Many children struggle with dysgraphia or trouble with handwriting. Learning some pre-writing skills is important for your child to get them ready and prepared for writing. Your child’s pediatric occupational therapist may recommend a few ways in which your child can improve their handwriting skills, but typically the learning process should start even before your child picks up a pencil. Some pre-writing skills and prerequisites that are fundamental to prepare your child for writing include:
- Thumb Opposition
- Fine Motor Strength
- Upper Body Strength
- Pincer Grasp
- Crossing the Midline
- Bilateral Coordination
- Eye-Hand Coordination
- Finger Isolation
- Hand Arches
- In-Hand Manipulation
Most kids naturally develop these skills when they engage in play. However, since you are your child’s first real teacher, the best way to observe them and help them progress in writing is by helping them develop these skills at home during their preschool years. Below are some tips to promote pre-writing skills in your child.
Encourage and Promote Pre-writing Skills at Home
Provide your child with writing tools at home like chalk, pencils, crayons and washable markers. Have them use these tools to tell stories and express ideas. Let them know that writing is an important skill they use everywhere in their daily life. Point out things like store signs, billboards and email messages to enforce this concept.
A great way to build your child’s pre-writing skills is through dot-to-dot worksheets. Start off by creating easy worksheets to help with fine motor skills. Have them master ‘across’ and ‘down’ writing motions and have your dot-to-dot worksheets form letters that they can practice.
Your child can practice important skills like the pincer grip with Q-tip painting. Have them create beautiful works of art using Q-tips and paint.
Take out some construction paper and have your child draw out his name or draw other letters with glue to form words. Then have your child sprinkle glitter over the glue. Shake off the excess glitter. This is a great activity to practice cursive handwriting too.
After your child has been practicing these pre-writing skills for a few weeks, you should begin noticing some improvement in their handwriting as well as hand strength. By encouraging your child to practice pre-writing skills, you are also building up their confidence for when it comes time to write in school.