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Can your pre-school aged child hold a pencil "properly" and write their own name?

(67 Posts)
joshhollowayspieceofass Mon 16-Mar-09 14:06:38

I'm just asking as DD, August birthday, apparently can't whereas the majority of her class it seems (recent PT conference info), can.

She is 3.5 and I've never really pushed things at home. If she asks, I've shown her how to hold a crayon or whatever properly, but she soon reverts to her own way.

I've also never really pushed helping her to write her name, but now I'm thinking maybe I should have done?

Or, is she actually pretty much the same as most 3.5 year olds?

Her teacher also showed us some drawings she'd done and I could see that in comparison to some of the other children there was definitely much less of a "likeness" to the items they were supposed to be depicting.

Should I be doing more at home in the way of writing practice? I've always been of the opinion one shouldn't force things, particularly at such a young age. I guess this is one instance where being so young in her year is making itself quite obvious.

ForeverOptimistic Mon 16-Mar-09 14:11:52

This kind of attitude from the teacher really annoys me. angry

When ds started nursery and 3.5, we were told exactly the same, I was really upset for ds as it was knocking his confidence and he went backwards for a while. Fast forward a year on and his pencil control and writing are fantastic, he is progressing rapidly in all areas at the moment.

Just continue with what you are doing, it will "click" when she is ready. I found ds seemed to get it once he turned 4.

McDreamy Mon 16-Mar-09 14:13:59

My ds is 4 in July and has no interest in writing his name and does not hold a pen "properly" yet. Don't force it, it will come in time smile

ninah Mon 16-Mar-09 14:14:02

I would agree with not forcing things since at this age the level of interest and accomplishment varies widely and you don't want to put her off. Lots of praise and encouragement as things develop, which they seem to quite rapidly all of a sudden

Lazycow Mon 16-Mar-09 14:15:32

Good grief Ds if 4.4 and still can't do that!

No one in either of the nurseries he has attended has ever said it is anything but normal.

doggiesayswoof Mon 16-Mar-09 14:16:00

My dd is 4.5 and cannot write her name yet - she starts school in August (I am in Scotland so there's no reception)

She will hold a pencil properly sometimes but not always.

I've never pushed her and the nursery staff don't either AFAIK.

I am not worried about it.

PinkTulips Mon 16-Mar-09 14:16:50

dd who's 4....yes and no
ds1 who's 2.7.... yes and no

bollocks to all that crap, she's 3, let her be a 3 year old and ignore daft teacher grin

MrsMattie Mon 16-Mar-09 14:18:16

Don't worry about it. Children do these things in their own time. DS (4) is a fantastic reader, but is very slow to learn to write. He can just about grip a pen and write his name, but it is barely legible. He doesn't have great fine motor skills yet and to be honest, although he is passionate about reading and loves books, he shows very little interest in writing at the moment. Let them follow their natural interests at this tender age, I say.

joshhollowayspieceofass Mon 16-Mar-09 14:20:25

Thank you oh wise MNetters. I really feel the same, but you know, it was my first ever PT conference and I was a bit like oh, so she's not completely brilliant and amazing and the best student you've ever had lol!

redskyatnight Thu 19-Mar-09 10:27:29

DS started Reception in September (May birthday so he's now 4.10).

Yesterday he brought home his first picture that was not scribble and his first "voluntary" piece of writing (his name).

I also got very freaked that he was the only child in nursery that could not write his own name. But he is now getting there. He's never liked sitting and writing/drawing so "forcing" the issue would have been counter productive. What has helped (both at nursery/school and home) is working on fine motor skills - colouring/cutting/Lego/threading beads rather than insisting on writing or drawing in a certain way.

honestly don't worry she will get there in the end.

CompareTheMeerkat Thu 19-Mar-09 10:32:32

DS is 5.4 and in reception. When he was 3.5 he had no interest in writing anything and his drawings were very basic. We have a picture he did when he was just 4 that was "all his own work" and I remember being really impressed with it (although looking at it now it is pretty simple).

He is one of the "cleverer" ones at school now.

DD is 3.5. She is much more advanced at drawing than DS was and is taking an interest in letters and writing that he didn't. However she holds her pencil in an unorthodox way and can only make a attempt at her name. So I would say your DD is fine smile.

snickersnack Thu 19-Mar-09 16:44:27

At that age, dd could hold a pen properly when she chose to. I think she was able to write her own name from sometime half way through her fourth year, but I'd say it's only fairly recently that she was able to do it competently and reliably (she's just 4). Her drawing took a massive leap forward a few months ago - went from big squiggles to things that actually do look quite a lot like the object she claims they represent.

Don't push her. Let her enjoy herself.

Trinityrhino Thu 19-Mar-09 16:47:47

gecko is 2.1 and can hold pencil properly, draws circles and colours in but doesn't know any letters
dd2 is 4 in april and holds pencil correctly but doesn't know any letters yet

Lulumama Thu 19-Mar-09 16:49:30

DD is 3.8 , she will be starting reception in september, she can hold a pencil properly , but cannot right hre name . she can draw some shapes, and recognise some letters and numbers, but cannot write anything yet. i am utterly unconcerned. smile reception will get her to grips with that, and she can draw and scribble at home for fun

purepurple Fri 20-Mar-09 09:25:43

it is not essential for children to be able to hold a pencil correctly when they start school.
Nor do they need to be able to write their name, count to a million or recite the alphabet

what IS essential is for them to be able to concentrate, to be able to listen and follow instructions and to be excited and motivated to learn.

Pre-school and nursery education is a journey that takes them to this point, ready to start school.

anchovies Fri 20-Mar-09 09:34:02

Ds started school not being able to write his name and was never interested. Nursery told me at the parents evening that I needed to get him writing his name but I didn't push it as didn't want to put him off. He then started school and could write his name after about 3 weeks and now (6 months in) his handwriting is the same as everyone elses.

Greatfun Thu 26-Mar-09 19:37:31

DD teacher said the same to me - DD is 3.5 and can hold a pencil and write 1 or 2 letters of her name but not the whole name. She wouldn't even do this if left to her own devices. I would need to sit with her and help her. I have just started getting her to write her name on pictures she makes at home, etc. If she doesn't want to then I write it for her and she watches. I don't think its a big deal. I guess the teacher just has to tick the box with 'can write own name'.

WinkyWinkola Thu 26-Mar-09 19:41:58

My DS is nearly four and he can hold a pencil but he can't write his name.

I wouldn't expect him to. There's plenty of time for him to learn all this stuff.

I'd much rather he enjoyed splashing about with paint and play doh than getting frustrated with writing his own name. He's got the rest of his life to get serious. Now it's time for fun.

annoyingdevil Thu 26-Mar-09 21:48:11

My DD is almost four and can write her name, but can't hold a pencil properly (how does that work!)

lockets Thu 26-Mar-09 22:03:08

Message withdrawn

Barmymummy Fri 27-Mar-09 14:17:15

My DS 3.10 can hold a pencil properly but only when I put it in his hand otherwise he holds it with a grip. As for writing his name......hmm not a hope lol!! Just about writes i, l & o and his name has none of those letters in it grin

it will come, honest,xx

mrz Sun 29-Mar-09 14:16:14

As a reception teacher can I just say being able write their own name isn't important for a child starting school and quite often it's a disadvantage if the "correct" letter formation hasn't been taught as we have to "unteach" before we can start learning to write (much harder for everyone).

purepurple Mon 30-Mar-09 07:50:06


at last, someone who speaks some sense!

I work in a day nursery and seem to fight a constant battle with parents over "teaching" their children to read and write

that's not my job grin
that's yours!

PortAndLemon Mon 30-Mar-09 08:07:21

DS is 4.2. Within the last month or so he's suddenly got the hang of holding a pen or pencil properly, and his drawing has improved MASSIVELY. Right up until a month ago I'd go into nursery and see all the other children's pictures of things and then DS's slightly random effort, and then almost literally overnight he started producing masses of detailed drawings of recognisable things and people. He has a go at writing his own name, but it's a bit variable and generally illegible.

Reallytired Sun 12-Apr-09 19:29:56

I think its ridicoulous expecting a three year old to be able to write letters. Its a bonus if they can, but hardly essential.

My son had no pen control whatsoever when he started in reception. However unlike some of his classmates he had good manners social skills, could dress himself and never had toilet accidents.

Also as far as writing names it depends what the name is. Elizabeth will have to work harder to learn how to spell her name than Ann.

Prehaps our children would achieve more if they conentrated on basic skills in nursery like taking turns, speaking skills, social skils and having fun. In Finland schools start at 7 years old, but their children over take British kids and do better at 15 years old.

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