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One of the most fundamental skills a child needs to learn when they start school is how to hold a pencil correctly. While it seems easy to us as adults, this can be an incredibly challenging skill to pick up as children start to learn to control a pencil when writing.
While a one-year-old can pick up a crayon and scribble with apparent ease, holding a pencil to write is another skill entirely. Most children lack the strength and fine motor control to grip a pencil properly until they reach 4 years of age. Once they start to use the finger grip, they need guidance on how to do it correctly.
Here are some tips to help you train your child to hold a pencil correctly:
  1. Give them a triangular pencil. The triangular design helps them naturally find the right tripod grip.
  2. Bring in some sock gloves to the equation. Make gloves from socks and put fives holes where their fingers should be if they are holding a pencil correctly. This will help to keep their fingers in the right position as they write.
  3. Mark the pencil with finger placeholder marks. Draw dots on the pencil where the fingers should be placed to guide them to place their fingers in the correct position on the pencil.
  4. Give them less to work with. Use a short pencil to start with that allows the room only for their thumb and forefinger.
  5. Use an elastic band. You can attach a rubber band to the pencil and have your child slip it through their wrist. The elastic will draw the pencil back into a natural position for holding.
If with practice your 5-year-old is still having difficulty, they may have a delay in the development of their fine motor skills. Seek help from a therapist to correct this as soon as you can.
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