Tips for getting reception child to write...(38 Posts)
Just that really.
Summer born son in reception is refusing to engage with the whole process. It's not helped by the school teaching cursive writing which is quite difficult to pick up and the fact that his class is dominated by older girls who will happily colour and write all day.
Feel the need to start addressing this now as he's going to struggle and fall further behind his peers as time goes on. No problems with reading or maths (other than not writing numbers) so the problem is just his sheer stubbornness and him deciding to apply himself to something he finds difficult.
The iPad might be a draw (excuse the pun) if anyone can recommend any decent apps, Would need to be cursive though,
Buy a nice diary and encourage him to write(& draw) on weekends?
General post cards to friends & relatives?
Have you spoken to the school for suggestions? Are they concerned? I think that sometimes pushing too much is counter productiv, especially if they are not yet worried.
At this stage though if he is absolutely refusing to write, I'd forget about worrying about the cursive. Focus on doing anything that will improve fine motor skills (building the muscles needed for writing) - like threading, playdough, hama beads, tweezer games etc. Any kind of drawing, colouring, tracing, dot-to-dots or mark making is also helpful - just get something put on paper regularly.
He will be far from the only child not wanting to write or struggling with writing though, which is why you are best to discuss with the teacher and go from there. Try not to compare with completely different children in his class.
It's all more than just putting pen to paper. Try also building his arm muscles so he doesn't feel tired writing and improving his hand/ eye coordination.
Chalk on the pavement
Finger writing in wet sand
Picking small toys up with tweezers
Posting coins through slots
Painting with water on the fence
I wouldn't worry in reception, seriously. It's a fine motor skill thing that particularly in boys can be a bit later to develop and it can't be forced.. Do all the things listed above and cutting things out is another good one. See if the school does write dance too where they practice the shapes but bigger. It will all come together at some point.
Thanks. We are a million miles away from the diary stage as just getting him to pick up a pencil is a major challenge, never mind getting him to draw.
I've been trying not to force it and let things evolve at their own pace but something's got to give at some stage. Threading, beeds and tweezers are good suggestions so thanks for these.
Parents evening coming up and plan to raise with his teacher to see what her thoughts are but she's not historically been that forthcoming with ideas and action.
Are the muscles in his hands ready for writing? Lots of fine motor activities, threading, pinching (tweezers), stretching, twisting etc. Google 'Dough Disco', it's great for strengthening the muscles.
Remember, mark making doesn't have to just be on paper. You can put sand, salt, glitter in a tray and trace letters, shapes, numbers, patterns etc with fingers, paint brushes, the end of pens etc. Tracing in shaving foam, slime is also fun. Large decorating brushes and rollers dipped in water and tracing on surfaces outside. Rolls of plain wallpaper with chunky felt tips to draw maps with labels. Treasure maps, sticky labels, signs. What is your son interested in?
The Jolly Phonics app is good. Pintrest has lots of useful fine motor activities.
We had a similar worry a year ago with DD - wouldn't write or draw or even hold a pencil.it didn't help that she's left handed. A year later and she's been writing Australia for fun! I'm not sure what happened but it just slowly developed.
Does it matter this early on?
I don't really understand teaching cursive so small as it's so different to the letters they're trying to learn to read!!
If you are looking for an app my youngest child has learning delays and handwriting issues uses an app with a stylus (apparently it's easier than using your finger) called Writing Wizard.
Also dot to dot books and mazes are great way to get them holding a pencil.
Fat short pencils are easier to handle and you can find some really good grips that help with finger placement. My son also uses a slant board, so it's at an easier angle.
Chalk boards or painting on a easel are also great way to get them using those core muscles.
My NT child was a late bloomer in terms of writing and I wish I knew about some of these tips before because my youngest has really blossomed with the help of this aids.
Choosing his own pens?? My DS prefers using 'grown up' pens and loved the gold / silver pens we got for Xmas stuff. Or maybe a whiteboard sheet and dry wipe marker for novelty factor?
The other thing my DS loved was a very very basic practice writing work book which slowly starts by tracing then hats more freehand. At the end of each section there was a colouring page and he got a star. You can get character ones e.g. Spider-Man....
Or as others have suggested - any kind of pen work - bring up different colouring sheets on the computer of his favourite characters and get him to choose one to colour in. If is going well, you can try to sneak in some writing to write the character's name on the finished pictures
A colouring book (favourite character) and grown-up felt pens just to get used to pen holding.
'Magic' drawing toy.
Finding letters on a newspaper with a bingo pen.
Take away the pressure to write and just enjoy.
Older son was late to the party writing too but something clicked and now he'll draw and write for fun. His brother is an entirely different character and there is both can't and won't going on in equal measure. OH's less than helpful response is to draw battle lines and force the issue with worksheets. We need to go back to the gross and fine motor exercises you've all mentioned so as to de-couple the issues and develop by stealth I reckon.
DGS 9 was the same. Eventually and reluctantly he realised he really was going to have to learn to write. So he did. I'm a retired teacher and he had every encouragement and help but you can't make a child write if he doesn't want to. Unless it's in school and they notice that everyone else is writing!
Following. We're having similar issues with DS1.
That was DS in reception too. Stick with the cursive, it's really worth it. If learning handwriting once is a pain, learning it twice is more than twice the pain because you're changing established habits. Cursive letter formation also has some advantages in the learning as all letters start in the same place with the same stroke, no having to remember where to start. And no confusing b and d, their formation is completely different.
I'm assuming you mean a cursive letter formation with lead-ins and lead-outs at this stage (what some people call pre-cursive) not straight into joining?
How about practicing letter shapes with a finger in the air for example. Or writing secretly on each other's backs for a guessing game. Jennie gives lots of other ideas above. If they know the letter formations and phonics by the time fine motor catches up, they'll be ready to run with it.
as others have said, really don't worry. My son (August baby) started reception refusing to even hold a pencil. Something clicked in the summer term with him and he just flew. Reception is all about playing, everything will come together in time.
This was DS last year in reception. How are his gross motor skills? Does he find it easy to climb monkey bars at the park? Ride a bike? Swim? Does he fidget when sitting all the time or is he ok? DS shows some signs of Developmental Coordination Disorder with hypermobile hands. This means his core is having to work extra hard just to hold his body upright all the time hence constant fidgeting. Gross motor skills were behind so fine motor skills didn't get a look in. Coupled with hypermobile hands (he can bend his thumbs right back behind his wrist) means that actually holding a pencil for any period of time is uncomfortable and he needs to practice fine motor stuff all the time just to produce legible writing. He's getting there but it's hard work for him.
You could see if the school do something like Fizzy Hands This worked well for DS.
Gross motor not fully developed but not sure that there are any underlying issues tbh. School do dough gym so are working on it. From what's been said, we need to do more of this sort of stuff at home and leave the pencil and paper alone for a while.
Drawing letters and numbers in glitter, sand, soil. Making them with sticks and objects. Painting them. Practice finer motor skills with picking up things with tweezers, chopsticks, cutting, etc. You can get some board games like this, I think operation for kids is one of them! Also you can use a wider pencil if it helps, but not all the time of he won't want to move back to a normal one!
DDs school (mixed nursery/reception class) is focussing on mark making this term. Marks in everything - sand, mud, leaves, snow, paper, whiteboards... they appear to be creating the motivation to draw / write separately from the technical skills required to do so.
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