TWO WORDS: writing legibly. If you’re a mom to a preschooler, these two words could make your palm sweat and leave you fidgeting relentlessly. The pressure of seeing your child inscribing his name neatly and easily on a piece of paper can be overwhelming. Imagine the weight it presses on your young scribe!
How do you achieve the best results minus the stress? There are fun ways to practice handwriting without forcing your child to write. Maro Pilapil, school director of Kinderhaus Learning Center in Quezon City, believes that your tyke’s little hands need to be prepared before actually introducing formal writing tools like pencils and crayons. The key, she says, is to develop your child’s fine motor skills first.
Here, some cool techniques and strategies to try with your child.
“Rolling, tapping, and making shapes out of non-toxic clay fine-tunes your child’s fingers, preparing him for correct pen and paper work,” says Marierose Yuzon, academic assistant for Language Arts at the Miriam College Child Study Center in Quezon City. “It may sound trivial to some, but playing with clay actually does wonders to the flexibility and dexterity of the hand muscles,” Pilapil adds.
One, two, tie my shoe!
Simple everyday tasks like lacing his shoes and zipping up his trousers will help your child determine his dominant hand—the hand he will eventually use for writing. “Do not force your child to use one hand when he clearly prefers the other,” says Yuzon.
Show your child how it is done then give him a lot of time to practice. “These tasks aren’t easy for a five- or six-year-old, so be patient,” says Yuzon.
Put an item inside a box (a stuffed toy, for example) and ask your child to guess what’s inside by shaking, feeling, listening, or if it’s edible, tasting it. Sensory activities make use of the hands to feel the surface of the object, says Yuzon. This is a surefire way to develop hand-brain coordination.
Click here for more games and activities to help improve your preschooler's handwriting.