Alexander Pope wrote his first major poem when he was only 12 years old.
He was, of course, an outlier and child genius, and we do not know at what age he first picked up a pen and learned how to write. Like most children, he was probably learning to write at the age of 4 or 5, a standard developmental milestone.
If your kid is ready to learn this new skill, you may be wondering how to help them. In this article we will look at some of the ways you can support their growth.
1. Warm-Up Exercises
Handwriting is a physical skill. When first learning how to move your body, it can be challenging to pick a pencil and make small, controlled strokes. Like any exercise that requires body control, you should get your child to warm up their body first.
There are specific exercises that will awaken the parts of the nervous system that they will need when a child is learning to write. Get them to stand arms wide and bend to touch the toe across their body. This will a the heart and make fine motor control a little easier.
2. Letter Tracing
As well as physical exercises, you can get the body prepared for writing with some gross motor skills and wake up their brain. Get them to imagine letters and numbers written on the floor in large. You may have to support your child by demonstrating them first.
Now ask your child to trace the shape with their arm, getting larger each time. An excellent symbol to start with is the infinity symbol which you can describe as the number eight lying on its side. Once they have done it with their arms, get them to physically walk out the shape with their feet.
3. Support Understanding Spelling
Spelling is a core skill that underpins the writing skill and needs to be learned simultaneously. When you want to help your child to write, do so by practicing spelling with them whenever you can. As they learn new words, get them to spell the word letter by letter each time.
Play I-Spy but with spelling to help support your child further. For example, when they guess the word, you can say, ‘Yes, it is a bed. B-E-D.’. This will embed the spelling and the vocab together in their minds.
4. Increase Fine Motor Skills
Outside of writing itself, there are ways you can help your child learn to write by improving fine motor skills in other fun ways. Get lots of sensory toys like Play-Doh, Legos, and coloring books that will help them perfect their technique.
They will be messy and clumsy at first, but as they play and practice, their ability to move in small, controlled ways will improve immensely. This will help them hold a pencil with more control as they work on their writing.
5. Use Large Pencils
When your motor skills are weaker, you will find holding small tools and instruments like pencils and pens difficult. Support your child by buying larger, fatter writing tools like golf pencils. These short, stubby pencils will be much easier to hold and improve their handwriting.
Learning To Write Takes Time and Practice
When a child is learning to write, it is essential to remember that the skills required need to be developed in and out of the activity itself. Your child needs to develop the motor skills required and understand how words are formed first. Then the writing skill will come much more naturally, and they will enjoy the process.
If you are looking for a childcare academy that will support your child through the early learning stages of life, contact us and see how we can help your child flourish.