By: Jennifer Henderson, OTR/L
Handwriting is an important “occupation” for most children. However, handwriting development does not begin when a child starts school. It actually begins at a much earlier age.
Tips to Encourage Handwriting:
- Work on vertical surface activities (on mirror, wall, wipe boards, felt boards) to encourage optimal wrist positioning.
- Use regular sized crayons or even broken crayons (after you are sure the child has reached the developmental age where they won’t put them in their mouths).
- Practice activities on prone or on all 4’s to strengthen hands, arms, and trunk.
- Encourage child to perform 2 handed tasks (banging toys, zoom ball, accordions, pushing carts, rolling large balls).
- Practice sensory play in a variety of tactile media such as noodles, pudding, finger paints, cotton balls
When To Seek Help:
Consult an occupational therapist if you have any concerns regarding your child’s handwriting development, including:
- Little to no interest in coloring or drawing at 3 years and above.
- Using 5 fingers or fist to hold writing utensil past age 5.
- School-age child complains of hand pain or fatigue following handwriting tasks.
- Very slow or messy handwriting compared to peers.
- Difficulty with the use of fork, spoon, scissors or dressing skills over age 5.