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Handwriting Struggles for kids and how to solve them

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Would you like to practice handwriting with your child – without the stress? This blog post will give you 12 tips to improve kids handwriting. This includes:

  1. Preschool handwriting practice – The philosophy 
  2. Preschool handwriting practice – The activities
  3. How to teach my child to hold a pencil
  4. Why whiteboards are effective
  5. Tips to improve kids  handwriting from the moment they begin writing
  6. Letter Formation – Lowercase and Uppercase letters
  7. Writing Programs
  8. Free Phonics Workshop
  9. Writing on the line
  10. Writing letters backwards
  11. Tips to improve Handwriting for older kids
  12. Writing Progression

1. Preschool Handwriting Practice- The Philosophy 

The first mistake you could make when teaching their child to write is providing your young child with a plethora of preschool handwriting and letter formation worksheets.

As an early years educator my advice to you is to focus on your child’s fine motor skills. What is that? 

Some Scandinavian countries have their child beginning to write their names from the age of 7. Now, What does this have to do with preschool handwriting? Well, when it comes to teaching your child to write you must remember that although they have experiences of writing such as; watching you writing your shopping list. They have not fully developed their muscles for writing. A crucial step to neat handwriting is to build the muscles in charge of writing, which are the fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. 

You can begin building these writing skills from the moment your child is born. Like the example on the left. Where the child is using their hand-eye co-ordination skills to place the pegs into the correct holes.

2. Preschool handwriting practice – The activities

Here are some activities that help with hand-eye coordination in children that are also tips to improve kids handwriting. How? For those of you who do not know what that means, I will explain, hand-eye coordination helps children with writing their letters correctly. If they can master this skill then they can write neatly. The biggest mistake parents make is to jump from A to Z too quickly they forget about the fine motor activities and get them straight to tracing letters. 

Here are some suggested activites:

  • Cutting out patterns 
  • Threading beads into a hoop
  • Pouring water from a jug into a cup 
  • Using tweezers to transfer objects 
  • Learning to zip up their own coat and many more….

If you really want some excellent preschool ideas @Montessoridadsway is the best place to get ideas. I can already tell that his son is going to have amazing handwriting skills. 

3. How to teach my child to hold a pencil

The next most crucial step when teaching a child to write is ensuring they have the correct pencil grip. I would not force a child to hold a pencil correctly during free writing activites.

Look at it from this point of view; Imagine if you were ready to have the most relaxing bath since March 2020. You set the water to a perfect temperature for yourself; pour in the bubble bath solution; you can see the bubbles foam to the top like a pillow waiting for you to rest; As you are about to get your favourite scented bath bomb into your perfect mix. All of a sudden you mum bursts open the door and starts telling you you’re doing it all wrong. That the temperature isn’t correct and that you used the wrong solution and how they will show you how to do it! Wouldn’t that ruin the moment and be embarrassing? It is the same for the child if you are constantly correcting them. It isn’t just about ruining the moment you’re also embarrassing them and taking away their confidence.

Teach your child how to hold a pencil in a positive environment. Here is a tutorial from my youtube page on how to do it.

If your child is struggling with the tripod grip then you could use pencil grips to help them with  holding the pencil. I usually get this after a month of teaching them how to hold the pencil incorrectly and they are still struggling.

4. Whiteboards

I love whiteboards, children love whiteboards, we all love whiteboards! Children love whiteboards because it is easy to erase their mistakes and practice. They enjoy practicing their writing without the scrutiny of adults around them and you can see how much they know independently. You can buy some from amazon, click here.

This next technique is how I get children writing from left to right at the very beginning of handwriting practice. When I first teach children to write, one of my rules is for them to ‘’Start in the top left hand corner.’’ This can be indicated with a dot or pointing to the correct place for the child to start writing.

5. Tips to improve kids handwriting from the moment they begin writing

During handwriting practice, when teaching a child to write their first letter, you should explain to the child to write as small as an ant. This ensures that they attempt to write as small as possible, this means that children already focus on their letter size. 

6. Letter Formation – Lowercase and Uppercase letters

The next important step when teaching a child to write is making sure they have the correct letter formation! My favourite guide to use when it comes to letter formation is from the Read, Write Ink scheme. They have a pack of cards using rhymes as a fun way of learning letter formaion. I use it on a daily basis!

The correct letter formation means that children are able to transition easily to cursive writing.

Capital letters can be introduced alongside every new letter or you could teach them when they start focusing on wiring digraphs. E.g: ai, sh words and teaching them the alphabet. When it comes to forming capital letters there isn’t much of an emphasis on how they are formed. However, you can get some formation rhymes from Twinkl.

It is crucial to model letter formation by getting the child to copy without holding their pen or pencil. This helps put into practice the hand eye coordination skill and allows the child to build independent skills of correcting their own handwriting in the future without it being tedious.
Here is a resource I enjoy using to show children how to copy letters other than worksheets: Sandpaper letters

7. Invest in a program

I advise you to invest in a course that will give you the guidance you need. Children Learning Reading offers a phonics course for children. I have attended and participated in four different phonics training and the article of my review of them can be found here.

However, when I saw how Children Learning Reading handled teaching phonics, I was genuinely impressed. I researched it before sharing the course with you guys. I saw that the programs used amazing methods for blending and I will be using this course to support my teaching in school, and for the next generation within my family!

It is easier to do a course rather than scavenging for information across the vast internet, and doing a course helps prevent you from making deadly mistakes when teaching your child to read. Have a look at their official page and see if it’s for you

8. Get FREE help from a professional

  • Are you ready to start 2021 with a bang!?
  • New to teaching your little one and not sure where to start?
  • Confused with all the theories online?
  • Just want an answer that us easy to follow and implement?

If you are feeling overwhelmed and utterly lost about teaching your child to write, then I personally recommend Teaching Reading Like A Pro (Affiliate Link).

If you are one of the few who are reading this before the 11th January 2020, then you have the opportunity for a 5 day free course about phonics. This is a course for mothers only! I spoke to the coach, her expertise is inspiring and her passion for supporting mothers is immaculate!

Here’s what she had to say:

I know how difficult it can be navigating your way around teaching. There are so many things to consider, so many things to research and you want to make sure you’re doing it correctly. I understand; I was in exactly the same position about 10 years ago. If you are truly dedicated to teaching your child to read and write the CORRECT way, then I have an opportunity for you! If you wanted to learn to bake good bread, then you would ask a baker who bakes tasty bread. If you wanted to learn to drive a car, you would ask a driving Instructor who has a good pass rate.

Take knowledge and advice from someone who has done what you want to do and has the knowledge, experience and results! When I first started teaching my children, I soon realised I couldn’t guess my way to the answer. My child would not progress like that.

The only people who offered me anything of value were the ones who had ALREADY achieved what I was aiming for but others’ experiences alone wasn’t enough. I had to learn. I had to spend my time and effort bettering my understanding of phonics to teach all of my children. Having taught all of my children to read and write, I didn’t realise how advanced they actually were, Allahumma baarik.

If you are ready to discover how to teach phonics properly, thenmothers, sign up today! You can register using this link.

9. Writing on the line

Your child must meet these requirements before expecting them to write on the line:

  • Have very good finemotore skills, such as able to do small buttons themselves.
  • Age 5 or over (This can vary)

I put these guidelines in place as I usually expect older children who have mastered their fine motor skills and good pencil control to write on the line. It is good to remind younger children to write on the line but don’t force it. They already have so much on their mind to master the skill of writing at a young age and the dded pressure can make it difficult for them. 

To get children writing on the line, here is a verse you could use ‘’Make sure your words are not floating up in the sky, or drawing under the water. It has to be placed safely on the ground.”

10. Writing letters backwards

When practicing letter formation, children will sometimes write their letters backwards. Letters seen as symbols to children. It’s like remembering an adult to recall a detailed picture. They wont always remember everything accurately. This is perfectly normal. You will have to remind them sometimes. However, this is one technique you could use.

Draw a sun in the top left hand corner of their page or writing and tell them that some letters face the sun and some letters face away from it. It’s a gentle reminder, they will soon grow out of this habit. I use the technique in this video and various others you can use to teach your child to write!

Then they can refer to the letters everytime they are writing so that they do not forget. Another way is to get them a letter mat like this one:

11. Tips to improve Handwriting for older kids

It is Never too late! From the age of 10, I began reforming my print handwriting into cursive all on my own. Here are a few tips:

  • Focus on one thing. Rather than trying to correct every aspect of their handwriting.
  • Work with the child to decide where they want to improve.
  • Write down the list and work with the child to choose.
  • Give them a writing checklist!

12. Writing Progression

I hope this blog post helps your child on their learning journey if you want to be notified about more blogs like this. Place your email in the subscription box below and leave a comment if you want me to review any other homeschool resources.

How To Teach My Child is a place where a parent is just another title for a newly qualified teacher (NQT). Write to you soon fellow NQTs! Wait, you’re not an NQT? Well, join our school by subscribing to the ”How To Teach My Child” Youtube channel or follow us on Instagram. What does it mean to be an NQT? It means we are all together on this journey of improving our teaching skills. Join us as we make ”Teaching simple”.



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