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How can I get my child to write neat???? HELP!

39 replies

anniebear · 11/07/2007 13:32

she will be going into yr 2 in September and will be 6 and of next month

she does really well at school and is working above average in hboth Literacy and numeracy and also does really well in everything else

But she cannot for the life of her write neatly

I wouldn't be bothered if it was just a bit messy but this is to the point that the teacher can't somtimes read it and it is begginning to ruin the end result of her work

One of the problems is that she rushes, has to finish first

But to be fair, even when she takes her time it is not neat. Readable though, which is all I ask!

what can I do? I am not sure she would like to go back to basics! But I really am at a loss at how to get her to slow down, unles I go and sit on her shoulder in school lol lol

Thnak you

OP posts:
MamaGryffindor · 11/07/2007 13:34

Just practice wiht her at home, without putting pressure on her

maybe get her to write the shopping list
list of things she'd like to do in the hols

lettre to grandma?

Clary · 11/07/2007 13:38

Anniebear I have one very neat writer and one fairly untidy writer, but I will say the latter (DS1) is LOADS better since he started properly doing joined up writing (he's just finishing yr 3).

I think the thing to do is ask her teacher to check she is forming her letter right - and maybe this is something you could practice? Or is it simply a question of practising writign at home anyway? Certainly DS1's has improved loads since he started writing a diary every night at home (a very small space seems to help).

Sparkly gel pens, special stationery (DD has a super little mini stationery tin she loves) and writing in small boxes all seem to help (even DS2 who is 4 writes his name more neatly in a small box (eg on a form). Would that help? Get her to write notes to friends, shopping lists for you etc, and use lined paper and tell her to try to stay in the lines. TBH at this age (relatively young still) I think it's about learning control.

Fine motor stuff is good too - eg Polly pocket, sooooo fiddly, playmobil, dressign Barbies or Groovy Girls or whatever you have, lego, k'nex, will all help.

Any help? Or is this all old news?

Reallytired · 11/07/2007 13:47

My son has been refered to an occupational theraphist because he cannot write after a year in reception.

Have you talked to the school to see what they are doing to help your child. Its no good telling a child to write neatly. I am sure she is desperate to please and is doing her best.

Tigi · 11/07/2007 14:00

My 12 yo son has terrible terrible writing, but I fear he is a lost cause now! He is at a grammar school though, so not worried..
ds 2 is 7, and awful handwriting. He attends a lunchtime writing club- lots of hand excercises. It has got a bit better since he started writing joined up though. He was tested for dxypraxia a couple of years ago, but 'just' ok. chool did think he was dyxlexic too, due to all backwards letters, but i think this is habit? ds 3 (age 5)also has very big scruffy letters! The teachers all moan to me about them, - genetic? makes you wonder!

LIZS · 11/07/2007 14:05

If she is attempting to write freely then I think legibility will suddenly follow with practice. In the last month of term my Yr1 dd(simialr b'day iirc) went from hesitant printing to continuous cursive and won Most Improved Handwriting certificate. [proud mummy emoticon] Whereas ds (9) who has motor coordination issues is still struggling on the legibility front. His ideas are way ahead of his physical ability to write them down.

Mercy · 11/07/2007 14:16

Anniebear - I could have written your post! Poor handwriting was the only adverse comment in dd's school report (she's 6.3 btw). She is always writing little notes to me but I can barely read them.

Some suggestions I came across were

get your child to write shopping lists or to do lists for yuo

ask them to write lists for themselves - eg, favourite books, toys

keep a scrap book of what they do on holiday and get them to write about interesting things that happen to them

write plays or stories - maybe about friends/family

Apparently with my dd it's a question of concentration and whether or not she's interested in the subject.

MrsBadger · 11/07/2007 14:25

Agree with all Mercy's ideas, also that the eventual move to cursive may (may) help.

I had shocking handwriting for years, awkward, uneven and unjoined, apparently because (my mother tells me) 'The ideas come too fast for me to be neat'.
I wrote essays etc 'in rough' and copied them laboriously into legible 'best' till I was about 14, at which point my music teacher had had enough and taught me 'real' joined up (with looped fs, joins from tops of bs etc) like she'd been taught fifty years before. I found this 'flowed' much better and made it much easier to keep letter sizes, length of descenders etc even.

Obviously it's almost illegible now because I've worked with doctors for so long , but it is still flowing and even...

Furball · 11/07/2007 14:30

I too could have written your post anniebear even down to the fact that my ds will be 6 next month!

But, he has just started joining up the writing and his writing is now neater than mine! So maybe this will help your dd when the time comes to join it all together.

Mercy · 11/07/2007 14:34

Also I think it's important to try and let them think that they are having fun (eg, the diary) rather than doing 'writing pratice' which is a chore and can become a vicious circle.

I have been very guilty of not doing this!

Furball · 11/07/2007 14:44

The teacher said that ds' writing was 'apalling' - I thought he is 5, actually how bad can it be?

Reallytired · 11/07/2007 14:49

"The teacher said that ds' writing was 'apalling' - I thought he is 5, actually how bad can it be? "

That is a little tactless, we had the comments that ds is struggling with with fine motor skills he he needs a bit of extra help.

Far more tactful.

Furball · 11/07/2007 14:58

exactly reallytired.

I thought to myself that ds is on prime track to become a doctor

summer111 · 11/07/2007 16:29

I'd suggest you do some fine motor hand work with your dd, not just onerous writing practice. Any activity that involves fine finger movements will help her to control a pencil better, which should improve her hand writing. eg. using modelling clay, threading small beads to make a necklace, making collages/pictures cutting and sticking small pictures or small objects etc. Then do a little but often of actual writing practice eg. get her to help you write a shopping list, write in her own diary etc. Lavish lots of praise for any nice writing too!

Mercy · 11/07/2007 16:44

The weird thing is Summer, that my dd is actually pretty good at those sort of things - she loves anything creative! She is fine at colouring in, cutting out, collage etc etc but cannot write neatly or legibly.

It's been a bit of an 'issue' for the last 2 terms tbh.

aloha · 11/07/2007 16:57

I have appalling handwriting. Shocking really. I'm thoroughly embarrassed by it (I mean that). But I make a living by writing. Computers are WONDERFUL!
She will improve with time. Six is very young. By the end of the summer she might be a different child.

anniebear · 11/07/2007 19:53

Thank you so much for all your replies! Wasn't expecting many!

Some great tips there, thankyou

will defo try the Diary one

They do practise some joined up writing on Wednesday afternoons when another Teacher has them

I am not a neat writer and I always rushed

Of course, I havent a clue where she gets it from

Has had Polly Pockets since she was about 3!! loved them but doesnt bother with them as much now

The problem is, and these are the Teachers words...everything comes so easily to her, and she is doing so well, (especially as she is a 31st Aug child. But you wouldn't know this at all) so she isnt too keen at this writing lark!!

I wouldnt be too bothered, but the teacher has commented that she has to mark her work wrong sometimes simply because she can't read it! Which is a shame as probably most of it would have been correct

But it is already an issue to her

she likes school, just got a fab report.(apart from writing!) But if I said "do you like school"? she would reply "I hate writing"

School did her a reward chart on the wall, if she got so many stickers for neat work she would get something, (not sure what, dont think she got it lol)

she will go up to yr 2 in Sep so will talk to the teacher then

I know she doesnt hold her pencil totally correctly, but no way can I chnage that now when she has been writing for 2 years! My Niece writes the same!! Got picked up on in Junior school!!

The main thing is she rushes. She is very competitive, Has to be first to finish (don't know where she gets that from either

sorry for waffling, thanks again for all the ideas

OP posts:
anniebear · 11/07/2007 19:54

Oops that was long! sorry

OP posts:
Mercy · 11/07/2007 20:01

Anniebear! It's nice to find somebody else in the same boat tbh.

dd's current teacher is a very experienced deputy head and she told me that once a certain pencil grip has been established (usualy by the end of Yr1) it's very difficult to change. eeeek!

My dd also gets frustrated becasue she can't communicate as well in writing as she can verbally.

jenthehen · 11/07/2007 20:15

Hi Annibear, I'm a "resting" primary school teacher and my ds aged 5 is a reluctant writer who doesn't always form his letters correctly. I find the best way to get him to improve his writing is to write letters to friends and family. This encourages him to make it neat as he knows that they need to be able to read it and he loves to receive a letter back through the post! The cost of a few stamps is a small price to pay. Good luck, but don't worry too much about it, I'm sure it will improve with time and you need to be careful that you don't make an issue of it and end up squashing the imagination and creativity.

LIZS · 11/07/2007 21:15

I never learnt to hold a pencil correctly and my writign got so out fo control that at I reinvented aged about 11 it by going back to printing. As dd is left handed I felt ill equipped to teach her myself. I still have to remind her about the "froggy leg" grip.

anniebear · 11/07/2007 21:20

Off to buy 3 special books tomorrow

One for DD, one for her twin (has SN, doesnt write letters realy yet but will still want a special book lol) and one for me lol

My thinking is that if I got her to write in a diary each night she wouldnt be too impressed

But...if we all have a dairy and sit down together and write about 'our day' she will be quite excited about it

I will do a sticker chart and each night she ahs taken her time with it and done her finger spaces (won't make an issue of it being messy as long as she has took her time) she will get a sticker

Hope it works

Failing that, I just hope as some suggested her writing will improve when she writes joined up

Thanks so much

OP posts:
spudmasher · 11/07/2007 21:24

anniebear- if you think her pencil grip is a problem, try putting a gripper thing on her pencil. It is triangular in shape. Saw some in Whsmith recently. I have had success with these.

spudmasher · 11/07/2007 21:25

Not me personally. I have nice handwriting.
Children I teach....

easywriter · 11/07/2007 21:39

I'm not a teacher or anything but when I was a child we spent ages writing patterns in handwriting books.

Patterns like zig-zags, loops (like the loops in e's or o's), waves (like those in u's) etc and combinations. At first i thought it was a great game but even when I realised we were practising handwriting I still loved doing it. (This was in junior school). Maybe you could try doing some of these with your daughter, I don't know if a teacher could advisr you or if you can buy books with such exercises in them but your daughter sounds bright and eager to please (as I was at that stage in life ) so she may enjoy it and not necessarily realise that you're getting her to practise her handwriting even if she realises the connection.

jennifersofia · 11/07/2007 21:40

I would make an attempt with the pencil grip thing, I think it would make a difference, though it will be quite hard for her. Also, agreed with all fine motor things (pegging things up is good).
Books by Ion Teodorescu are good too - Write from the Start. They have a whole programme of exercises that start from basics.

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