Increasing expectations in pre-school and kindergarten can mean children are learning to write much earlier than before. This has the potential to create multiple issues with your child’s handwriting. Gripping the pencil tightly, wrapping the thumb completely around the pencil, the hand becoming tired out easily, or letters appearing choppy without any smooth lines can all indicate your child has fine-motor coordination delay or weakness.
‘Fine motor’ refers to the development of small muscle movements of the hands which develop as your child’s whole body gains mobility, stability, cognitive, and emotional/social development. Unfortunately, the hands of 3 to 5 year old kids are often not developed enough to manage the accurate fine motor requirements of handwriting without specific warm-up and training. The in-hand manipulation skills required to make the small, smooth circles and straight lines are often more challenging than many kids are ready for at this stage. Nevertheless, schools have increased writing in the curriculum resulting in many kids who are struggling to keep pace.