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  • 5 Teacher-Recommended Tips for Preschoolers Who Are 'Lazy' to Write

    Preschool teachers share with us how they build up their young students' confidence to start writing
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison . Published Mar 5, 2019
5 Teacher-Recommended Tips for Preschoolers Who Are 'Lazy' to Write
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  • One of the most life-defining moments any parent will experience is the time her child enters school. It doesn't matter if it's daycare, a playschool, big school, or summer school, seeing your child as part of an educational institution is a big reality check that your baby is no more — she is grown up, ready to learn.

    One of the skills your child needs to develop in time for school is the ability to write by hand, a Herculean task since most preschoolers find writing a boring activity.

    Why children are "lazy" to write

    "The 3-to-5-year-old stage is the most challenging and tracing letters, and words are not meaningful for them. You have to connect it to their interests," says Kat Tomawis, a teacher at Kid Cave PH in Quezon City and mom of two who also homeschooled her daughter Amelia, 4 years old.

    "I let them do scribbles or drawings just to help them get used to handling the pencil. I don't want it to be too structured, or the kids will lose interest. They might even feel that they are being punished," she adds.

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    This observation is supported in the book Dr. Spock's Baby and Childcare (9th edition). "While knowledge of letters and numbers is important, an overly academic approach to preschool can get in the way of play, which is the way children develop social skills and exercise their creativity."

    A "skill-and-drill" approach might give preschoolers the impression that learning is something one does "out of duty," the book states, and it may be killing the fun out of it.

    Another reason a child may not show interest in writing is he may not be ready to write yet. "Writing, or apprehension to do so, is connected to a child’s 'writing readiness,'" says Karen Ruth Lorenzana-Reyes, a child development specialist who teaches kids 1 to 6 years old at Stone Hedge Learners, Inc. in Taguig. 

    "A child who is not yet confident of his motor control with a writing instrument will not be keen to write. He will avoid doing it to minimize frustrations," she adds.

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    How to motivate kids to write

    1. Ditch the paper and pencil — for now. 

    As with anything, and especially when it involves kids, learning happens when it has an element of fun. Says Teacher Kat, "We take a break from traditional writing practice that makes use of pencil and paper. I let them use clay or sand to create the letters of their names or do finger painting to trace their names." 

    2. Develop speaking skills first.

    Teacher Karen advises, "Parents have to keep in mind that children concretely process things first (associating what is seen to how it is called) before they proceed to the abstract (assigning a letter to a sound)." 

    "Encourage conversations first — read books, let kids be familiar with [everyday objects] and what they are called. Once they are able to verbalize these words, labeling them using letters and writing these letters will soon follow, with proper encouragement and support," she adds.

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    3. Practice your child's fine motor skills.

    As Teacher Karen had mentioned, young children need to be confident about their motor skills first before they find the fun in writing. "Practicing their pre-writing skills include playing with playdough, cutting with scissors, and squeezing the appropriate amount of glue onto a piece of work," — with supervision, of course. "Once they are confident with their fine motor control, re-introduce writing tools such as markers, crayons, or pencils," she adds. 

    4. Use storybooks as a jump-off point.

    Your kids' favorite bedtime story may be the key to encouraging them to write. "Since I teach pre-reading, I use books as a springboard," says Teacher Kat. "After reading a story, I ask them questions or let them write something about the story we just read. It doesn't matter if he or she writes just one word or just the letter A; what matters is he or she feels proud about his work." 


    5. Be patient.

    All kids develop differently. According to Teacher Karen, "Although there are developmental milestones we watch out for which serve as a guide for us as to what to expect from children at certain ages, each child is unique. Depending on their environment and available resources, some kids may start writing earlier, some kids postpone writing until they’re in grade school, and so on." Give it time and let the process unfold.

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