What to Do When Your Child Struggles With Handwriting

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Doctors and children have one thing in common: messy handwriting. We aren’t trying to throw jabs at health workers, but everyone who’s ever been to a doctor’s appointment knows that trying to read a doctor’s prescription is like trying to catch a cat at 2am. It’s never going to work. 

However, even though you don’t expect a perfect print-worthy handwriting from your child, it can be worrisome if their  handwriting is barely readable. Even worse, terrible handwriting can cause them  to lag in class.

Whether your child has dreams of becoming an author or a doctor in future, it’s important to help them fix their handwriting problems before it’s too late.

So how do you help them, especially when you have no teaching experience? It’s actually easier than you think. 

Lean back, get a pen and jot down these handy tips that would help you teach handwriting to your little bundle of joy. You can also read this fantastic article to learn the best tips for a child who hates writing.

Pinpoint the Problem

When children struggle with handwriting, the problem could stem from a wide range of underlying issues. Here are some handwriting areas your child may be struggling with:

  • Holding and controlling the pencil: Sometimes, watching your child trying to hold a pen can feel like watching a puppy try to hold up a heavy sword – awkward and maybe a little worrisome. If your child is finding it difficult to hold or control a pen properly, that may be the cause of their  handwriting problem. 
  • Writing in a straight line: In some cases, your child’s handwriting could be messy because they haven’t learned how to write in a straight line yet. Take a look at notes or letters your child may have written. Are the letters going downward or in an upward direction? If the letters are in a straight line, you have nothing to worry about. If they aren’t, you just might have pinpointed the root of your child’s writing problem. 
  • Forming letters: Sometimes, children may find it hard to form letters. If your child can’t form letters on their own, they’d definitely have a writing problem. 

Pinpointing the problem would help you know how to solve it and improve your child handwriting font. 

Practice Pinching

Whether your child has firm control of a pencil or not, this tip will help to greatly improve their  writing. By practicing the art of pinching items, you can strengthen their  fingers and pencil grip. 

Start by laying small scraps of paper, cereal or pencil shavings on a table. Get a pinching tool such as a pair of ice tongs, tweezers or even chopsticks. 

Try to see how many pieces your child can pick up with the pinching tool in one minute or two. 

Use the Right Tools

Sometimes, the problem may not be your child’s fingers. It could be their pencil or writing tools. If your child is struggling with holding a regular pencil, you could make things easier for them by getting a smaller sized pencil. This way, they’d be able to write better and faster. 

You could also get an eraser just in case they make any mistakes while writing. 

Make Learning Fun

If you’re trying to teach handwriting without tears, you could start by making the learning process as fun as possible. Instead of just showing your child boring words to copy, you could get them to try word puzzles and anagrams. A colourful handwriting paper would also be a great addition. 

If your child really loves games (just like most children do), you could throw clay formation games into the mix. Spread and smoothen clay onto a cookie sheet or flat tray. 

Then, get them to etch letters into the clay using a pencil. This way, they’d be able to learn how each letter is formed. 

Make Them Feel the Letters

So far, your child has probably been learning how to form letters by seeing them. But have you tried getting them to feel the letters yet? Getting your child to focus on feeling a letter, rather than seeing it, will heighten their knowledge of letter formation. 

For instance, you could draw a letter on their back and ask them to reproduce the letter on a sheet of paper. You’ve probably already seen TikTok couples try out this game so it should be fun for you and your kid.

If you want to take things up a notch, you could ask them to write an uppercase letter as a lowercase one. 

Final Thoughts 

Any parent would naturally panic once they discover that their child is struggling with handwriting. However, this problem is more common than you think. 

With these tips we’ve listed above, you can easily tackle your child’s handwriting problem in no time at all. No matter how frustrating it may get, don’t be too hard on your child. They probably already feel bad about their writing struggles and you don’t want to make it worse. 

Just show them love and patience and in no time at all, your child will become a pro writer.

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