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  • Did Your Child Skip Crawling As A Baby? How It Leads To Poor Pencil Grip Development

    Crawling is an important milestone in a baby's physical development
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
Did Your Child Skip Crawling As A Baby? How It Leads To Poor Pencil Grip Development
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/Dave Clark Digital Photo
  • SmartParenting.com.ph has encountered parents worried when they see their children, even at 10 years old, hold pens, scissors, utensils like spoon and fork in an awkward manner.

    Awkward pencil grip positions

    The photo above demonstrates a pencil grip that kids typically outgrow by age 3-4. How does an awkward or poor finger grip continue into preschool age?

    They may have skipped crawling as babies, according to Dr. Evalyn Hizon, a former preschool teacher and a former professor at the Department of Family Life and Child Development in UP Diliman.

    "They skip this important milestone in their physical development. I found this out when I interviewed parents with this kind of problem. The finger muscles are not well coordinated and not strong enough. Hence they get tired easily," shares Dr. Hizon who is now a professor at Miriam College, and a part-time lecturer at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Early Childhood Education.

    Hand and finger exercises for proper pencil grip

    She adds that children who have difficulty developing proper pencil grip may be given activities that further help finger and hand manipulation. These exercises include:

    • stress balls at least three to five times a day to exercise their fingers and hands
    • bounce a ball
    • squeeze and manipulate play dough

    If you're wondering about toys, kids can connect Lego parts to build structures and feel happy and proud of their achievements. In the process, this improves their motor skills and dexterity.

    With enough exercises and new activities, children may eventually overcome an awkward pencil grip, says Dr. Hizon. "It is possible that they will overcome this eventually as long as the finger bones are complete and strong.

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    "As they do many household chores, schoolwork, and physical education activities required by the school, they will eventually discover their awkward movements and actions. They will resolve to correct them on their own."

    Dr. Hizon shares here how to encourage correct pencil grip positively.

    The role of left and right-handedness in the pencil grip

    Speaking of correcting pencil grip, Dr. Hizon says sometimes a parent or a guardian forces a left-handed child to transfer her hand preference to the right, especially in writing and drawing.

    "It is important to respect the child's handedness," stresses Dr. Hizon. "Left-handed children should not be asked to transfer to their right hand because this will interfere with their brain coordination according to some researches made. Otherwise, this will affect the child's speech."

    If a child is left-handed, it is vital to provide him with materials designed for lefties.

    "There are special scissors for left-handed, and pencil grip available in the bookstores which can be attached to the pencil and the child can improve his/her pencil grip," suggests Dr. Hizon.

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