Getting the most from our handwriting website
Our website most probably contains far more about handwriting than you were expecting. It can be quite daunting to start off with and so we have some suggestions as to your best approach to using it and supporting your child.
Handwriting is both a physical and mental task which have to work together for a child to handwrite well. Our website explains both and gives advice on how to build the physical strengths and teach the knowledge required.
So how to start …
What you need to check first
First you need to look at what your child would be expected to do at their age. It might be their handwriting is acceptable for their age and you have nothing to worry about, they might be slightly behind and just need a bit of help or they may be struggling and more assistance is required. Don’t worry we have suggestions for each scenario.
If you need to give extra support to your child at home then we would first recommend talking to their school to find out what letter font and letter version they are teaching to ensure your child doesn’t get confused.
Questions you should ask your child’s teacher:
- Are they teaching handwriting?
- Are they currently being taught pre-handwriting patterns, single letters or how to join?
- Which font is being taught in the class?
- Which letter version is being taught in the class?
- When your child moves class will the font and letter versions be the same?
- Can you have a copy of the school handwriting policy?
- pre-handwriting patterns,
- single letter formation, and
- joining the letters.
Information on the three stages of handwriting can be found here.
To help you understand the answers an explanation, and information, on the different: teaching routes used in school’s; letter fonts taught and letter versions available on our website can be found here.
Using our handwriting animations and worksheets
Once you know the font and letter version your child is being taught at school you can help support them by using the correct animations and worksheets on our website.
Our animations and worksheets all use picture and colour clues to help your child with letter size and positioning. Information on these and how to use them can be found here.
Understanding how your child’s pencil grip develops
Children need to be able to hold and control a pencil correctly to be able to handwrite efficiently. As their strength grows they should be able to progress from a very basic grip to holding a pencil in a tripod grip (the best grip for handwriting). If your child isn’t yet ready you should not force this process as the new grip will be uncomfortable and can lead to them being put off handwriting.
Your child should have a dominant handwriting hand by the time they are 5 years old.
Here you can find information on both the five stages of pencil grip development and hand dominance.
Developing the muscles needed for handwriting
Handwriting is a physical task that requires the big muscles (gross motor skills) and little muscles (fine motor skills) to be strong.
These muscle groups also need to be strong for everyday tasks such as using scissors, tying shoe laces, using a knife and fork etc and so it is a good idea to help your child develop and build them.
Often handwriting problems can be caused by poor gross and/or fine motor skills.
Here you can find information, advice, games and activity programs to help your child develop these important muscle strengths (Key Strengths).
Taking the tension out of handwriting
For many children handwriting can be a stressful task.
This means their muscles tense and tire more quickly than if they were relaxed. Our warm up exercises have been designed to release this tension in the muscle groups required for handwriting. They are great as starter activities to get your child ready for handwriting as well as mid-session relaxation.