Thursday, November 11, 2010

How can I help my child strengthen her hands for writing?

Ms. Dorothy -
My daughter is in pre-school and she can't hold a crayon very well. I'm concerned about her being ready for Kindergarten in the Fall. What can I do at home to get her ready for writing?
- Mom of a 4 year old 

Kindergarten teachers everywhere wish more parents like you were working with their future students! 

One thing I always recommend is using tiny little pieces of chalk or crayon because it forces the use of the muscles in the fingers & helps them develop. Tweezers, tiny beads, even eye droppers will require using the same muscles, but without making it a chore for a little one.

Try giving her the challenge of picking beads out of a bowl of uncooked rice using tweezers, or of squeezing drops of colored water onto a coffee filter with an eye dropper.

My students love picking corn kernels off dried cobs with tweezers. They also like using a push pin to poke holes in construction paper. Trace puzzle shapes on construction paper and, instead of cutting with scissors, try to perforate the paper with enough pin holes to remove the shape.

The side benefit is that these tasks take tremendous concentration and help to develop focus as well as the small muscles needed for writing.

Most of all, don't worry too much about the actual writing. Time is the most important factor for developing the muscles in the hand, and she'll be ready before you know it!

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