How do I teach my child to hold a pencil well?

When children do not grasp the pencil well to write or draw, both parents and teachers stress because they think that this will make it difficult for them to carry out their schoolwork. The answer is: maybe yes, maybe not …

Maybe yes, in the event that the poor grip is accompanied by generalized muscle tension, poor body posture, joint pain, among other conditions. So you will have to pay special attention.

Maybe not, if you are only concentrating on the grip of the pencil or other school utensil, which is probably due to the specific stage of development that the child is in.

School performance

Classes have already started and homework has not been long in coming! And, probably, scolding or tense situations with the child who can not handle the pencil correctly have not been expected either.

These difficulties have to do with the development of fine motor skills and of course with the development and integral maturation of the child. Fine motor skills refer to the body’s synchronization of muscles, bones, and nerves to execute small, detailed, and precise movements.

Fortunately, there are tools and exercises to overcome these difficulties, so there is no need to worry, but rather “take care” in implementing the best strategy that helps and benefits the child.

I must tell you that a child who does not grip the pencil well does not mean that he cannot do his schoolwork correctly, many times they get a certain “comfort” in their particular way of holding the pencil, so I suggest not pressing them and helping them through activities that do not pose a burden.

It is known to parents that when a child finds it difficult to carry out a task, it is very likely that they will reject it to avoid frustration, so it is very important that, if we want to make progress, we must develop a prior strategy to fulfill our mission.

Have you tried many techniques and still have no progress? Do you want me to give you a hand? Write me…

Everything in its time

The human being from birth goes through a series of evolutionary stages that are mandatory for him to live, because this is how the body ensures its maturation. Although for most of us the efforts our body has made to get to where we are has been almost imperceptible: being able to walk, run, jump, swim, tie our shoe braids, comb our hair, brush our teeth and much more. The truth is that this path has been very arduous!

The correct control of our body allows us a fluid interrelation with the environment that surrounds us, and this control takes time and is not the same in all people. That is why both the family and the school must individually meet the child’s requirements.

In the particular case of the pencil grip, this process goes through several stages. At first the child tends to exert a lot of force and they do not have much control over the pressure they make when holding the pencil. This tension and lack of control will gradually diminish along with growth and psycho-motor development.

Phases in the grip of the pencil

1- Cylindrical grip: The child grasps the pencil with all his fingers forming a fist. This happens at a very early age when they begin to know these instruments. It is said to be a static grip because the little one moves his whole arm from the shoulder.

2- Pronated finger grip: The child makes a kind of clamp and holds the pencil with all fingers extended. This occurs around 2-3 years. It is still a static grip but the movement already involves the elbow and a slight flex.

3- Quadripod grip: Four fingers are involved in the grip. At this stage, at approximately 3 ½ to 4 years, the wrist is more involved and movement is less rigid.

4- Grip tripod: At this point the final position is beginning to be outlined. The index finger and thumb form the clamp, holding the pencil and making it rest on the middle finger. The movement begins to be dynamic, as the wrist and fingers are articulated. This occurs around 4 and a half years; From here on, what will be the final grip begins to be paid.

It must be said that not all of us achieve the perfect clamp for the optimal grip of the pencil; however, the important thing is that it is functional; that is to say, that the task of writing, drawing or drawing is carried out without inconvenience.

Paying the ground

As I have already mentioned, using the pencil correctly has to do with the development of fine motor skills, so we must carry out activities that stimulate the muscles involved and this encourages the synapse (connection between neurons).

The little ones will always prefer playful activities that promote fun and imagination; so we will have to put all our creativity to work to keep them focused.

Here are some ideas to stimulate fine motor skills:

Form balls with paper of different textures and colors.

– With a clothespin, you can invite him to “capture” those paper balls that he made previously and place them in a container.

Make plasticine sticks of different sizes.

– The little ones will find it very fun to do theatrical performances with their fingers. They can play to turn their fingers into characters or animals and move them freely.

To tear paper. To do this, you will have to use your index finger and thumb to hold and peel off strips of paper.

Girls can make bracelets. With the help and supervision of an adult, they can show you how to thread a string through the beads.

– Moms can teach them to braid the dolls’ hair.

– Also with adult supervision, they can sort legume grains by colors, shapes and sizes. For example, in a large container mix all the beans and ask them to place them in other smaller containers, the white ones, the black ones, the green ones …

– With finger paints of different shades you can impregnate the tip of your index finger and make free drawings on a large paper.

– In this sense, you can also fill a large container with salt or beach sand, there the child can draw simple letters or figures. It’s a lot of fun and sensory enjoyment.

– In a disposable plastic container with a lid, open some elongated holes like those of a piggy bank, so that it can insert buttons of different sizes and colors.

Well these are just a few ideas! Surely when reading these you have already come up with other fun activities in this same sense. The best thing is that you will enjoy it.

Correcting the pencil grip

However, there are specific activities and exercises that are specifically aimed at correcting the problem of pencil grip.

The most recommended is to ask her to hold a button or flat object with her ring and little fingers, while gripping the pencil with the other three fingers. With this it is forced to make the tripod clamp described above.

Another recommendation is to show her how to grip correctly, ask her to view the grip from various angles, and then allow her to reproduce what is shown.

In combination with these activities you can make use of various ergonomic utensils specially designed to promote the correct use of the pencil. On the market there are endless models of adapters for the pencil and some homemade can also be made.

Here are some samples of writing adapters available at www.amazon.com

I mention only some of them:

– Roll a piece of foam or rubber foam around the pencil and glue it with silicone.

– Punch an anime, ping pong or soft plastic ball and insert the pencil through the hole to hold it there.

– You can also take a clothespin and place it on the pencil that holds it with the ring finger and little finger and grip the pencil with the other three fingers, it is the same principle of using the button described above.

I hope I have given you insights on how to get your child to hold the pencil correctly. But if you still have doubts or you have already tried all these suggestions and are not getting any progress, you can contact me and we will set up an online consultation.

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