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11 Tips on How to Teach Kids to Hold Pencil Correctly

by Melissa Roy on March 10, 2019
teach kids hold pencil correctly

For a growing child mastering the art of gripping the pencil is an important step. It is essential to improve pencil grip of your child with time. Pencil grip is not a thing that will develop naturally for any child, and as parents or teachers it may take little efforts to teach kids how to hold pencil. Pencil grip improvement is a gradual process. You have to make your kid know and learn the proper pencil grip for improving it. This will help him/her in the future while writing. For moms, teachers, grannies, pencil grip remains a hot topic. How to improve pencil grip of your child? It is definitely one of those elements that really require to be taken care of while the child is nearing the kindergarten age.

You may be wondering how to make your child hold a pencil or how to teach your child hold a pencil without sweating too much. It will be a great relief for you if your child starts holding the pencil in a proper pencil grip. On the other hand, it may be a frustrating episode for the younger child if we insist that he/she will master it on his/her own.

The ideal age for children to start using a pencil

Most of the kids after reaching the age of 12 to 13 months may grasp or grab a crayon or pencil and push it or scribble it on any piece of paper. They usually do this by noticing the adults using paper and pen or their siblings doing the same. With time their drawing and writing abilities increase gradually in small steps all through the toddler years until finally, they master the ability to draw pictures that are recognizable. Eventually, they are able to make out some of the letters on the paper. The majority of the children lack the strength and the fine motor control to grip the pencil with the help of the finger grip until they reach the age of 4 years. Once the child starts to make use of the finger grip, he/she commonly employ all the five fingers to grip the pencil. This is called the five-finger or immature pencil grip.

kids failing to grab pencil properly feel discouraged

The correct way of gripping the pencil

The perfect pencil grip is known as the tripod grasp. In case the child is holding the pencil using this grip, he/she places the tip of the index finger and the thumb on the pencil while stabilizing the shaft of the pencil with the help of the middle finger's lateral side. Thus, a tripod is formed surrounding the pencil and hence the name.

Another common pencil grip used by many children is the quadruped grasp. Here the child places the tip of his/her middle finger on the pencil directly along with the index finger and the thumb. In this case, the stabilization of the pencil shaft is made by using the ring finger's lateral side. This pencil grip is an appropriate and quite functional as well. If your child has mastered any one of these two grips, then it is perfect.

These pencil grips are regarded as the best because of the reason that both the grips enable children to have a firm grip on the pencil while allowing them to use their fingers to maneuver the pencil tip in a precise manner necessary for smooth writing and drawing. For an adequate grip, the ring and little fingers should provide stability by keeping them in the palm, leaving free thumb, index, and heart, in charge of providing movement and precision.

efficient writing grip kids

Some of the essential tips for parents and teachers to teach children to write correctly

1.Give your child a triangular pencil

One of the simplest options is to give your child a triangular pencil. As they begin to familiarize themselves with different tools (paints, pencils, waxes, etc.); the use of colored pencils or waxes with a triangular shape will help them in a natural way to have a good tripod grip (thanks to the triangular design).

triangular pencils

2.Let them grip other items

Give your child other items (such as a piece of flat wax) and tell him/her to grip it using the finger or palm. This will help them getting familiar with gripping objects. You can easily make waxes of different shape and attractive color at home. They are cheap as well.

3.Gloves made with socks

You can make some attractive gloves from socks by making some holes (5) on them to allow the fingers are coming out of them. This will help in keeping the fingers in a fixed position while gripping the pencil.

gloves made with socks

4.Draw something on the fingers and palm

You can draw something attractive (such a mouth of a crocodile) on the outer half of the palm and fingers to draw the attention of your child towards the hand while gripping the pencil.

5.Give some dots on the pencil

You may draw some dots on the pencil to present the kids a visible indication of exactly where to put the fingers for holding a pencil.

dots on pencil

6.Use smaller pencils

A smaller pencil = less space to put unnecessary fingers on it. Writing with a small pencil will force your kid to use only thumb and forefinger to hold. You can cut pencils in half and give them the end that includes the lead.

short pencil

7.Teach them to pinch

If the trick of too short pencils does not work, then show them how to catch and flip a pencil to position it well. Simply pinch the pencil at the point and then tilt it so that it comes to wedge in the hollow of the hand, between the index finger and the thumb. 

pinch and flip

8.Make them hold something with their little finger and ring finger

If the first two tips do not work, then you can give a tissue so that the child hides it in his palm and holds it with his little finger and ring finger and give him a pen. In this way, he will not be able to use these fingers to hold his pen and will have to hold it with three fingers. No matter what he puts in his hand, as long as it is not uncomfortable, neither too big nor too small. It can be cotton, a ball, a little rubber toy. It will help the child to separate both sides of his hand.

paper ball for helping kids hold pencil correctly

9.Use an elastic band

You can also attach a rubber band to the pencil for the child to put on his wrist. The elastic will draw the pencil back.

rubber band for teaching kid hold pencil right

10.Use an adapter or a special pen

Adapters are small rubber objects that sit on the tip of a pencil and allow you to place your fingers. There are many kinds, and it is up to the child to choose the one who prefers. But there are also special pencils and learning pens that are designed with a grip to help teach kids where to place the fingers. You can learn more about pencil grips below.

When your kid fails to develop the proper pencil grip

If a child fails to hold the pencil or crayon properly even after applying all these basic techniques and changes, he/she may require additional help. The child may suffer from issues with coordination, the strength of the hand or problems with visual motor skills which may be the reason behind his/her failure to master the pencil grip.

In such circumstances, it is better to consult an occupational therapist to understand whether the child is facing these problems and if any intervention is necessary to resolve the issues. Remember that early intervention plays an important role in treating such disorders or problems influencing pencil grip. Therefore, do not delay in case you feel that your kid is having challenges with mastering the pencil grip.

In the event that your kid is having problems to grip the pencil correctly: How a pencil grip can help

Does your kid facing a problem with writing, or having difficulty properly gripping the pencil, or does his/her hand getting fatigued quickly when he/she is writing? All these symptoms are common issues your child may face while learning to write. There is one surprisingly easy solution for all these problems: a good pencil grip.

One of the most common struggles for children with writing issues is holding a pencil properly. As you know by now the proper way to hold a pencil is called the tripod grasp that is when kids hold their pencil with their thumb, index and middle finger. Some kids will add a fourth finger, and that is also quite perfect and known as the quadruped grasp.

But many kids with writing issues have weak or undeveloped hand muscles. They get tired holding a pencil, and they may try to wrap their thumb around the pencil to have a proper hold of it. This way it becomes increasingly difficult for them to maneuver or fine control the pencil, which is necessary for proper writing. They may also grip the pencil too tightly or use their whole hand. Such instances also make them difficult to manage the control they need to write. So they end up with sloppy or oversized writing.

All these issues can be solved simply by using a proper pencil grip. It can help a child by guiding his/her fingers to the proper tripod grasp.

Some of the useful grips are: 

You may check Firesara Pencil Grips.

Pencil grippers are simple handwriting tools for helping kids get correct finger position for holding a pencil since pencil grips are always with finger holes for guide purposes.

However, whatever grip you try it is a good idea to talk with an occupational therapist to see how serious the issue is. For some older kids accommodations like a keyboard may be more effective. As you try out different grips keep in mind that the goal is to have your child write neatly and for a long time.

It is essential for your child to learn the correct way of holding a pencil. This is important so your child can manipulate the pencil easily and apply appropriate pressure when he/she is trying to write. In general, it will make handwriting easier if they have a good pencil grip. It is definitely a vital skill to reinforce and correct at home.

Just remember before any writing or coloring activities that you do at home to ask your child to show you their pencil grip and help them correct it if needed.

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