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Ds (3.11) can only write his name, should I be worried?

(28 Posts)
Idbeloveandsweetness Wed 22-May-13 09:23:20

His pencil control isn't great. He has zero interest in drawing and writing beyond writing his own short name. I've just had a birthday card from my goddaughter who is only 7 months older and will be the same school year and she's written the whole thing beautifully! Ds's letters are still huge and hit and miss as to whether they're correctly formed. He is also left handed.

He knows the letters and can spell words out on the keypad using my iPad. He can also sound out short words to read. Think maths is ok, adds and subtracts no problem to 10 using his fingers.

But he just won't or can't write! Or draw! Or use scissors actually... In general fine motor is ok, he can do things like threading and buttons but seems to be uninterested in learning the above skills.

I'm only concerned because of him starting school. If he had another year at home I wouldn't worry.

Pagwatch Wed 22-May-13 09:25:31

Many schools don't want children to be writing and reading before they go to school. He is very small. Leave it alone. He's fine

BoysRule Wed 22-May-13 09:32:49

Yes, he's fine. Please don't worry. My DS is 3.9 and starts school in September. He has zero interest in anything to do with holding a pencil. I have tried to encourage him to do drawing, colouring, dot to dot, painting etc and he just isn't interested. He can just about do the first letter of his name and that is it.

I am a primary school teacher so in some ways feel that he should be doing more. However, I have taught enough boys to know that it is normal and they do eventually get there - but it has to be slowly encouraged rather than forced.

He is doing really well if he knows letters and can spell out words - my DS cannot do any of that.

Just keep encouraging the fine motor skills through other activities - e.g playdoh (we have scissors with ours and my DS likes to cut the playdoh). Do big painting - you can dip paintbrushes in water and paint the patio or fences in the garden. Peg boards, threading etc are all great too.

Really try not to compare your DS with the development of other children - particularly girls!

Idbeloveandsweetness Wed 22-May-13 09:33:38

He's picked up the reading bit himself. He kept asking what the letter sounds were and then from doing I spy was saying initial sounds. Now he can spell short words and sound them out to read.
I'm not really encouraging him to write, more to draw because that will improve his pencil control.

mummy2benji Wed 22-May-13 09:34:07

Ds1 is 4.5yo and can only write his name (which is only 3 letters long). He wrote "mummy" on my mother's day card but probably under instruction. He is also not very interested in colouring or drawing because he'd rather be running around! It's absolutely fine - they don't need to be writing before starting school. That is what school is for - to learn how to do these things! I don't think ds1 is backward in any way - he is bright in other ways and dh and I are both doctors. There is too much pressure on small children to be reading and writing early in my opinion.

Idbeloveandsweetness Wed 22-May-13 09:36:17

Thanks boysrule.

I know a lot of people say reception is just about playing but then I see threads on here where parents are told their dc is behind with reading / writing / maths and I was a primary teacher before having ds (although not reception) so I KNOW it isn't all about playing and that there are expected levels for when they enter year 1.

I suppose because ds is a summer born boy I want up give him as much chance as possible at not being behind during reception year.

MerryMarigold Wed 22-May-13 09:40:31

Blimey. My dd is 4.8 and can't write her name properly (struggles with 's'). My older ds could only write his name at the end of Reception (admittedly not ideal, and only started drawing anything in Reception even though we are quite arty (he did paint). He has some problems with fine motor skills but he is on target for average or just over for his Y2 SATs and has made so much progress in Y1 and Y2 that I expect him to be doing really well by Y6. The important thing is not to push too much. Keep his confidence up. Lots of playdough, cake decorating, peg type games, will help fine motor skills and there's plenty of advice on here if you do a search on fine motor skills.

noblegiraffe Wed 22-May-13 09:44:20

My DS is also starting school in September, is August born and can't even write his own name so you're ahead there. I'm not worried in the slightest. Being able to read and write when you start school is unusual rather than the norm.

MerryMarigold Wed 22-May-13 09:47:12

NONE of the kids in my twins' nursery can write beautifully! Mine are just learning so they are almost a year ahead of my ds1 currently.

Idbeloveandsweetness Wed 22-May-13 09:50:33

I think ds's main problem is that if he thinks he can't do something he won't even try! He's better making letters in sand or play dough, something none permanent doesn't seem to bother him so much and he will do that without any encouragement.

But actually putting pencil to paper? Nope.

MerryMarigold Wed 22-May-13 09:53:09

How about dot to dots? My ds2 really loves these although ds1 would not have done!

Exhaustipated Wed 22-May-13 09:55:50

To be honest it sounds like your expectations are too high. It saddens me that so much emphasis is sometimes put on formal learning at such an incredibly young age. He's three! I don't think the school would expect children to be already writing. As you can see from the other responses you have nothing to worry about smile

Idbeloveandsweetness Wed 22-May-13 10:01:41

It makes me sad too but unfortunately we start children in formal education so early in this country that they have to be prepared.

I would like ds out of formal education until at least 5 when I think he'd be ready but that's just not the way it works. It annoys me a lot!

I do worry that by the time ds is ready to sit down and write he will have been already put off.

mummy2benji Wed 22-May-13 10:08:39

If you're keen on encouraging him to learn but don't want to put pressure on, try playing games with letters and making a bit of learning fun. Ds1 can't write but he knows all the letters, largely because we have a box of magnet letters that we used to play with - "can you find an 'a'?" "What do you think 'tree' starts with?" I didn't do any more than that with ds1 and he picked it up and frequently says to me now things like "truck starts with a 't'!" You can do that out and about, and ask him how many things he can think of that start with a 'b'. Ds1 finds it all a game and enjoys it. Then even if he can't read and write when he starts school he'll find it very useful being able to recognise letters and sounds.

piprabbit Wed 22-May-13 10:10:52

I really don't think that children need to be prepared for school in the way you describe.
Fair enough, make sure they can take themselves to the toilet, feed themselves and put on their own shoes and coat (most of which can be worked on in the last couple of months before they start school). But the teachers won't be worried at all if your little one arrives without being able to write his name. He won't be the only one by a long shot and it's what they expect to be working with them to achieve.

TheSmallPrint Wed 22-May-13 10:11:10

I think you will find that he can do a lot more than most of the children when he does finally start school.

When my DS started school all the parents went to a pre-start meeting with the head to discuss what to expect and what they expected from our child, and it was this:

1. To be able to count five things (not count to five).
2. To recognise their name written down.
3. To be able to get dressed and undressed on their own including shoes and coats.
4. To be able to wipe their own bottoms.

Of course some children can do a lot more than this but this is all the school (and it's a very good school with great results) were expecting. They will teach your child what he needs to know and do. smile

TheSmallPrint Wed 22-May-13 10:11:38

X posts with piprabbit!

FossilMum Wed 22-May-13 10:14:10

At that age my son sounded a bit like yours, not that interested in writing, drawing or colouring, but into maths - though he did like getting his hands on scissors! The fine motor activity that engaged him most was tracing mazes. He started with then moved onto He also liked join the dots because of the numbers, and mucking about with playdough.

Now he's 5.8 and in reception and has amazed me with his progress with his writing since he started school - doing lovely joined-up short sentences now, and suddenly also doing very careful colouring and elaborate drawings. Suddenly he seemed to decide it was "the thing to do".

Pagwatch Wed 22-May-13 10:18:23

TBH though part of the problem is that although you clearly understand that writing at this stage is not a natural thing r many children at this age, and that in many other countries writing and reading are not taught at all until 6 or 7 , you are fretting about it.

I saw a mother I know who is otherwise completely rational sitting with her clearly pissed off DD saying 'write your name sweetheart, here write E like this, that's it' when her DD and mine were both about 3 1/2.
DD arrived at school aged 5 able to recognise her name and write some letters but she had a great vocabulary , could dress and undress for PE and go to the loo alone, eat with cutlery and have long conversations with a great vocabulary.
She had caught up with almost all the DC who could read and write per school in about a term and loved it because it was all new.

I understand the stress but honest to god we all feed it.

Pagwatch Wed 22-May-13 10:19:06

X-posted with everyone grin

Idbeloveandsweetness Wed 22-May-13 10:21:45

True pagwatch.

I'd quite like to delay entry to reception until he's 4 and a half and just keep encouraging him and doing things he's interested in at home with him. Not sure if that would be the right thing or not. Just 4 seems too little to go to school.

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Wed 22-May-13 10:24:25


ds2 is 4.3 and can't even draw a simple picture, much less write anything.

ds1 started school at 4 exactly the same and although his writing isn't great (hypermobility affects his grip) he's doing fantastically in every other area and school aren't overly pushed about the writing.

dd was 4.5 when she started school and although she could draw unlike the boys she couldn't write a single letter, she picked it up no bother and has lovely writing now.

Our school specifically ask us not to teach writing as it all needs to be retaught when they get to school and it just slows everything down.

Pagwatch Wed 22-May-13 10:24:40

God it does.
Ds1 was a baby - late June birthday and tiny.

<<cries at the memory>>

He is 19 and at uni now so they do survive smile

megandraper Wed 22-May-13 10:25:41

Your DS is more advanced than my DS2 - he is 3.10 and will start school in September. He can only write the first four letters of his name, and needs reminding about one of those. He won't hold the pen in anything other than a fist grip, and doesn't like drawing much. He can't read any words (can only recognise the four letters he knows from his name).

I'm not worried though. He's bright, so I think this will all come when he's ready. My DS1 is in reception at the moment (he is an autumn birthday so was at the other end of the scale in terms of school readiness) and I can see from the things he says how good the teacher is at scaling the activities according to the developmental stage of the child - they are all on different 'workbooks' and have different targets etc.

I'm not really doing anything to get him ready in this way (he is very much ready in other ways like dressing himself, toileting, eating with cutlery, articulateness etc.) because I think it will just happen in his own time.

lydiajones Wed 22-May-13 10:27:12

That's what reception is for.

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