The first five years of a child's life is full of milestones. From first steps to learning to ride a bike, caregivers cherish these milestones as they watch little ones grow.
In education, there are many important milestones, and the timeline for each is unique to every child. Preschoolers' minds are like little sponges, soaking up everything around them. Teachers and parents work with kids on important skills, including fine motor skills that can be tough for little ones to master.
Handwriting is one such skill, and the preschool years are the perfect time to introduce fundamental knowledge about letter formation. Every child will learn at their own pace, so it's important to be patient and encouraging. In due time, any child will be able to write their own name, and that's an amazing milestone you both can feel proud of!
Consider these smart tips for teaching handwriting to preschoolers:
The right environment: The first step to successful handwriting for preschoolers is the setting in which they are learning. Have the child seated in a chair, both feet on the ground and the table just above elbow height.
Letter recognition: Fun songs and games will help preschoolers learn their letters. Magnets and blocks are great, but play educational games, too. For example, draw a letter and leave one part missing. Have a child guess the letter and fill in the blank.
Small-muscle movements: Encourage activities that help children develop fine motor skills. Activities like coloring, playing with chalk and cutting paper will all help strengthen the muscles needed for handwriting.
Parent-teacher communication: It takes a village! Regular communication can help both teachers and parents do their jobs well. Talk about your child's handwriting strengths and weaknesses so everyone is on the same page.
The grip: Preschoolers may need to practice pinching the pencil between the thumb and index finger, resting the pencil on the side of the middle finger. To encourage this, try using smaller writing tools, such as a broke crayon or golf pencil.
The paper: Some little ones have difficulty holding the paper with one hand while holding the pencil and writing with the other. In these instances, steady the paper by placing it on a clipboard or simply taping the corners to the table.
Celebrate the outcome: At preschool age, focus on the outcome rather than the process of letter formation. Kids will learn handwriting best practices in kindergarten. At this age, if they can recognize and form letters correctly, it's worthy of celebration.
Share: Kids love to give drawings to loved ones, so now have them write their name on their masterpieces. Another idea: Have kids sign their name on their preschool pictures and hand out to family and friends!
With practice, support and lots of fun, preschoolers will learn the basics of handwriting so they are ready to succeed on their next big adventure: kindergarten!
Check out our smart tips to help you teach the important skill of handwriting to your little preschooler.