When your child starts learning handwriting, fine motor skills are very important. Your child needs to have good posture and physical stability, strong hands, fingers and wrists, and a good pencil grasp.
Before your child starts working on pre-handwriting patterns and letter formation, it’s a great idea to help him focus his brain and body in a relaxed and fun way on any task that he is about to perform. Your child’s handwriting skills can be influenced by various factors that make it a challenge. Weak wrists are just one factor.
The objective of the 4 exercises below is to develop your child’s coordination and strength in his hands and wrists to help improve his handwriting.
1. Squeezing a Ball
Have your child squeeze a soft ball or toy for one minute which strengthens both their hands and wrists. As his strength improves, you can switch to a firm rubber ball.
2. Rolling Play Dough
Encourage your child to perform activities with rolling pins, plastic knives, cookie cutters and scissors. Have your child make little balls out of the play doh by rolling it and then use his fingers to press it down, hide objects in it and pull them out or pull the play doh apart.
3. Squeezing and Picking Up Objects Clothes Pins
Using clothes pins have your child squeeze and pick objects up with them. You can also encourage your child to work on opening the clothes pins up from the side that is closed. Have him do repetitions or make a game out of it by seeing how long he can keep the clothes pin open.
4. Spraying with a Water Spray Bottle
This activity is great for strengthening up wrist and hand muscles. Your child can use the water spray bottles to spray things like plants, windows or the wall outside. He can even use it in the bath tub.
Having a pediatric occupational therapist work with your child on a regular basis is a good idea and can help expedite the process of improving your child’s handwriting. A pediatric occupational therapist is experienced with this type of impairment and assigns essential tasks for your child to practice. Just remember, handwriting is not an activity that improves overnight. It will take consistency and lots of practice before you start seeing results.