Handwriting is an important life skill that parents should focus on. As children grow up, they need to learn how to use their hands in a variety of ways.
Weaving letters and words together is one way to do this! Handwriting skills can be fun for both kids and parents alike.
In this article, we will discuss fun ways you can improve your child's handwriting with strategies that will help them develop better habits as well as provide some fun activities.
Handwriting plays a crucial role in the education system despite the digital age.
The importance of hand-writing can be seen through the way that schools typically focus on teaching handwriting skills before anything else.
From forming letters to practicing writing words, a child's ability to write well is often used as an indicator for their intelligence level.
Handwriting also makes it easier for children and adults alike to read what has been written.
Why do students need to write, not type?
A large majority of assessments require students to compose their work in longhand rather than use a keyboard.
This has likely come about because of the growing issue with fake news and its contributing factors.
- Students may not take the time to proofread their work when typing because they want to finish quickly and move on to something else
- Writing by hand allows for a more natural reading of what has been written, making it easier for teachers or professors to determine if someone is pretending to be another person.
- This type of writing is also more time-consuming, which means that it may be less likely to do something fun or distracting while doing a homework assignment.
- Handwriting can become an art form in and of itself when students are encouraged to use their imagination with what they write rather than being given guidelines on how everything should look beforehand.
If the handwriting is poor, this will cause difficulty for the examiners and therefore potentially affect a student's grades. However, if your penmanship is good (whilst still recognisable), it may positively influence their grades, as it can be easier for examiners to read.
Causes Of Bad Handwriting
Laziness & Boredom
Oftentimes poor handwriting can be blamed on lazy students who feel there is no need to learn it and also boredom. This is a problem, as it can cause the child to be less engaged with their education.
Handwriting also affects people later on in life when they have to sign legal documents or fill out forms for work and these issues will need addressing sooner rather than later.
It can also be caused by stress and frustration. Kids, who are under stress or frustrated with the task of learning handwriting skills, will often have more trouble getting it right and this can lead to a lack of confidence in their abilities.
Some kids have a hard time writing because they are not using their fingers to guide them. The fingertip should be placed just below the line of letters and words that you want your child to write in order for them to follow it with ease. This will improve grip, speed, and accuracy.
Fixing this issue is as easy as telling your kid to use their fingers!
Wrong size of paper
Kids often write on lines that are too close together. This can lead to problems with spacing and legibility in a document, which is not fun for anyone involved.
Kids should be encouraged to draw the letters or words they want to produce at least three inches apart from one another.
Write in colours
Another fun way to help your children with their handwriting is to have them write in colors!
This can be done with regular dry erase markers or felt marker pens for a more artistic look and feel. Just make sure that you don't use a permanent marker as this could cause the paper to get ruined and it will be hard to erase.
Lack of guidance
Kids need proper guidance and support when it comes to handwriting.
It's not fun for anyone when a document is created with spacing and legibility in a document, which is not fun for anyone involved.
Kids should be encouraged to draw the letters or words they want to produce at least three inches apart from one another.
They can either be taught at school or at home.
If they're taught at school, then the teacher should be sure to cover proper letter formation and size. And this is just one reason why handwriting has been taken out of some schools' curriculums!
When it's done at home, parents need to make time for fun activities that help kids improve their skills.
This could include coloring fun pictures with fun colors, tracing letters on paper, or practicing writing their name.
Improving handwriting takes a lot of practice. And practice is fun!
The more kids write and trace letters, the easier it will get. They'll also start to see how they can be creative with writing too.
Kids need to invest time in learning the letters and how they connect.
Writing on books with single lines or no lines
Kids should be encouraged to practice writing on book pages with single lines. This will help them learn to control their pen and gain better handwriting skills.
The sheets used have a top and bottom line, so kids can see the letters they are writing when it is completed. They also have a dashed middle line, so kids can see the letter they are writing in relation to other letters.
Kids will also love practicing on sheets with dotted lines, as it gives them a fun way to learn how to control their pen and get creative!
Acquiring bad habits and techniques
Sometimes kids can develop bad habits and techniques for handwriting, which can make it difficult to correct them. The most important thing to do is practice!
The habits are normally developed with repeated use and it may take some time to break them. They can often carry these habits into adulthood, which can make it difficult to do some jobs.
We recommend practicing with fun handwriting worksheets that help break bad habits and techniques for writing numbers, letters, or words. These fun activities are a great way to keep your child interested in learning how to improve their handwriting!
What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of difficulties with handwriting. It can be the result of neurological or developmental disorders, brain injuries, psychiatric conditions, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
It’s important for parents to understand what dysgraphia means so they know how to help their kids.
Kids that have this condition find it hard to articulate letters and words, they may also have trouble holding a pencil or crayon.
Dysgraphia can make it difficult for children to complete written assignments in school so parents should provide extra assistance with reading, writing, and spelling tasks where needed.
What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is a developmental coordination disorder that can make it difficult for kids to perform day-to-day tasks.
Kids with dyspraxia have trouble regulating their movements, understanding how things work in three dimensions, and managing different tasks at the same time.
This can lead to challenges in school, sports activities, and social settings.
Dyspraxia is diagnosed by a neurologist or physical therapist, who will assess for delays in the development of motor skills such as sitting up, walking, crawling, running, jumping rope, riding a bicycle without training wheels.
Dysgraphia can make it difficult for children to complete written work in an accurate, legible manner
This can be really frustrating for the child and teachers alike.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability.
It occurs in about 15% of the population, and it can be inherited from one or both parents who have dyslexia themselves.
This makes it difficult to read for some children because they understand what they are reading but just cannot make out all of the words.
Dyslexia is usually the result of a brain injury or an accident that has occurred near early childhood.
This disorder can also be caused by poor nutrition, lack of oxygen at birth, and improper parenting.
Though dyslexia does not have any cure-all treatments, there are things you can do to make it easier for your child.
Some things that can be helpful include:
- finding fun ways to help them spell words and improve their handwriting skills, like playing games with word puzzles;
- letting them handle different textures while they are writing so it feels more natural for the hand;
- getting adaptive equipment or a computer program designed to help with reading and spelling.
Joint hypermobility syndrome
What is Joint hypermobility syndrome?
Joint hypermobility syndrome is a condition in which the connective tissue and joints may be too flexible. This can lead to easy injuries, pain or fatigue from small movements, and potential health problems such as arthritis.
The disorder falls into three types:
-Arthralgia - Joint Pain
The condition is more common in females, with a prevalence of about eight to nine people out of 100. It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose JHS because it shares many symptoms with other conditions like Ehlers–Danlos syndrome and Marfan's Syndrome. A detailed family history may be needed to help a doctor make the diagnosis.
This is what parents can do:
-Encourage more fun activities for kids and less screen time
-Teach hand exercises or stretches that will strengthen muscles in the fingers, hands, wrists, arms, and back
-Work on strengthening their child's fine motor skills by having their child do puzzles, play games, and doing fun activities
-Give your child a gentle massage to relieve tension in the muscles of the hand
-Playing with clay can help improve both gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
-Encourage children to use their hands for different tasks like tying shoelaces or buttoning clothes
-Learn fun new handwriting activities with your child such as using a pen and tracing
Tips To Improve Handwriting
Figure out the issues
Before you start taking steps to improve your child's handwriting, it is important to figure out what the underlying issues might be. If you notice any of these signs in their writing, this could indicate that there may be a problem:
-When they write lowercase letters like "i" and "l", they start with an upward slant on one side instead of both sides
-When they write lowercase letters like "i" and "l", they turn the line at a 90 degree angle instead of making it straight across
-The height difference between lines is extreme, with one set being taller than the other or there are gaps in between lines.
This can indicate that your child has not mastered the skill of holding a pencil correctly.
-When they write lowercase letters like "i" and "l", they lay their finger on top instead of underneath to keep it in place.
This could indicate that your child needs more practice at fine motor skills, which can be done by tracing lines with crayons or using fun coloring pages.
-They may also have a hard time with letter spacing, which is an indication of poor handwriting habits.
This can be addressed by practicing the correct technique and only writing on lined paper to give them more space for their letters."
Accessing these things will provide a basic foundation for your child to build on and will improve their handwriting.
Check the grip
Sometimes the grip your child uses may be the cause of their poor handwriting.
Check to make sure they are not using a pencil-like a marker, which can lead to smudging and sloppy letters.
Encourage your kids to hold it like an ice-cream cone instead with three fingers around the top instead of underneath to keep it in place.
This grip will also help them keep their hand steadier and more work together.
Oftentimes you'll find that your teen will hold the pen/pencil too tight, which can lead to cramping and again, sloppy letters.
To help your child relax the grip, place a tennis ball in their hand for five minutes at fun time intervals throughout the day.
This will make them more aware of what it feels like to have a loose grip and they should be able to feel when they need to loosen their grip.
Pay attention to their posture
By having the correct posture, they will feel more comfortable and their handwriting should improve.
The correct posture is to have the shoulders down, elbows close to the body, chin up straight in front of you (not looking at your paper), stomach pulled in tight and upper back arched slightly forward.
Allow them breaks when writing for a long time or editing/spelling
This will help them avoid hand cramps and stress.
If they are editing or spelling, it can be good to have a gentle touch on the pencil- this is not true when writing with a heavy grip.
Make sure their desk space is set up correctly
A wrong angle of the wrist while holding something for too long can cause a repetitive stress injury.
Lastly, have fun!
Encourage your child to experiment with different pens and font types- this will help them develop their own style.
Choose the correct writing tool
Selecting a suitable writing tool can help improve handwriting.
Some pens are designed to be used with a light touch and others require a firmer grip.
Pick the pen that best suits your child's needs!
Give them helpful feedback when they write something incorrectly or spell words wrong- this will allow them to understand what is going on!
You can purchase pens that have a rubber grip, which will help them learn correct posture.
Use handwriting worksheets and lined papers
Their handwriting can be improved significantly with the use of handwriting worksheets.
These can be fun for kids and will help them learn their letters, numbers, shapes and words.
Lined paper is a great idea because it will allow your child to see where they are in relation to the lines on the page!
This will help build their confidence and allow them to see where they are going wrong.
Check their knowledge of cursive rules
Sometimes teens don't know the cursive rules.
A fun way to review these is by making a fun game out of them!
If you give them some paper and ask them to write something in cursive, they can see where their mistakes are.
They will also be able to figure out what needs work because they'll know all about the rules as they make fun shapes and words.
Help your kids understand the basic rules of cursive writing be encouraging them to practice with fun games.
When they are practicing, make sure you keep an eye on what they are doing and point out their mistakes so that they can learn to correct them in the future.
Strengthen the hand muscles
Teens use the muscles in their hands every day for a variety of tasks, and many find it difficult to do so by the time they reach high school.
You can help your child strengthen these muscles by encouraging them to try new activities like playing guitar or even knitting!
Strengthening their muscles will increase stamina for writing and prevent hand pain.
Tools such as scissors and screwdrivers are fun to use and provide a physical challenge that will help your child improve their handwriting.
Also, building upper body strength will help your child maintain a proper posture when they are writing.
Pressuring your teen for results or scolding them can put undue stress on them and disrupt their progress. To avoid frustration, maintain a positive environment to help bolster learning.
Whenever your teen is feeling restless or tired, take a short break. These breaks will help them with more enthusiasm when they return for either reading practice or handwriting exercises.
As teens grow older, it's important they improve their handwriting. This will help them make a great first impression and boost their confidence while helping them succeed later in life.
We encourage you to incorporate these tips with your teenager's handwriting lessons to help them develop fun habits and enjoy the learning process.