- When you teach your child to form letters, group the similarly formed letters together. For example, the manuscript letters "a". "c" and "d" start the same way.
- Use numbers and arrows to help the child understand how to form his letters in the correct sequence. You can also consider drawing grid lines in his worksheet and encourage him to write his letters within the grid. If you are drawing lines to help your child with cursive letters, they must slant uniformly like / / / / /. Do not use a mix of lines such as \ | / \ and so on.
- Make handwriting a part of other activities such as spelling.
- Help him visualise the shape of each letter. You can also play games with plastic letters that can be bought from the toy shop. These are available in both capital and small letters.
- Emphasise on speed only after your child has begun to write his letters legibly.
- Encourage your child to write his letters in proportion to each other. Tall letters such as "t" and "h" should be twice as big as the normal letters like "c" and "e". However, they should be of the same size as letters such as "y" and "p" which extend downwards.
- If you are teaching your toddler cursive writing, teach him to form single letters and connections between letters as two separate tasks.
- Limit each handwriting session to a maximum of 30 minutes so that your child does not get bored.
- Encourage your child to practice what he has learnt. For example, you can ask him to write your grocery list or his birthday list.
- Help him practice "rhythmic writing". This involves writing on the blackboard. You must make your child stand in one place and stretch his writing hand as far as he can.
- Do not criticize him for a bad handwriting. Instead, you must correct him and encourage him to do better next time.
- Include writing with a finger in air or on a tray containing cornflour or rice flour. Tracing the shape of letters already written in a raised fashion. For example, glitter glue letters can also help.
- Remember that with your support as a caring parent, your child who is struggling with his handwriting can acquire the handwriting skills he needs.
- You can also consider buying handwriting worksheets from the stationery shop or online. Alternatively, you can create sample worksheets for your child online. These are excellent sources to help your child practice with the alphabet.
- How should I position the paper and pencil for my child to develop a good handwriting?
- You can position the paper and pencil for your child in the following way:
- Make your child sit back comfortably maintaining a straight posture. Do not allow him to bend over the paper.
- Place the paper in front of him very slightly angled towards the left. (If he is a left-hander, you must angle towards the right.)
- Help him balance the pencil between his thumb and the index or fore-finger. But, do not allow him to hold the pencil too close to the tip.
- If you feel that this has not been of help, ask him to hold his pencil slightly higher up.
- Finally, do not give up. If your child learns to hold his pencil in a different way, he may find it difficult to change it later.
- If your child has outgrown the pencil and moved over to the pen, do not get him started with ball pens or messy fountain pens. You can get him introduced to roller ball pens.