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Help my 3 year old hold a pencil!

How do you help your 3 yr old to hold a pencil properly to write? Thank you.

To answer your question directly, pencil grasp can be improved by using chunkier crayons or pencils, which are easier for smaller hands to hold. You can also break up the crayons to about 2” long to start to encourage using a pincer grasp - holding the pencil with the thumb and first two fingers. (I know parents and teachers don’t want to hear about breaking up crayons but it helps!!!)

An appropriate pencil grasp for a 3 year old is holding the pencil/crayon in the palm with all fingers curled around it, so don’t worry too much if your child isn’t holding the pencil yet like an adult - he/she isn’t meant to at 3 years old!

What’s even more important at this stage is developing the muscles that will support handwriting and motor skills. Please encourage LOTS of outdoor/physical play (including free play) - play sports, go to a playground, the beach, run! You can also do lots of quieter play activities that will develop the smaller muscles of the hands and forearms - play with play dough or plasticine, do puzzles, build blocks, use clothespins, colour! These play activities that develop the muscles and the mind make sure that your 3 year old will be well equipped to write efficiently when the time is right!

Thank you for writing in!

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