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Advice about Pen/Pencil Holding

(20 Posts)
Casmie Wed 12-Jan-05 12:53:58

Am hoping some of the educational mumsnetters can give me a sense of perspective about this one.

Ds1 is not a big fan of drawing. He's getting better now (I've made a big thing of making sure he always has pens, crayons, pencils and paper available whenever he wants to do stuff - plus printing out pictures for him to colour in, etc) - he's made leaps and bounds in colouring in (actually tries to fill in the shape rather than just squiggling a couple of times) and yesterday came home from nursery (I suspect helped, but still) with his first ever stick figure picture.

The thing is, the nursery are making this big thing about him not being able to hold a pen/pencil properly and I'm supposed to be doing lots of small hand-eye coordination things at home with him so he can get used to the pincer movement (picking up small bits of rice, threading, lots of playdoh etc) - they've mentioned it before when he wasn't keen on doing any artwork. But part of me just doesn't think it's that big a deal. He's 3 years 8 months.

While I'm not neglecting lots of different activities at the moment, life is a bit complicated at the moment with a baby brother (8 months) who's getting more interactive and therefore annoying. He's been a bit clingy and whiny recently (because carving out a bit of time just for us and not ds2 is getting harder and harder) and quite honestly I'd rather spend this time on stuff he really wants me to do - like playing with his cars etc. He doesn't really enjoy any of the activities the nursery seem to want him to do in order to get this pincer movement sorted.

Now I just wanted to ask you wise mumsnetters if he really is genuinely behind in this - is this a cause for concern that he can't hold a pencil properly at just over 3 and a half... if so I will focus on it. Otherwise, I just feel it's unnecessary worry & pressure for the both of us.

Casmie Wed 12-Jan-05 12:54:47

Um... it's ds1 getting clingy and whiny - sorry wasn't clear there.

scabbymeister Wed 12-Jan-05 12:57:08

Im no expert but it's still early days, pushing him will give him a real dislike of writing. You can actually buy triangular things that fix on a pencil to correct a childs grip - they use them at my daughters infants school. Perhaps someone else know where to buy them.

SeaShells Wed 12-Jan-05 12:58:01

Seems abit young to me, don't think mine could hold a pen/pencil properly till he was at school! It certainly shouldn't be a big deal anyway, it'll make him feel inadequate! I still don't hold my pen/pencil the CORRECT way, I used to get told off all the time at school and made to hold it properly and then I couldn't do my work, so I'd get told off for that! He'll get the hang of it in his own time IMO.

SoupDragon Wed 12-Jan-05 12:59:54

DS1 could do this by 3, DS2 can't and he's 4 in a couple of months. Well, he can do it but needs to be reminded. He goes to 2 different nurseries and neither have mentioned it to me.

gothicmama Wed 12-Jan-05 13:01:14

hand hugger pencils
These are what my mum used at schools to help children hold pencils properly I think if you access the website through mumsnet and enter mum1 you get a 10% discount

LIZS Wed 12-Jan-05 13:03:13

Sounds a bit premature to be worrying over pencil grip. I would have thought that is to work on in Reception. Other fine motor activities sound fine as long as he is interested and enjoying them. I would hope the nursery are encouraging him to do them too, if they are so concerned, as you really don't need that sort of pressure with a baby to entertain too.

fwiw ds has motor problems and has only just got the pencil grip consistent, at 6 1/2. He was given a special grip to help him. dd is 3 yrs 4 months and has a good grip some of the time but is left handed which doesn't help. She is starting to want to trace lines and patterns , do dot to dots etc but also likes colouring, making necklaces and crafts which ds did not at all.

Bagpuss30 Wed 12-Jan-05 13:06:14

Blimey, I could have written your post a few months ago. All my ds's nursery seem to do is pick pick pick which makes me so cross (especially as he has a reading age nearly double his actual age!). At pre-school age I think it's too early to push them especially if they aren't interested. Don't worry, he will do it in time. My ds is now 4.3 and can write his name, just, but won't do much else and I'm not worried. I bought some of the triangular shaped grips in anticipation (they are from ELC) but will not use until he is ready.

LIZS Wed 12-Jan-05 13:14:49

ds has the Stubbi grip featured here .

Casmie Wed 12-Jan-05 13:25:41

Thanks folks, was wondering if I was just being a bad non-supportive educationally mother making excuses for why I wasn't spending enough time with my child, or something

SeaShells your post struck a cord. Just remembered I always got told off for resting my pen/pencil on my fourth finger instead of my third! Perhaps that's why I'm a bit sensitive to it!

Bagpuss - thank you. I feel much the same. Ds1 has just been running around the living room finding ANYTHING with writing on and reading out all the letters. He gets really enthusiastic about the idea of reading. Will sit at the computer asking me how to spell Balamory characters so he can type them out and can type his own name on the keyboard (well, okay, the shortened version of his name!) I don't really want to dent his enthusiasm, and I don't seem to get reports of when he's done fantastically well at something - just this all the time.

They had to take home a christmas tree picture and decorate it at home last term. Dh pulled out all the stops to help ds1 with it - got glue and glitter out and all the pens he could find. Ds1 stuck big fluffy balls on it and glittery stars... we are still picking out glitter from the carpet! I can honestly say it's the BEST thing ds1 has EVER done. Took it into nursery, they hadn't said anything so when I picked him up I mentioned that ds1 had done especially well with his picture and she said "oh well... they ALL did very well with their pictures". GAH!

They're a very good nursery otherwise, and all the staff are fantastic - just the owner seems a bit inclined to the pick pick pick as you say.

Thank you gothicmama & LIZS - will look out for those.

LIZS Wed 12-Jan-05 13:29:11

Oh and I never did master a proper grip and have a dent in my 4th finger as a result.

Casmie Wed 12-Jan-05 13:44:11

Me too, funnily enough, although it's almost all healed up now (but then I hardly ever write and spend all my time touch-typing!)

SeaShells Wed 12-Jan-05 13:47:46

Yes me too, instead of the mark on my 4th finger I now have a mark on my wrist from leaning it on the desk when I use the mouse, really should get a mouse mat with one of those cushion rest things on it, anyone know where you can get them from BTW?

Casmie Wed 12-Jan-05 13:49:05

PC World do a selection of them SeaShells - I like the ones which are gel based so they conform to the shape of your wrist - very comfy.

Hausfrau Wed 12-Jan-05 14:12:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bozza Wed 12-Jan-05 21:12:20

I'm surprised that the nursery are making such a big deal about it just yet. Think you've got some good, balanced advice on here so would stick to what you think is the best use of your time together.

coppertop Wed 12-Jan-05 21:26:40

I would've thought it was far too early to be worrying about how he holds a pencil. My 2 boys are at completely the opposite ends of the spectrum on this one. Ds1 had problems using his hands (sensory problems) and didn't start holding a pencil properly until he was in Reception. Ds2 (23mths) is freakily good at holding a pencil but is being assesed by a Paed to see if he is autistic too.

misdee Wed 12-Jan-05 21:30:56

dd1 has always (yers lways) held pencil correctly. her nursery commented that it was very good as it wasnt something they had to correct as with other children. dd2 is also very good at holding pencils correctly tho does still grab crayons with whole hand and scribble, but then she is just 2.

I would probably look into the triangular grippers, as some kids get on very well with these.
I wouldnt do the things they are suggesting, but maybe get a box of art stuff including pens/pencils and have fun getting arty.

egypt Thu 13-Jan-05 08:44:53

casmie, i taught reception and i reckon there is no need to worry. many children cannot hold a pencil correctly and will be taught at school. in a setting where all the children are being taught he will pick it up because others do it! dont fret about it and if he happens to be colouring at home then perhaps take the opportunity to say, 'ooo, you're nearly holding your pencil properly....look, like this...' as well as saying what a great drawing he is doing!

much more important for him to enjoy the actual tasks he is involved in for the mo, especially as many boys don't find paper/pencil stuff as exciting as girls do. ime anyway

Casmie Thu 13-Jan-05 09:31:43

Thanks again, I do feel very reassured by these My instinct was he was doing fine for his age, but doubt had started to creep in.

Well we did jigsaws yesterday - hadn't done any for ages and he loved them (and it's something we can do at the table out of ds2's reach!) - not quite pincer movement but I'm sure some hand-eye coordination going on there! Just going to find some time to snuggle and read this afternoon, I think.

Egypt - good point about the positive reinforcement thing - I'm always commenting about what he's doing in the drawing in quite a lot of detail, hadn't occurred to me to comment on how he's holding the pen/pencil, doh! Will pay that special attention.

I think if reception then bring it up as an issue in September then I shall look at getting those grip things as they do look useful. In the meantime I shall just let him get on with it while simultaneously nodding and smiling at the nursery owner

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