When should a child be able to write their name (approximately)?

(43 Posts)
UnpreparedMum Sun 17-Jan-16 10:50:24

I noticed in the nursery Christmas cards my daughter received that one or two children signed their own name. My dd is nowhere near and I hadn't given it a second thought until this week when it's was suggested in her learning book that my dd was 'trying really hard but should practice at home "if she wants to"'.
She's 3, 4 at the end of July.
Should she be doing it by now?
Any tips on how I can help her?

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UnpreparedMum Sun 17-Jan-16 10:51:40

*it was not 'it's was' blush

OP’s posts: |
Haahooooo Sun 17-Jan-16 11:12:29

My DD who is 3.5 is nowhere near being able to write her name. It really doesn't matter I think!

Some of her friends can, although most of them have shorter simpler names. I've also noticed some parents draw the letters of their DC names with dots on birthday cards etc and let DC connect the dots.

At nursery they're doing phonics and have covered about 10-15 letters now I think, so quite understandable they're not writing names yet! So I wouldn't worry...

UnpreparedMum Sun 17-Jan-16 12:25:11

Thanks....it's silly to worry but after they mentioned it in her book I started to get concerned!

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Booboostwo Sun 17-Jan-16 13:15:01

My DD used to ask us to draw the dots for her last year when she was 3.5yo and now can do her name herself at 4.5yo but it's something they taught her at preschool. Other children in their class can write more words but I think there is quite a lot of variation in abilities at that age. I wouldn't worry about it.

glamorousgrandmother Sun 17-Jan-16 13:26:51

As a Reception teacher I'd always get a few every September who couldn't write their name at all, it wasn't a problem. In any case I'd rather start teaching a child to write their name from scratch than to try and get rid of bad habits that were already ingrained - forming letters really badly, writing in capitals, only able to write a nickname etc. If you are trying to teach your child at home please check up on how the school is teaching letter formation especially how the 'a' is formed i.e. not a clockwise circle with a stick. Bad habits make life more difficult later when your child is learning to join letters or to write longer pieces.

Sorry, a bit off topic but relevant.

BertieBotts Sun 17-Jan-16 13:32:06

I think DS was about 4, but when he started school here in Germany at 6, almost 7, they didn't expect him to be able to, his buddy from the next class up kept writing it for him until they started learning to form letters and he was "allowed" to do it for himself.

waitingforsomething Sun 17-Jan-16 21:14:50

Dd is 3.2 and can almost do her name ( untidily). She does, however have 3 out of the 5 letters the same so is at a distinct advantage....
I asked my DM who knows lots in this area and she said approx 4

secondhoneymoon Sun 17-Jan-16 21:17:13

I think I'd worry if they couldn't do it clearly by end of reception
.many can before then but not anything to worry about if they can't before then

MissRainbowBrite Sun 17-Jan-16 21:25:57

DD is 4 next month and has been legibly writing her name since she was just over 3 and a half but she does only have four letters in her name which makes things much easier.

thebestfurchinchilla Sun 17-Jan-16 21:43:15

Some can at nursery, others can by end of reception year, lots still struggle in year 1. Depends on how much practice they get at home and also how long their name is!!! Quite easy to learn 'Ella' or 'Ben' , 'Elizabeth' not so easy!

green18 Sun 17-Jan-16 21:48:35

I think my DDs could write their names before school, started around nursery age of 3ish . But, with my first I didn't give any thought to letter formation so she wasn't writing it correctly so not sure if you might be better off waiting until they are taught correctly or make sure you teach this in the correct way. my DDs just coped their names in the best way they could so an 'n' was just a curved line and not a downward line first iyswim.

green18 Sun 17-Jan-16 21:49:12


ThatsNotMyHouseItIsTooClean Sun 17-Jan-16 21:55:07

DC1 could; DC2 most definitely can't. He has been able to recognise his name for the past couple of months but can't draw a circle yet let alone form a letter shape.

Soooosie Sun 17-Jan-16 21:58:03

Between 3/4 is average I expect depending on how competitive the parents are. It's nothing to do with intelligence. More interest, fine motor skills, parental interest (writing for example)

slightlyglitterbrained Sun 17-Jan-16 21:59:21

Whoah. Wouldn't even have occurred to me to start teaching DS. He's 4 in August. I assumed fiddly stuff like writing was for much later in Reception. One of the teachers in a school we visited was explaining how they differentiated learning, and gave as an example that quite a few of her Reception class didn't have the fine motor control for pens yet, so she did various things with them to build that up.

I thought potty training and being able to dress himself was what we were aiming for. DS currently won't even tell strangers his name, let alone write it. Are we that far off or is there normally a pretty big spread?

StrumpersPlunkett Sun 17-Jan-16 22:05:10

I work in a reception class and at the beginning of the school year it was about 50/50 those who could write their names and those who couldn't however the greatest issue has been teaching them all to hold a pencil with a pinchy grip.
All the children can write their names and most much much more. I think there are 2 who write their names with reversed letters or letters not in the right order.

Hobbes8 Sun 17-Jan-16 22:06:38

My son is 4 and a half and can't do it yet. He's just starting to get interested in trying and is pretty good at the first letter now. I think he'll get there in the next couple of months. His fine motor skills aren't great generally - using a fork, dressing himself, etc were all on the late side. He also doesn't like doing things he can't do well - he harrumphs and gives up quite easily. I try not to sweat it as I think it would just stress him out. He'll get there eventually. His teacher doesn't seem worried - she's given us a list of what he "should" be able to do by the end of reception and I reckon it's all do-able.

Kids develop so quickly. Sometimes you'll look at your child and think they'll never be able to do x, y, z in six months, but then they pick it up really quickly.

green18 Sun 17-Jan-16 22:09:17

Developing strength in hands and arms is more important, so lots of colouring in, swinging on monkey bars etc grin

Fuckitfay Sun 17-Jan-16 22:09:35

My daughter couldn't write her full name at the start of yr 1 (she could write the first three letters but got confused with the rest of it - 7 letters in total). She was writing it by the October half term, so 5 and a half. She's one of the bright and ahead kids now in yr 4

UnpreparedMum Mon 18-Jan-16 05:49:59

Thanks for your replies, seems quite a spread, really interesting.
(Nb - The nursery teacher actually asked me to do practice with her at home, I'm not trying to force her, or teach her bad habits. I'm simply following their request).
I had assumed it was something they did at school until now!

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Fairylea Mon 18-Jan-16 06:24:26

Not sure if this will help anyone but my son is 4 in June and has learning difficulties and autism. We are trying to get him into special school and as part of that we have had several educational psychologists reports - she has said that generally by reception age they would expect a child to have some interest in letters and numbers, not necessarily in the sense of learning to read or writing something as such but just to be aware of them and interested in their purpose. They would also expect them to be attempting to hold a pen and wanting to look at books.

<none of which ds can do or is interested in doing !>

My oldest child, dd now aged 13, was writing her name by about 3.5 and drawing very detailed pictures at about the same age - but then she is at a completely different end of the ability scale to ds.

Snazapoo Mon 18-Jan-16 06:32:52

My DD is 4 and she can't write her name yet. She can hold a pen with a proper grip and shows an interest in letters and numbers.

However, I have deliberately chosen not to actively teach her how to write. I am not a teacher and I don't want to encourage bad habits. I help her when she asks but I won't be pushing her to learn.

TheSkiingGardener Mon 18-Jan-16 06:37:10

Before they get to reception if they want to. I wouldn't consider it an issue if they started school and couldn't but lots of kids want to and so practice it.

DS1 could write his name at about 3 because he wanted to and so kept trying so we helped him. Then he lost interest and forgot until he was about 4

DS2 wrote his name at Christmas. He's 2.8. We had no idea he knew any letters but I guess he's been watching his brother.

SpaghettiMeatballs Mon 18-Jan-16 06:42:10

I think the key factor is what your DD wants to do.

My DD could write her name at 3 but that is because she saw a boy at playgroup write his name and started asking me to show her how to write her name.

DD is 4 now and can write a few words quite nicely but it's always been her who has asked to learn.

Pre-school told me it is really helpful if children can recognise their own name in print when they start school so they can find their peg easily etc.

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