Dr. V.S. Gayathri
Choosing The Right Tools For Your Child's Handwriting Journey!
For better handwriting, legibility, and speed it is important to choose the right tools as children progress through the phases of writing. Initially, it starts with colouring pencils, crayons, etc., and gradually they move towards proper writing pencils and pens.
It is important to choose the right pencil or pen from an early age to aid them to start in the right way. With the wrong tools, kids can start developing the wrong/bad way of handwriting. It will make things worse rather than helping them in an effective way.
Different pencils will produce different types of writing, and good handwriting is also affected by parameters like grip, posture, pressure, etc. That is why it is important to choose the right tools according to the preference of the individual.
Let us understand a few simple factors that need to be considered for choosing the right pencil.
Opt for soft-tipped pencils- Kids who start with hard-tipped pencils tend to give a lot of pressure, and this habit continues even when they start using other pencils. This can lead to pain and fatigue of the fingers. Soft-tip pencils glide along the page with ease which improves control rather than holding the pencil to make it work.
Use thick pencils for little hands – Little kids face difficulty in manipulating thin pencils. Thick ones help them to find a better grip. Children in grade 1 or above can move to the “normal” pencils – prior to that thicker pencils are recommended.
Short pencils can help– If your child tends to wrap their thumb around onto their middle finger or onto the pencil itself then consider the shorter pencils (the ones that are the size of their finger or smaller). This will encourage the thumb to come back down onto the tip of the pencil as there isn’t enough control of the pencil.
Triangular pencils can help encourage a tripod grasp – Triangular pencils need three fingers to hold the pencil as there are 3 sides. This is often helpful for smaller children.
Bright/dark pencils – It is advisable to use darker pencils in the beginning because children tend to see what they are writing or drawing. Gradually, it can go a shade brighter/lighter, but never too light for them to see.
Weighted pencils can help to improve control –pencils with slight weight can help activate the muscles in the hand and can help improve your child’s control. They can be used once in a while, not always else they might find it difficult to write with normal pencils.
The transition from a pencil to a pen is also a significant step in writing. Now, let us understand a few simple factors that need to be considered for choosing the right pencil.
Choosing and using the right pen can help to avoid smudging; make handwriting look smarter and prevent hand strain when writing for extended periods of time. Because pens come in different shapes, sizes, and weights it is important for your child to try out a range of pen styles to help them find the best fit for them. One pen style does not suit everyone because everyone’s hand size and finger length are different.
Some things to consider when choosing a pen:
· Does it feel too short or too long?
· Does it feel too thin or too thick?
· Does it feel too heavy or too light?
· Some children like a smooth round pen shape.
· Some prefer a textured round pen shape.
· While others may prefer a hexagon-shaped pen.
It is also important to consider the point of the pen. A fine pen point produces thin lines and some children will find this can help to make writing neater. A medium and bold point gives thicker lines which many may find smoother to write with, though the letter size may be slightly larger because of it. It is important that children try out a range of pen point sizes to help them find the best fit for them.
Finally, one must also consider the type of ink like oil-based ink or water-based ink. Oil-based one is quick drying and so does not smudge easily. It flows smoothly depending on the point style of the pen. On the other hand, water-based ink does not dry as quickly and can smudge, but it flows very smoothly.
It is always better to try and test different tools so that it is easy to find the best fit for your child that can aid them in improving their handwriting in the long run.