Learning the proper pencil grip can be a little tricky for kids--and it's so important for handwriting! If they learn how to grip the pencil incorrectly and are allowed to continue without correction, it is a hard habit to break. Thankfully, there are methods to correcting pencil grip in kids. It will take some work and reminders, but it can be done. Here are a few of my favorite tricks for correcting proper pencil grip.
Fine Motor Play
Before kids even pick up a pencil they should be immersed in fine motor play. Babies start working on the fine motor skills needed for writing when they start picking up small snacks off their highchair tray. There are lots of basic play activities for developing fine motor skills that can be set up easily with things around the house. See my Developing Fine Motor Skills Series if you need ideas.
Use Smaller Writing Tools
Try giving your child a golf pencil, broken crayon/chalk, or crayon rocks for a twist on the traditional. The smaller size of these items naturally requires children to use the correct pencil grip because there is less surface area.
The Sock Method
It may look silly, but the sock trick is really easy. Just take an old sock and cut two holes. Have your child put the sock on their hand, putting their thumb and index finger through the holes. The rest of the hand can curl up together and take a nap inside.
The Pom Pom Method
Place a pom pom or another small item in between the last two fingers and your child's palm. This will force your child to keep those extra fingers under and out of the way while they hold their pencil.
The "OK" Method
Tell your child to make the OK sign with their fingers. Tell them to open the circle a little and place the pencil in between their fingers. Then, tell them to curl their other fingers under.
The Pinch & Flip Method
Tell your child to lay the pencil in front of them with the point of the pencil pointing away from them. Tell them to pick up their pencil with their thumb and index finger--this is the pinch part. Then, have them gently push the pencil so it flips around and rests properly. Easy!
After they've been shown the correct grip, gentle reminders are appropriate. It may require you to do some "hand-over-hand" instruction (where you physically help them get their pencil grip correct), but with time, they will start to get the hang of it. If your child is having a hard time at the beginning of holding a pencil and writing, I would suggest taking a step back and working on some fine motor skills activities to strengthen their finger muscles and playfully practice pencil holding techniques. Many fine motor skills activities naturally encourage the proper tripod grip. I've written about this often, so see my recommended Fine Motor Skills Resource list below.
Recommended Resources for Developing Fine Motor Skills
What are Fine Motor Skills and why develop them?
Developing Fine Motor Skills Series (10 posts with recommended activities & fine motor skills)
The Ultimate Guide to Fine Motor Skills
100 Household Items for Fine Motor Skills
10 Ways to Boost the Power of Playdough
Fizzy Fine Motor Skills Fun
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