Tips to Improve Your Child's Handwriting
Handwriting skills play an important role in both academic and professional life. Read on to know some very simple tips to improve your child's handwriting.
By Hannah S Mathew
“It (handwriting) opens our personality out to the world, and gives us a means of reading other people,” says Philip Hensher, in his book, ‘The Missing Ink’. True! Your child’s handwriting skills reveal a lot about her personality. Good handwriting also goes a long way in improving her prospects, both in academics as well as in her chosen profession. Above all, your child's penmanship is a means for her to create a good impression on others. So, here are a few tips on how to improve your child's handwriting:
1. Right pencil and eraser
When your little one is in preschool and early primary school, her fine motor skills wouldn’t be fully developed. Therefore, her finger movements may be a bit clumsy. So, do some research to find the best pencils for writing for your child. The market today provides a wide range of possibilities: three-sided, rubber-gripped, fat, short, crayon-shaped, mechanical and so on. Equally important is a good, large eraser to make mistakes disappear without wearing out the paper.
2. Pencil grip
Teach your child the three-fingered tripod pencil grip, where the pencil is gripped using the thumb, the index and the middle finger, and the wrist is held straight. This allows for free movement of the fingers and the hand. The best place to hold the pencil is an inch above the tip. Also, tell him to not hold the pencil too tight, as this can hurt his fingers and spoil his handwriting.
3. Pencil pressure
Heavy pencil pressure can adversely the handwriting. So, teach your little genius to not press down the pencil too hard while writing. This will affect the shape of the letters and the smooth flow of writing. Also, her hands will tire sooner. To know if your child uses the right pencil pressure, check the reverse side of the page after she has finished writing. There will be no indents or marks on the reverse side of the page when your child uses the right amount of pressure for writing. Also, the pencil tips won’t break often.
4. Focussed adjustments
Keep an eye on letter formation, paper control, size of letters, space between words, and line-alignment when trying to improve your child's handwriting skills. Observe her write to understand what she is struggling with and how to improve your child's handwriting. Then, explain what she needs to do in a way that she can understand.
5. Practice makes perfect
Use word puzzles, anagrams, a game of hangman, word-hunt or other such games to make your child practise handwriting. Creative approaches encourage children to try harder rather than just copying words. Good handwriting calls for good motor skills. So, using gardening tools, eating with cutlery, handling mechanical tools, finger-painting, drawing on sand and other such activities will help strengthen your child’s motor skills.
6. Rhythm and slant
The customary four-ruled paper is your child’s best friend, as far as practising handwriting goes. These help her form letters of the right size and shape. Writing on a four-ruled sheet will also help her understand the correct size of capital, lowercase, tall, short and hanging letters. It will also make her transition to cursive writing easier. Occasionally, also allow her to practise on single-ruled and plain paper to show her how far she has improved. Encourage your child to develop a rhythm while writing, as this creates something called muscle memory. This will allow a more fluid motion of the hand while writing.
Reasons for bad handwriting range from laziness to stress. In some rare cases, psychological problems may be the cause. Whatever may be the reason, bad handwriting is as irritating as off-key music. Unfortunately, there’s no genie in a lamp to magically transform your child’s handwriting overnight. Developing a good handwriting is time-consuming and requires a lot of patience. However, in the days to come, both you and your child will realise that it was worth the time and effort put in.
Also read: Improving Your Child's Handwriting
About the author:
Written by Hannah S Mathew on 24 July 2017; updated on 6 September 2019
Hannah S Mathew is an Assistant Professor of English, a freelance writer, soft skills trainer, learning content developer, mentor, diagnostic counsellor and devoted mom to a teenager.
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