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3 year old thinking he can't write

(22 Posts)
Chasdingle Sun 09-Mar-14 21:55:48

Well obviously he is 3 (3..9 to be exact) so he can't write but he now its a struggle (at home and nursery) to do any type of mark making as he says he can't write. As background he picked up recognising the letters and numbers really early and i think he just expects to be able to write them perfectly. About 9 months ago i remember him writing a 2 and it looks vaguely like a 2, it was a brilliant attempt and i said 'great' etc etc and he said 'its not a good 2' and starts crying. He is just so hard on himself that now he won't even try. Anyone else had one like this?

Sirzy Sun 09-Mar-14 21:57:49

I wouldn't do anything other than leave pens and paper around and maybe have some drawing in sand type activites. Certainly wouldn't worry about it he is still only young.

Pushing it is more likely to make him more resistant

rubyslippers Sun 09-Mar-14 21:57:57

i wouldn't expect a 3.9 year old to write

take the pressure off - he doesn't need to even try to do recognisable stuff at this age

encourage him to draw and colour and have fun with it

when he starts school (assuming you are in the UK) in September they will do lots of tracing etc and help things along

Chasdingle Sun 09-Mar-14 22:03:43

to clarify when i say write, i mean he now won't do any type of mark making like colouring, scribbling- anything- which is stuff he used to enjoy when younger.

UniS Sun 09-Mar-14 22:07:25

It doesn't have to be "colouring in" which also makes some children think they have failed when they don't produce a perfectly coloured picture.

Don't sweat it with pens and pencils to much either. Mark making can be with all sorts of things - ink stamps, wet paint brushes on the patio, chalk on the pavement, sticks in mud.

Before he started school my lad would write his 2 letter name and would do round n round scribble type marks which he called mazes or fires or maps depending on what he was playing His " I can write " book from preschool was basicly empty. Which was fine by me. He disliked colouring in all the way through preschool, year R and year 1, hes starting to get the idea now but gets bored of it quickly. He will however, write, and he draws bicycles better than most adults .

BertieBotts Sun 09-Mar-14 22:09:56

Can you try a different tack? It sounds like when you're saying it looks great, he's thinking "No it isn't. It looks nothing like that 2. You're just lying" (even though you're not lying because it is good for a 3 year old!) so instead you could say "It doesn't matter if it's not good. It's not supposed to be good, it's supposed to be fun."

And/or maybe suggest some things he does have the coordination for, like scribbling - you could say you want to do some scribbling and see if he joins in. Or something very simple like a basic dot to dot? The Octonauts and similar magazines often have puzzles like this and some basic tracing of numbers, letters and shapes.

If I've understood you correctly, it's not that he's being pushed/suggested to write, but that he himself is trying to copy the numbers etc but because he doesn't have the motor control is getting frustrated and it's making him feel bad about doing any kind of mark making.

Could you try saying "Don't worry DS, nobody can write when they're three. When you're 6 or 7 you'll be able to write." Mine can be a bit hard on himself sometimes and reassuring him that he will be able to do something at a sufficiently far away and fairly likely age seems to help him understand in his mind that it's something which will come in time.

cornflakegirl Sun 09-Mar-14 22:11:10

Can you do lots of cutting / play doh / bead threading to build his fine motor skills? And maybe computer / texting / magnetic letters if he wants to eg spell his name? My 4yo does like writing but also loves texting his dad with his name. I'm thinking alternate ways to do "writing" to build his confidence. Without any pressure to write, but I assume that you're doing that already.

BertieBotts Sun 09-Mar-14 22:12:35

DS doesn't like colouring either, he seems bored by it like he thinks it is pointless. He also tried to write numbers before he attempted to draw pictures and would proudly write backwards 4s everywhere! on the walls He will draw pictures now (he's 5) but they are always exactly the same - I think he's just more logical than imaginative.

BertieBotts Sun 09-Mar-14 22:14:22

And he will quite often say "I can't draw a <that animal>" even though none of his drawings are particularly recognisable. Sometimes when I help him along with "Well start with the body, now add the head, hmm, how many legs do they have? Anything else? What about the trunk/mane/tail/ears?" then he will add each part and that seems to give him confidence to try again with another animal or the same one another time.

neolara Sun 09-Mar-14 22:15:16

What about an aquamat? Your do can make marks with water and when the mat dries out, the marks disappear. It's lots of fun.

BrianTheMole Sun 09-Mar-14 22:19:08

Ahh bless him. If it helps, my ds was like that. I left pens and paper out but otherwise ignored it. He's now 4 and has suddenly got in to learning how to write his name, draw little pictures etc. i wouldn't stress yourself too much about it. He'll do it when he's ready.

Chasdingle Sun 09-Mar-14 22:19:26

Bertiebotts> Exactly right he's not being pushed but has now been put off all mark making. I'll maybe try the tactics you say if he ever trys again!! I think part of the problem is that other children his age say they are writing, when in reality they are just pretending writing and its mainly just a load of scribble and he thinks they all can write and he can't. His nursery teacher said she showed him the other childrens 'writing' to show him it was wasn't proper writing either and he said 'but that doesn't say anything'

Chasdingle Sun 09-Mar-14 22:22:28

we have a little aquamat board and also one of those magnetic drawings thingies.

Nursery (its the nursery attached to the school he will hopefully be going to) have got him his own little white board so he can rub things out if he's not happy with them before anyone sees.

tinkerbellvspredator Sun 09-Mar-14 22:30:13

DD said to me "I'm not clever at writing" first I tried to tell her she was really good at what she was doing but that resulted in a tantrum. What worked was saying Mummy and Daddy couldn't write when we were little, we had to go to school to learn.

RustyParker Sun 09-Mar-14 22:53:08

My DS was the same. One thing that I found really helped was instead of saying "that's great", especially if he doesn't see the end result as how he wanted it to be, is to say things like "I love the colour you used for... I can see you really worked hard on your concentration... I like way you drew the flower petals..." Just describing in a really enthusiatic way what you see rather than labelling it good or great iyswim? I got really positive results with my DS doing this and now he is a prolific artist and writer <eyes fridge weighed down with A4 paper> grin

But take the pressure off yourself and him, it will come. Let us know how he gets on.

Anniecarrieson Sun 09-Mar-14 23:04:04

I had one like this.
At 4.5 he started using letter formation apps "games" on the iPad, with no-one looking he thought
No pressure as no-one to see the result
When his confidence grew, he moved on to pencils quite happily, at his own initiation.

Mcnorton Mon 10-Mar-14 14:56:08

Mine was like this. I was convinced he would always hate drawing/colouring/type stuff. In Reception they had lots of techniques to encourage mark making, including a kind of dance thing I can't remember the name of, plus chalking on the playground, that kind of thing. He's now in Year One and completely the reverse - wants to draw/write/colour all the time! Based on a sample of just my son grin I'd say you needn't worry yet.

mamacheeks Mon 10-Mar-14 19:13:52

We had the same - and still have the perfectionist. Apparently writing upright can be easier. He got into using an easel a bit first. Googled 'kumon maze.' He did these with his finger first and now loves mazes. We also used. A calculator app on the iPad where you draw the numbers with your finger.

NellyTheElephant Tue 11-Mar-14 20:17:16

My middle one was like this. She refused so much as to pick up a pencil, draw or anything. She said she couldn't write and she couldn't draw and that her sister's pictures were good and hers weren't (DD1 is 2 yrs older so of course were a bit better at the time). We just left her to it and didn't make her do anything. I was overwhelmingly shocked to see the really beautiful little drawings she was later producing in her school books (aged 4 ish) whilst she still refused to pick up a pencil at home!! I had never seen so much as a stick man and there in her school books were adorable little depictions of people / animals / birds etc. As it happens she is a actually pretty good at drawing, has a real eye for it like my DH (and unlike me and DD1), now at 7 DD2 has a skill and flair with her drawing and perfectly neat joined up writing which my chaotic and messy DD1 aged 9 will never have. I think DD2 is just a perfectionist and wasn't prepared to show off her skills until she had mastered them! Try not to worry, he'll get over it.

Chasdingle Fri 14-Mar-14 21:27:45

well i can't quite believe whats happened. DS came home from nursery yesterday and told me he'd written his name!! Talked to the teacher today and apparently he'd just walked over to the table where some of the kids were trying to copy out there names and he'd sat down and wanted to join in. He's wrote his name again today in his book he brings home and its a great effort. Hopefully this will be the start of him getting his confidence back and enjoying some drawings/ colouring again

littlebluedog12 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:33:19

That's great!

I.was going to suggest the Hairy Letters app if you have an Ipad or tablet. My DDs love it, they can trace over letters and also do simple spelling games.

Chasdingle Fri 14-Mar-14 21:48:45

oh will have a look at that, have a tablet but all he seems to want to play is angry birds!!

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