2 big tips for teaching handwriting

2 BIG Tips for Teaching Handwriting

Hey Mommies! If you have a child who is interested in writing letters, or if it’s time to start name writing in preparation for school, here are 2 really BIG tips for teaching handwriting.

1. Teach your child to write letters top down

2. Teach your child how to correctly form letters

Please see the video below for more info and examples.

Part of my job as an OT is to help children with handwriting difficulties. The 2 biggest issues I see with handwriting are bottom up writing and letter “building”. Children build their letters instead of writing with correct letter formation.

Often, children have not actually been taught how to write, so they end up figuring it out on their own and doing the best they can. This results in poor writing skills, sloppiness, and often frustration by the child, parents, and teachers. Once a child gets in the habit of writing letters one way, it’s very difficult to break those habits and teach them the correct way.

So, PLEASE, use these tips for teaching handwriting with your child to prevent future frustrations and difficulties!

If your child is already writing and you have concerns with sloppiness or legibility, check and see if they are doing bottom up writing or letter building. If they are, working to change these patterns can help improve writing.

By: Emily Bettis, MOT/L
Best of WorstMummaknows

Emily Bettis, MOT/L is a pediatric occupational therapist and mother. She has been working with children birth-5 since 2008 and has been a mother since 2013. Emily is the founder and author HeyMommies.com

12 thoughts on “2 BIG Tips for Teaching Handwriting

  1. Thanks! It seems most people don’t think about that now and these are the two biggest issues I see when I’m working with kids to improve handwriting.

  2. Great video!! So professional and well done, Emily!

    I need some tips on how to teach correct pencil grasp. When do you recommend teaching my three year old the correct hold? I never had to teach this because my first graders mostly had it down pat by then end of Kindergarten. I know it’s a little off topic. Maybe you’re planning a post on this topic! It’d be a good one 🙂 xx

    1. Thanks so much!
      Teaching grasp is on the to do list for posts but you can definitely start working on it now. The sooner you teach the correct grasp, then less likely she be to form some incorrect grasping patterns. You can help by just positioning a writing utensil for her. Also using small things to write with helps – really short pencils or broken crayons. There’s not much to hold so they have to use their fingertips.

      1. It is also important to recognize the developmental progression of a pencil grip. A three year old’s grip is different from a 5 year old’s grip due to developmental progression of muscle coordination and strength. My website has pictures of the developmental progression is that would be helpful. Also the more one can work vertically as on an easel, the easier it is to help those hands mature for a better pencil grip.

  3. Wow really interesting lovely. My little girl is 2 and wondering when I can start with her – think a little way yet but this gives me some good ideas. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst and see you soon xx

    1. You’re welcome! Thanks for visiting! You can start with lines and circles with your 2 year old. Teaching her to imitate lines top down is a great start. You can also put your hand over hers and help her trace the letters of her name the “correct” way. The practice will help prepare her for doing it on her own and she will know how to do it properly. 🙂

    2. Please wait on teaching your two year old how to write letters until she is a bit older. Just the ability to “see” diagonals in letters such as X,M, A, etc. doesn’t come in from a developmental stand point until almost 4 1/2. That is why many young preschoolers or early kindergarteners make an A with two straight lines and a frown on top. There is plenty of time for a two year old and letters! Development + a skill=success and ease of learning

  4. Another thought: If after teaching top to bottom repeatedly, a child continues to make letters bottom to top, have the eyes checked for convergence difficulty. Often those children with a convergence difficulty make the letters bottom to top because it is easier!

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