Tips for encouraging almost 6yo to write

(16 Posts)
Soymocha Sun 15-Sep-19 13:33:23

I'm hoping for tips on how to encourage DS to write. He's almost 6 and in Y1. At school, he now gets a weekly spelling test. We've already struggled with writing in that he's never had any interest in learning and we struggled with forming the pencil grip (which meant he struggled to keep up in Reception). He holds a pencil better now but still has a weak pencil grip though we've tried everything and the teacher also helped.

The issue in Y1 is that he does have weekly spelling tests and just asking him to write even one word (which I know he knows how to spell) leads to tears and an absolute refusal to pick up the pencil. We had this in Reception as well. He isn't getting much e.g. copy and write "he" five times. We've tried being creative: chalk, whiteboard markers on windows, shaving foam, magnetic letters etc. I've already tried reward charts and bribes of his favourite treats if he has a go (rewarding the effort and not the outcome). Nada. Nothing works. It really upsets me as I don't want him to fall behind (he won't even try) and it's frustrating. I don't want him to hate writing but, equally, I don't think he can put it off forever. I did wonder last year if he had dyspraxia. I haven't had him tested but per the NHS website, he doesn't seem to have any other motor or coordination difficulties. Has no problems throwing/catching balls, is brilliant on his bike and scooter and pretty good at playing Operation too! He does sometimes write numbers backwards and often confused "b" with "d" but I assume this is common at this age. He's average with reading and has no issues there so I'm thinking it's not dyslexia.

Has anyone else had a child with such an intense dislike of writing? If so, any tips for strategies on how to handle and to motivate/interest him? I try to stay calm but when he outright refuses and it all descends into tears, I feel like crying myself. I'll have a word with his new teacher as well.

Sorry for rambling.

OP’s posts: |
BertrandRussell Sun 15-Sep-19 13:39:32

Postcards to grandparents, aunts uncles, godparents- everyone. Warn them in advance and ask them to write back on the same day and make sure there’s something that needs an answer in the reply- a riddle, a what do you want for Christmas- anything really.

OnceFreshFish Sun 15-Sep-19 13:41:52

Does he have any interest in mazes or dot to dots? My writing averse boy never really drew or coloured but loved puzzle type things do we just printed off loads of mazes etc and that encouraged him to hold a pencil more.

If he has 5 spellings and doesn't struggle to actually spell them can you try just one a day? (even one letter break one letter break etc) so it doesn't seem like a huge task? Try a time when he isn't already exhausted of course!

Digestive28 Sun 15-Sep-19 13:44:48

I wonder if he knows that writing is an issue so whatever you do to push it he backs off. Maybe leave it completely if you can even if just at home for a week or so. Check the spellings by getting him to put magnetic/cardboard letters in the right order to spell the words and get him to not need to do any writing for a few days. Imagine even without it being verbalised there is anxiety around it from both sides currently and you need a break to let that go before starting again

Skinandbones Sun 15-Sep-19 13:58:59

What things does he like? So pictures of The Avengers with their names under with some letters missing. Maybe for both of you make it into a fun game and award something like smarties to both of you.

BringMoreCoffee Sun 15-Sep-19 15:12:00

You've tried a load of good stuff already. I would second the mazes and dot to dots.

My son used to do fine motor exercises with the TA - stuff like bead threading and posting cocktail sticks into a tiny hole. Sewing appeals to some kids. Get small sets with prepunched felt.

BringMoreCoffee Sun 15-Sep-19 15:17:12

Also I would write him notes and leave them on his bed, asking questions for him to reply to. His teacher doled out housepoints for any child who wrote her a note and brought it into school, and she always wrote back.


Herocomplex Sun 15-Sep-19 15:19:01

Playing battleships, writing a Christmas list, tracing pictures of characters he likes?
There’s a game called heads, bodies,legs where you draw a head, fold the paper, the other person draws a body, etc, so you get a funny figure. Hangman, noughts and crosses. Colouring mandalas.

It takes time. I know it’s stressful but he can only go at his pace.

Soymocha Sun 15-Sep-19 15:42:54

Thanks everyone. There are some ideas here that I haven't tried which I will do. Agree that I probably need to step back and relax. I had just hoped that a long summer of 7 weeks off would have been the break we needed. Clearly not!! Not sure if it's relevant, but he's not into drawing or colouring in. However, dot to dot he does enjoy so I'll try more of these with them. Thanks all --- I'm trying not to feel discouraged. I know they all go at their own pace. Thanks again for all the very useful tips. Fingers crossed!

OP’s posts: |
Lara53 Sun 15-Sep-19 18:22:17

He’s still very young, but you could have him assessed by an Occupational Therapist to see if there are any issues. We did this privately and discovered my Ds didn’t have one of the muscles in his hand needed to grip a pencil.

I’d also focus on lots of fine motor activities to improve hand/ finger strength and dexterity. Instead of writing the words 5 x can he make them out of Lego/ pipe cleaners/ play doh/ moon sand/ use tweezers and tiny beads to make the letters/ draw them in sand with a stick/ use a ziplock bag filled with coloured hair gel to trace the words on to. Have a google - there are tons of ideas out there!! Good luck and don’t stress. Both my boys hated writing - still do, but can use laptops in secondary to help. Since using a laptop ds1 handwriting has vastly improved. You could also start him touch Typing using a program such as Nessy Fingers which is great fun

DreamChild Sun 15-Sep-19 23:35:39

I bought my child fancy pens and asked him to use different colour pen for each word.. then we both compared which coloured writing looked better than others .. maybe glitter pen or scented pens can encourage .. good luck

missl1 Mon 16-Sep-19 14:00:07

bit basic but my daughter likes to write out a shopping list before we go to the supermarket. her teacher recommended this as a good exercise/ intro to writing. she gets to chose a treat item to go on the list too.

Soymocha Tue 17-Sep-19 09:19:44

Thanks for the new suggestions! Will be trying them out!

OP’s posts: |
RainOrSun Tue 17-Sep-19 09:39:44

I know you said you've tried everything for pencil grip, but have you tried Stablio pencils?

My oldest hated anything with writing/drawing/colouring. That, combined with awful spelling and some other stuff, has lead to a dysgraphia diagnosis. Might be worth considering if things dont improve.

Also, touch typing- tho maybe not quite yet. But that is another one to consider in a year or so. BBC Dance Mat and Big Brown Bear are good for the younger kids.

He still hates writing, his handwriting is awful, as is his spelling. Verbally, he is great tho.

viques Tue 17-Sep-19 09:53:14

A teacher I knew used to get kids in her class who were reluctant writers to write to her cat. The cat wrote back of course. Maybe you know a friend, aunty grandparent with an obliging cat or dog....

How is his reading? good readers tend to be good spellers, (they read more, see more words is the theory, not always the case but generally) if he reads a lot i would try not to get hung up on the spellings. Not sure spelling lists are very helpful anyway. But if the teacher is giving them to teach particular sounds then I would ask your child to identify the sounds being taught by using a high lighter pen.

You could also use a highlighter to identify the correct spelling in a list of alternatives if he was learning "tricky" words or words connected to a topic. Highlighters today come in really funky colours, I am trying to convince myself my life would be happier with a purple one.

Herocomplex Tue 17-Sep-19 10:10:37

RainorSun yes, I agree with learning touchtyping.
Most writing is now done on a keyboard. The mechanics of handwriting shouldn’t be confused with the ability to write. I’m the only one in my family with good handwriting, the rest of them run ring round me in terms of academic achievement.

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