*This is a collaborative guest post
Is your child struggling with their handwriting? Well, don’t be alarmed. It’s perfectly normal and it’s likely to improve with practice. However, there are a few things you can do to help them. Check with your child’s teacher if you want some specific instructions on how your child is being taught to write so that you don’t give conflicting advice, and then go ahead and try these ideas.......
Firstly, don’t make a big deal of it!
Handwriting can be a difficult thing to for children to master, and like any other subject or skill, placing too much pressure on them can really turn them off. Don’t make a big deal of messy handwriting or scold them. Instead, offer praise when they make a concerted effort, and be sure to congratulate them on their attitude as well as their success when they finally crack the perfect ‘f’ or a joined-up word.
Secondly, try to make handwriting practice something that’s fun
Handwriting practice is homework, so you’re going to need to make it fun if you expect your child to do it with gusto! Pick words that are funny or relate to something they’re passionate about. For instance, Star Wars fans might be most inclined to improve their handwriting if they’re practising how to write the names of their favourite characters.
Thirdly, ask them to practice while they’re sat at the table
Lots of children like to lay on their stomachs while they’re doing their homework because it feels a little less formal and seems to be ‘over quicker’. However, to really get children to improve the quality of their handwriting, they’ll need to be sat upright at a table. Make sure that their back is straight, that their shoulder, elbow and wrist are at a comfortable height, and that they’re elevated enough to see the pen and letters while they’re forming words. Also, ensure the area is well-lit and distraction free.
Fourth, invest in equipment designed to help with handwriting
School classrooms are well stocked with stationery supplies (having bought materials from suppliers like this one here, for example). You can shop from the same place if you like, especially if your child is really struggling with handwriting. The supplier offers aids such as grips and writing tools that are designed for specific ages and ability levels.
Finally, be patient, and try to come up with strategies to overcome specific challenges
Many children write letters back to front. While it can be a sign of dyslexia, for many children, it’s just part of the normal process of learning to write. Letters are hard to write the correct way round because it requires children to have a perceptual skill called ‘visual form constancy’ – something that allows him or her to retain an image in their mind, even when they’re not looking at it. Because most children don’t fully grasp this until around the age of seven, don’t be surprised if they’re getting their d’s and b’s mixed up! You can teach them some tricks to help them get there sooner - for instance, teach them that they can understand ‘b’ and ‘d’ by imagining a picture of a bed where the head of the bed is the ‘b’ and the bottom of the bed is the ‘d’.
What do you think of these tips and tricks for helping children to improve their handwriting? Do you have any of your own suggestions to add?
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