Education Occupational Therapy

Handwriting Readiness

When should my child start writing?

Many children begin to draw and scribble on paper shortly after they are able to grasp a colour. By the time they are about four years, most children will have established hand dominance and show more interest in intentional writing patterns. Children develop writing skills at different rates, and some might take longer than others to learn these skills. A child’s readiness for writing is highly underrated and nowadays we are struggling to find the right time to introduce such tasks. Children are finding themselves having to meet faster-paced classroom standards or adult expectations even though they might not be developmentally ready for it. This is an important notion to keep in mind, as not all children exhibit handwriting readiness at the same rate.

It is a known fact that some early years classrooms practice writing letters using a writing tool as part of the Kindergarten curriculum. As an educator it is important to keep in mind that by doing so we are lacking behind on basic play that will help a child to mature further the foundational skills required for writing. 

We need to consider the pre requisite skills required for a child to be ready to write. Among some of the skills include; fine motor skill development, eye hand coordination, ability to hold a writing tool, capacity to form basic strokes independently and letter perception. These are skills which are to be developed and acquired in the first years of a child’s life. While a child is doing hand prints and exploring various utensils to make a huge mess out of his painting, he is maturing his fine motor skills, tactile processing, bilateral skills and eye hand coordination abilities. This also happens while they are playing with blocks, play dough, running after their peers in recess, making moulds with magic sand or scribbling on a piece of paper. The early years at school should be used as a platform to help the children develop such skills to be prepared for the production of efficient letters and words later on in the scholastic year.

Here are some Pre-writing ideas to practice with your 3 and 4 year old: