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Out of interest, how many of your "just" 4 year olds can write?

(60 Posts)
sandyballs Tue 15-Feb-05 12:11:13

Dropped my DDs (who are in 4 in two weeks) off at the in-laws this morning and MIL started on her favourite topic - her friend's grand-daughter (smae age) who can write her name and several other things very clearly. As I was leaving I could hear her saying to my DDs, "now we have to spend the morning practising your writing so you can be as good as xxxx". It does pee me off that she puts this pressure on them, and compares them. I've told MIL that they will do it in their own time and to back off a bit but I know she thinks I'm not encouraging them enough or spending enough time practising with them. They starts school in September so they'll have enough of that then, surely they should be having fun now!

BTW they can write their names, although some letters are often upside down or it reads from right to left!

Gwenick Tue 15-Feb-05 12:12:38

Nope - DS1 is 4 (5 in September) can draw a T, and a few other basic letters at a push, but is nowhere near learning to write his name orite anything.

HunkerMunker Tue 15-Feb-05 12:13:09

Aargh! Why do people do this comparison with children? Your MIL sounds like a nightmare! They'll learn to do it in good time - of course they will.

motherinferior Tue 15-Feb-05 12:13:39

DD1 can do a strange wobbly scrawl which could be taken for an approximation of her name if you had no literacy whatsoever.

motherinferior Tue 15-Feb-05 12:14:11

I do tend to feel this is the school's job, FFS.

FineFigureFio Tue 15-Feb-05 12:14:25

agree with hunkermunker, it drives me mad

bundle Tue 15-Feb-05 12:15:32

dd1's name is easy to write and she could do this before she started school (jan 2005) but this really is the school's job. drawing etc is much more fun!

HunkerMunker Tue 15-Feb-05 12:16:12

I remember very clearly wanting to write before I started school and getting frustrated because I could only manage to do lots of 'different-shaped' circles. I could read, but not write properly before I started school. And I much prefer to type - did jury service a couple of years ago and took copious notes - was very hard to write all the time!!

motherinferior Tue 15-Feb-05 12:18:43

Friend of my mum's, who has two grandsons, insists they should be able to read and write before going to school. Makes me v cross.

sophie10 Tue 15-Feb-05 12:19:03

My DD (3) has just started writing her name but my DS when he went to school could only just about write his own name (it has 4 letters!) and the first letter was always back to front. Children all develop in their own time he does fine at school now. I think if they like writing pre school then encourage them but there is no need to practice with them they get enough of that when they get to school.

Sponge Tue 15-Feb-05 12:20:51

Bundle's is a good point. Dd could write her name quite early, certainly by the time she was 4, but it's an easy name - only 4 letters. Her friend Gabriella still can't!
Lots of kids in her class are struggling to get a few letters together while others are writing quite clearly.
Not only is it wrong to put pressure on them to learn before they're ready I think it's also pretty useless. The school will have all sorts of pencil control techniques which will help them learn to write. Just saying write your name won't work if the basic skills aren't there.

Sponge Tue 15-Feb-05 12:22:10

Dd - 5 in May - still writes lots of things backwards too.

batters Tue 15-Feb-05 12:23:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

roisin Tue 15-Feb-05 12:26:21

Oh yes, some names are just so easy. When ds2 started nursery his teacher said he was one of only 2 children (out of 52) who could write his own name; but I pointed out that he was mostly copying his big brother, and his name is only 4 letters, and most of them are particularly easy letters.

If your child has a name with 7 letters, and lots of the 'curvy' ones like s and a and g, it's going to be more of a challenge!

Although ds2 could write his name when he was 3, he didn't start writing much more or more neatly for at least 18 months.

Gwenick Tue 15-Feb-05 12:28:32

lol roisin - that could explain why DS1 can't write his name yet Tafara, and his poor brother will probably struggle too Tongai.............and I reckon they'll probably be one of the last of their peers to learn how to spell their surname

Miaou Tue 15-Feb-05 12:28:46

sandyballs, sounds like your MIL is more interested in competing with her friend in the "my grandkids can do x" stakes than actually teaching them a skill she perceives as useful . You are doing the right thing in asking her to back off, just keep doing it until she gets the message (hopefully). Or if she insists, why not get her to do drawing pictures/ making collages etc with them, then get them to write their name on the finished result? That way everyone will be happy ..... (maybe)

majorstress Tue 15-Feb-05 12:30:35

Mine could write her name before 4-she chose to sit down for some time each day in nursery and do her "work". Might have had something to do with her inability to walk ten steps without falling over and needing major consolation (low pain threshold)-writing was less dangerous!

Personally, I think it's best to count to ten when they do these things- oh and that can be helpful with kids as well as MILs hahaha! Let them find their own relationship with each other, within the bounds of safety-it won't hurt for someone to encourage them to try different activities, will it?. Even if it is annoying for you, just say she does it so well you are leaving it to her to do with them. She won't stop comparing them; all you can do is encourage/thank her when she does/says what you want. I do sympathise, but you are stressing yourself out over something that is probably not a problem for the kids.

Issymum Tue 15-Feb-05 12:30:42

Nope. DD1 (just about to turn 4) can't write her name (only 4 letters). But I've never really thought to ask her to do it or practise it with her. She's never really been interested in writing, although we do have a lower-case keyboard and she loves picking out letters on that and can 'write' quite a few words that way.

Mum2girls Tue 15-Feb-05 12:35:32

DD1 4.2, can write her name - ocassionally forgets a letter or writes a letter backwards and can also wite 'Mum' and 'Dad'.

I encourage her to write birthday cards for her friends - I'll write it out and she copies.

Piabeth Tue 15-Feb-05 12:41:37

DD will be 4 in 2 weeks and can write, but I posted recently regarding my concerns about her letter formation.
She regularly writes and illustrates "stories", but this is her idea of fun,it's just what she's into, in the same way other kids have an encyclopaedic knowledge of cars. She's found an old Japanese text book of DH's and is copying Kanji for hours as well at the moment, I'm absolutely certain that none of those would be recognised by anyone Japanese though!

Angeliz Tue 15-Feb-05 12:44:09

dd is 4 in a few weeks and has just learnt (at nursery) how to write her name.
She does it lovely, (though sometimes in mirror image and sometimes with a back to front e.)

She goes mad when i tell her though so i'm leaving it to nursery.
(Have to say, i was actually suprised as the School she's at doesn't put a huge emphasise on learning early)

I would hate it if someone were to tell her to write as good as someone else though

Blu Tue 15-Feb-05 12:49:22

DS, 3.5, can manage a circle, and an X for 'X marks the spot'.

He strongly resists pressure to 'get it right' and (more worryingly) says 'girls do writing'!

I HATE all this pressure to start writing, and wish we worked on the european system where kids don't actually start until much later.

And in any case, your MIL's behaviour is entirely outrageous, wheterh it was about writing, sandcastle-building or nose-blowing!

scotlou Tue 15-Feb-05 12:56:45

My ds could not write his name when he started P1 at 4.6. His nursery didn't force them to if they didn't want to. When we originally visited the school a few months before he started, the head advised that it was best to get him drawing first - as they need to learn pencil control first. She also advised to let them use felt tips rather than pencils as they don't have to press so hard.

sandyballs Tue 15-Feb-05 13:13:17

Very interesting - thanks to you all. What on earth did I used to do when I had a problem before Mumsnet??? Probably bored my childless colleagues senseless

MIL is very much like this about lots of things, deseperate for her grand-daughters to "keep up" with her old cronies grand-kids. Drives me nuts, but being MIL and not my Mum I sometimes have to bite my tongue. She compares the girls with each other as well - "Oh she's much more focussed than her sister" or "she's not as tidy as her sister".
They're different people FGS!

Wallace Tue 15-Feb-05 13:47:58

Dd who will be four in June can write a few letters which are her and her brothers initials and M for Mummy and D for Daddy, she taught herself these. She does a lot of pretend writing, that looks very much like real writing!
Out of her nursey class of 3 and 4 year olds, most of them can write the first letter of their name, but as far as I know none can write their whole name. So know I wouldn't expect a four year old to be able to write their name, but they should be able to recognise it by the time they go to school.

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