Next time your child picks up a crayon, pencil, or marker, check to see how they hold it. Do they look comfortable as they are writing? Are they using a proper grip to hold the pencil? Are you wondering what the proper pencil grip actually looks like? Here's a great picture of the proper way to hold a pencil. Notice the way the fingers are positioned and the angle of the pencil.
You and I don't even think twice about the way we hold our pencils or pens. We just pick them up and start writing. A five year old is just starting on this adventure called writing. We want to help them develop good habits from the start. I have to admit, when I see a student who looks like they are struggling with their pencil grip, I really have to watch them to figure out what they are doing that causes them challenges. I'm not an occupational therapist. To my eye, I'm just noticing that they are struggling. An occupational therapist could tell exactly which finger leads the pencil, where the error is in the position of their fingers, and know exactly how to help the child correct their grip.
Over the years, I've started to figure out more and more ways to help students with their small motor skills. Playdoh, clay, Leggos, and finger paint are all really fun ways to help build the muscles in our hands. Kids love it and they don't even notice that it's work.
One of my favorite discoveries is the Crayola crayon for beginners.
These crayons are triangular shaped, which encourages the proper form for holding a pencil. Brilliant!
Take a look at the way your child hold a crayon, marker, or pencil. If it looks uncomfortable, it probably is uncomfortable. We may not be occupational therapists, but we know when our kids are struggling with something. Give these crayons a try! Oh, and don't forget the playdoh and fingerpaint! Have fun!!!