Celebrating Handwriting Skills on National Handwriting Day

By:  Jennifer Henderson, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist
Brightsong, LLC

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.

Handwriting Development

Handwriting Table

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. 
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