Children and writing are very closely related. As caring parents, you must get children initiated into writing. Writing is a very important communication skill next to reading and talking. In India, introducing children to writing is usually held as a ceremony when they are about three years old. This ceremony is usually held on Vijayadashami day. This lays the foundation for writing skills, even before the actual writing begins.
As soon as your toddler shows interest in writing, you can give her some paper and crayons so that she can scribble on the paper and at the same time develop her motor skills. This usually takes place when she is a little over a year old. Do not give her pens or pencils at this age as she may poke herself with their sharp tips. It is important to note that your toddler will most likely be a messy writer in the initial days. As she explores her writing skills, it is very likely that she will end up colouring her hand as well! You must remember to encourage her learning at every stage and also help her with the writing.
How to Help Children Prepare for Writing?
Some other ways to help your child develop her fine motor skills needed for writing and get her physically ready for this skill are:
Allow her to model with play dough.
Encourage her to paint with brushes.
Guide her to connect various dots to form a picture.
Get her stencils to trace the image on the stencil.
Give her a few coloured chalks and a slate or blackboard.
Provide her with a metal board and some colourful magnetic letters.
Give her a white board and some colourful non-toxic markers.
Encourage her to learn to use child-safe scissors.
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At the age of three, she can usually hold a pencil in writing position and draw her first straight lines. She may even be able to do a bit of colouring and painting. Your toddler usually develops the skill of writing her first alphabets (both capital and small letters) when she is around four years old. Between the ages of six and seven, she usually learns the art of cursive writing.
Ways to Encourage Writing in Children
As a parent, it is your duty to help your child understand the importance of writing. You can try the following tips to create a mental awareness on the need for writing in your toddler:
If your toddler shows interest in drawing pictures, write her name on the pictures and ask her whose name it is.
If you are writing out greeting cards for your friends, ask your toddler to write her name by herself or hold her hand to help her out. Toddlers usually take pride in writing their own name.
Draw some lines and circles on a paper and ask her to do the same.
Sit with her and ask her to draw a picture or series of pictures. After she has finished, ask her to tell a story based on the pictures. As she tells the story, write it down near the pictures and show it to her.
Read and talk to your toddler as much as possible. These two skills greatly impact her writing. The more vocabulary she hears, the more her writing improves.
It is important to bear in mind to allow her to learn at her own pace. You must never criticize her for being a slow learner.
Do not scold your toddler if you find her scribbling away on your walls or the floor inspite of giving her paper.
Reward, applaud or praise your toddler as a sign of encouragement for every attempt made by her. After she makes an attempt, you can write out the correct letter and spell it to her.
Help her to write when she is busy with painting. You can guide her hand to use the paint brush and paint letters. After you do this a few times, you can allow her to try on her own. Alternatively, you can dip her fingers in the paint and help to form numbers and letters with her painted fingers.
If she enjoys playing with the sand, try creating a sandbox in your garden. Sit down with her and smooth out an area for writing. Guide her hand on the sand to write her name, alphabets and numbers. You can also draw various shapes in the sand. Once you are done, you can smooth out the surface and try again.