Has your child come home with notes, study materials or agenda items that neither you nor they can read? Do you find that your child struggles with getting everything written down during class? Does she complain that her hand hurts? Does her teacher complain that she won’t get work done? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you should know that I have been there – on both sides of that coin!
As a child, I did not feel like I could print legibly or as neatly as was expected, so I was a reluctant writer. My teachers and my mother were extremely frustrated with me. Report card after report card indicated that I was not doing my work in class and no one could get to the “why”. It was my turn to feel my mother’s frustration many years later when my own daughter was also a reluctant writer. By this point, I had already overcome my own perception of myself as being a messy writer in my early teens. I had also helped dozens and dozens of children learn to print as a paediatric occupational therapist. While I knew how to help her, I was “just her mother” and by the time she hit school, like so many children, she thought I couldn’t possibly know anything about teaching her to print because I was not a teacher! The irony here, of course, was that my mother was a teacher and that didn’t help her any with me! Life is funny that way.
So what’s a parent supposed to do? Well, having my mother be frustrated at me and my being frustrated with my daughter did nothing to make either of us competent in producing written work. It wasn’t that we didn’t know what to write or even that we worried about spelling or grammar. No, for us it was about motor control. That pencil seemed to not want to do what we wanted it to do. And that was frustrating.
If this is you and your child, CLICK HERE to request a free PDF with "pencil control" activities.
Check back next week for a discussion of that bugaboo, “letter formation” – printing letters in a way that makes it easy to form each letter and create motor memories for how to do so!
More next week!